Author(s): Sean Michaels
Locked in a cabin, on a ship bound for Leningrad, Lev Termen types a letter to Clara, his 'one true love'. He recalls his early years as a scientist, inventing the musical theremin and other electric marvels, and the Kremlin's dream that these creations could help infiltrate capitalism itself. Instead, Manhattan infiltrated Termen - he fell in love with the city's jazz clubs and speakeasies, and with Clara, a beautiful young violinist. When Termen's spy games fall apart, he returns to find the Motherland not quite as he left it. Exiled to a Siberian gulag, with nothing but his wits to keep him alive, Termen is drawn ever deeper into the labyrinth of Stalin's Russia. Only his feelings for Clara, passing through the ether like the theremin's song, seem to show a way out.
The grace of Michaels's style makes these times and places seem entirely new. He succeeds at one of the hardest things a writer can do: he makes music seem to sing from the pages of a novel Giller Prize jury (Shauna Singh Baldwin, Justin Cartwright and Francine Prose) Told with grace and confidence, and in a finely wrought voice, Us Conductors kept surprising me to the end Eowyn Ivey, author of The Snow Child Turns out Sean Michaels might not be able to play the theremin, but he can record the noise of the human heart Glasgow Herald Michaels has a natural gift for bringing us to a time and place which allows the suspension of belief and lets you walk every step of the way with him The Globe and Mail
Montreal's Sean Michaels is a writer, critic and founder of the pioneering music blog 'Said the Gramophone'. Born in Stirling, Scotland, in 1982, he has toured with rock bands, scoured the Paris catacombs and contributed to publications including the Guardian, McSweeney's, Pitchfork and Plan B. Us Conductors is longlisted for the Dublin Literary Award 2016. @stgramophone usconductors.byseanmichaels.com