It might seem a bit repetitive but the lunchtime read continues to be Makine because they had a lot of his books in the library and they are the sort of stories that are accessible on a dipping in basis over a few days.
This story seems to be autobiographical in feel with a writer just starting to enjoy the thaw of a post Stalinist Russia heading out to the country to find some peasants that might provoke some inspiration.
In the first 50 pages its established that life in the villages is so miserable it is hardly the stuff of satirical comment and that there is not really much there to write about. But there is one woman, Vera, who has spent thirty years waiting for her lover to come back from the fighting in the Second World War.
Vera manages to get under the skin of the narrator and he starts to become obsessed with her and unable to move on from the village.