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Publisher's Summary

Us Conductors is the story of the man who created the most magical musical instrument in the world, the theremin. It's a tale of electricity and espionage, jazz and kung-fu, Harlem and Siberia, and the way even doomed love can keep you alive.

Locked in a cabin aboard a ship bearing him back to Russia and away from the love of his life, Lev Sergeyvich Termen begins to type his story: a tale of electricity, romance, and the invention of the world's strangest instrument, the theremin. He recollects his early years as a scientist forging breakthroughs during the Bolshevik Revolution and his decade as a Manhattan celebrity and reluctant Soviet spy. Against the backdrop of Prohibition and the 1929 crash, Termen spends his days in his workshop, devising inventions, and his nights in Harlem clubs, jostling with famous bandleaders and falling in love with the young violinist Clara Reisenberg. When the boat reaches his homeland, Termen finds it is not the Russia he remembers. He is imprisoned in the Gulag system, sent first to a Siberian work camp and then to a secret laboratory. In the face of all this, his love for Clara remains constant, passing through the ether like the theremin's song. Steeped in beauty, wonder, and looping heartbreak, Sean Michaels' debut novel explores the lies we tell, the truths we imagine, and the lengths we go to survive.

©2014 Sean Michaels (P)2015 Audible, Inc.

What listeners say about Us Conductors

Average Customer Ratings
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  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
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  • MEF
  • 2020-05-18

Perhaps not the topic for me.

I struggled to finish it. Not sure if it is the reader or the writer.

1 person found this helpful

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Zzzzz!

I really didn't mind sleeping through most of this one! In fact it was a very good lullaby.

1 person found this helpful

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the details of a life

great story, with great lines. a love story, story of an imprisoned scientist, story of a life in details. the performance of the audiobook was very well suited. a soothing voice. excellent performance

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Meandering Memoir

Leon Theremin recounts his life. He does it sort of as a letter to a lost love. Overall it is pretty boring. I got through the whole thing but even though it is only an 11 and a half hour book, it felt so much longer. It isn't bad, just boring.

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ok

This was very much a Giller winner. "Beautiful" writing, sort of whimsical but gritty story... Yeah, I didn't exactly like it. It was ok, but it also didn't feel like entertainment? The whole set up, an old guy writing to a girl (17 to his 35 when they met) he has never stopped being obsessed with, even after she refused his proposal, even after she married someone else. I hate to think that the real Theramin was such a gross, gross man. I choose to believe that he wasn't, that he actually loved his second wife.
But yes. It was an interesting fictionalized autobiography, I guess, and some parts were pretty intense (the work camps), but it was not really for me.
I do, however, want to try playing a theremin!

I bought this as part of a Giller winner sale on Audible, because it wss 4 bucks and looked like it would be an OK work listen. It was, but no more than that.

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What a journey.

I was transported through time and space into a story that was believable in its own unbelievable nature. The narrator could not have done a better job - stellar performance, not just reading to me.

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A Fine Book

A very unique story at times harrowing told by a brilliant sensitive man. it held my attention throughout.

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Alright story

Narrator was good, story line interesting. Ending was a bit anti climatic. Listened to it while building my deck.

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A great book

I really enjoyed the story. Finished the book in two days. I didn’t like the narrative in the beginning. Felt like a machine reading it but i got used to it.

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Interesting Character Study

I do not know too much about the Stallinist regime used to be. This book gives a pretty good insight into how it used to be. Also what comes next in Termans life is not easily predictable. That keeps you going. Needed some perseverance for me to get through the book. It is a long one. 😊 Seemed to close out in a rush. Overall was pretty good.