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Makanin’s view of man’s nature is a pessimistic one, and his depictions of love and harmonious interrelationships lack the power of his descriptions of man’s inhumanity to man (or to beast). He is most at ease describing love linked to violence, as in Blue and Red (Goluhoe i krasnoe) (1983), which describes how two grandmothers battle for the love of their young grandson Kliucharev, who is ‘unused to love’ — a phrase which perhaps could be used to describe many of Makanin’s heroes.The love which Makanin’s heroes advocate is a tough, universal and unselfish love, as typified by the healer Yakushkin with his philosophy of brotherly love in Makanin's previous novel Predlecha (1982). It is love for one’s family and kin, love for one’s people, birthplace, for Russia, love which has a basis in conscience, which interests Makanin, which means that his characters, are seekers after truth, not the comfort of relationships dominated by nostalgia or by habit.

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