home list of titles index of authors where to order

A Short List

Russian authors interviewed by Kristina Rotkirch

192 pages, ISBN 978-5-7172-0084-4

The living voices of eleven leading Russian authors: Boris Akunin, Evgeny Grishkovets, Eduard Limonov, Yuri Mamleev, Viktor Pelevin, Ludmila Petrushevskaya, Nina Sadur, Mikhail Shishkin, Vladimir Sorokin, Tatyana Tolstaya, and Ludmila Ulitskaya.
The writers interviewed for this book represent various tendencies and age groups, reflecting the diversity of themes and styles in Russian literature, and also touches on the question of how literature is reacting to the rising neo-conservatism and political pressure in Russian society and culture.
None of the authors were acknowledged in the Soviet Union and were carried into Russian literature on the waves of the perestroika. While Limonov and Mamleyev were known abroad even back in Soviet times, the others were published in English translation only in the 1990s. They are all hugely known in Russia.

BORIS AKUNIN: "Boris Akunin is first and foremost a project related to the status of mass culture."

EVGENY GRISHKOVETS: "I insist that what I write is literature based not on observation, but on emotional experience."

EDUARD LIMONOV: "These are reports from a hot spot - my life."

YURI MAMLEEV: "Describing evil does not mean being immersed in it. Instead, you are cleansed of it."

VICTOR PELEVIN: "Reality is any hallucination you believe in one hundred percent."

LUDMILA PETRUSHEVSKAYA: "Soviet literature made me into a fiery, principled and implacable enemy of this literature and this order."

NINA SADUR: "I haven't yet fulfilled myself. I haven't realized all the talent God has granted me. And I must do so, otherwise I'll simply explode"

MIKHAIL SHISHKIN: "I try to make each work a total text that absorbs all previous culture and literature."

VLADIMIR SOROKIN: "We have cosmic goals, not just comfort and reproduction. We are not meat machines."

TATYANA TOLSTAYA: "The intellectual is someone who is aware of things whereas the people are those who are not aware of anything."

LUDMILA ULITSKAYA: "By training I'm a geneticist. In a certain sense I haven't changed professions but merely research methods and tools."

The book's general editor is Professor Anna Ljunggren from the Department of Slavic Languages and Literatures at Stockholm University in collaboration with Nikolai Bogomolov and Oleg Lekmanov of the Department of Journalism at Moscow State University. The interviewer, Kristina Rotkirch, is a noted journalist, critic, and Finnish-Swedish translator of Russian literature.