Ali Millar interviews Sean Michaels on his debut novel, Us Conductors. The novel concerns the creator of one of the world’s strangest instruments. 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 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.
Steeped in beauty, wonder and looping heartbreak, Sean Michaels’s debut novel explores the lies we tell, the truths we imagine, and the lengths we go to survive. Us Conductors is only the second debut to win Canada’s prestigious Giller Prize.