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A satirical vision of the Soviet Union at the times of the Thaw.
Central figure of Makanin´s Ancestor is Old Yakushkin, a healer who has the gift of curing the terminally ill pacients abandoned by official medicine. His healing methods cannot be less orthodox: he waits for the patient to have a crisis to yell at him, shake him, torment his spirit until all his resistance is broken. The satisfactory cure of the dying man is obtained on the basis of terrible speeches and very little food. With irony and pathos, wit and malice, Makanin introduces us to the feverish Yakushkin in all his heartbreaking spiritual evolution: a young playboy, he was accused of fraud and confined to a labor camp in Siberia, where by accident he discovered in himself a healing gift. Makanin's hero recalls the great protagonists of the classical Russian literature.