Alexei Vinokurov was born in 1969 in Perm. He graduated from the Teacher-training Institute in Moscow, majoring in Philology, upon which he was a columnist on the MK daily, then on the New Times weekly, headed the essays section at the newspaper Inostranets (Foreigner), and later was the editor-in-chief of Drugoi (The Other). In turn with Victor Shenderovich he wrote scripts for the popular satirical TV program “Puppets” and authored 20 other TV projects and plays for the theater.
His published books include the novel The Poor Dwarf, Where We Are Not, and the children’s books: The Country of Three Lands. Merlin’s Successor; and Denunciation of the Black Dog., China Deciphered.
His early works, marked with original humor, won him the name “a fun-producing factory”. Later the funny becomes increasingly infested with the terrifying while ordinary events and objects reveal their metaphysical underside. Mystical elements are never straightforward in Vinokurov’s work. He resorts to Hoffmanesque double-world approach when one and the same event can be simultaneously presented in fantastic as well as perfectly realistic terms. Distinctions: First prize in the drama competition “Honor, Duty, Dignity” for the play “The Guardian”. Finalists in the competition “Russian Story” for the film script “The Four”. The novel Yankee in Russia was nominated for the National Bestseller Prize. Winner of the national competition “Best Book of 2012” for the children’s book Denunciation of the Black Dog.
The latest novels:
The Guardian Angel, a novel.
Fabula Publishers (Ukraine), 2017. 430 pp.
Despite the semi-fantastic plot the novel creates a perfectly realistic picture of the current Russo-Ukrainian conflict and the oppositionist movement in Russia. The author introduces a metaphysical note in his description of the eternal fight between the forces of Darkness and Light, this time flaring up in Donbas. Apart from real people, some of them well-known public figures, the characters include the so-called guardian angels, that is, low-ranking angels living among people in human guises. Having to exist as ordinary earthlings the guardian angels are limited in their rights compared with their opponents. The guardian angels look after people and society as a whole to prevent violations of the ages-old agreement between Heaven and Hell in order to keep a balance of forces.
People of the Black Dragon, a novel.
Eksmo Publishers. 2017. 280 pp.
Black Dragon is the Chinese name of the River Amur marking the border between Russia and China. In the early 20th century the Russian side of the border was settled by Russians, Chinese and Jews. Their explosive coexistence created conditions for most amazing and extraordinary events which would hardly be possible anywhere else on earth. The novel embraces the 100-years history of this multinational settlement on the Amur. An amateur Sinologist Vinokurov has been studying Chinese culture for many years, particularly the mystical aspects of Chinese martial arts.
The Dark Summits, a novel
This multi-layered and densely populated novel is about a transformation of a normal person into a cruel tyrant, also examining the nature of dictatorship as such. The stormy events unfolding in the book allow the author to show us the seamy sides of Russian authorities, corrupted business, the criminal world, and their treatment of the gullible populace creating situations of social injustice.
China Deciphered, a novel
Travelogue. 400 pp. AST Publishers. 2017.
A professional Sinologist and a brilliant writer, Vinokurov has written an adorable travelogue on modern China. It sheds light on this mysterious part of the world which is increasingly gaining in world importance. He and his wife, also a Sinologist, have travelled the length and breadth of the country. This witty, perspicacious and penetrating book is a pleasure to read providing many clues to the inscrutable Chinese culture. Due to its hieroglyphic language and strict observance of ancient traditions China differs so sharply from the rest of the world that no European, who is not part of its intricate network of inter-relationships, can make head or tail of it. Our questions puzzle the Chinese and their answers puzzle us. In order to put the right questions and understand the answers a European should first become deeply involved in the complicated system of Chinese inter-family and inter-clan ties. Vinokurov managed to penetrate the depths of Chinese life and decipher many of its riddles. He looks at Chinese medicine, food habits, architecture, and many unusual aspects of everyday life in China, he talks about their compulsive search for immortality and their secret teachings, their martial arts and world religions co-existing on Chinese territory. With its distinctive world outlook China is not just a different civilisation but a different planet.