About the book

"I come from Leningrad. With my bare hands, I have killed one man. I was born on August 15, 1896, and at that instant I became an object moving through space toward you."

Tin House Books and Random HouseIn a finely woven series of flashbacks and correspondence, Us Conductors takes us from the glitz and glam of New York in the 1930s to the gulags and scientific camps of the Soviet Union.

Lev Termen is imprisoned on a ship steaming its way from New York City to the Soviet Union. He is writing a letter to his "one true love," Clara Rockmore, the finest theremin player in the world. From there we learn Termen's story: his early days as a scientist in Leningrad, and the acclaim he received as the inventor of the theremin, eventually coming to New York under the aegis of the Russian state. There he stays, teaching eager music students, making his name, and swiftly falling in love with Clara. But it isn't long until he has fallen in with Russian spooks, slipping through the shadows of a budding Cold War, with cold-blooded results. The novel builds to a crescendo as Termen returns to Russia, where he is imprisoned in a Siberian gulag and later brought to Moscow, tasked with eavesdropping on Stalin himself.

Us Conductors is a book of longing and electricity. Like Termen's own life, it is steeped in beauty, wonder and looping heartbreak. How strong is unrequited love? What does it mean when it is the only thing keeping you alive? This sublime debut inhabits the idea of invention on every level, no more so than in its depiction of Termen's endless feelings for Clara - against every realistic odd. For what else is love but the greatest invention of all?

Leon Termen

ALSO

Us Conductors is a story of:

Vacuum tube
Vacuum tubes
Memory
Memory
Charlie Chaplin
Charlie Chaplin
Romance
Romance
Rachmaninoff
Sergei Rachmaninoff
White noise
White noise
Potato chips
Potato chips
Alcatraz
Alcatraz
anagrams
Anagrams
Secret agents
Secret Agents
Communism
Communism
Lenin
Vladimir Ilyich Lenin
Zeppelins
Zeppelins
murder
Murder
Duke Ellington
Duke Ellington
Wheelbarrow
Wheelbarrows

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Buy Us Conductors via your favourite retailer.

Us Conductors, Canadian edition
  • Published on April 8, 2014 by Random House
  • 368 pages
  • Deckle-edge trade paperback
  • eBook also available
Us Conductors, US edition
  • Published on June 10, 2014 by Tin House Books
  • 456 pages
  • Trade paperback
  • eBook also available

© Sean Michaels & Sons & Daughters.

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