Thursday, November 22, 2007

Big Book Awards, Part II

I caught the end of a Russian newscast today, just in time to hear an excited correspondent announce the newly minted "Большая книга" (Big Book) award winners for 2007.

Liudmila Ulitskaya won first prize with Даниэль Штайн, переводчик (Daniel Stein, Translator), mirroring her win among "ordinary" readers who voted for their favorites over the Internet. Third place went to Dina Rubina for На солнечной стороне улицы (On the Sunny Side of the Street). That book won second place among Internet voters. (My earlier posting about Big Book Internet voting has information on these two writers' translated books.)

Aleksei Varlamov took second prize for his biography Алексей Толстой (Aleksei Tolstoy). Varlamov is now writing a biography of Mikhail Bulgakov. Although Varlamov's books don't seem to be available in translation, several of Aleksei Tolstoy's are, including children's stories and the science fiction classic Aelita.

Big Book presented three special prizes, too:

A posthumous award to Ilya Kormil'tsev, a translator and poet who also wrote song lyrics for the rock group Nautilius Pompilius.

Andrei Bitov, author of Пушкинский дом (Pushkin House), and Valentin Rasputin, a Siberian writer controversial for his political views, won the other special awards.

Bitov's Pushkin House is a dense piece of metafiction packed with literary allusions. I found it alternatively fun and tedious: four-page paragraphs get me down in any language! I read about half the book, enjoying some of the many (many!) endnotes more than the main text. He says in this interview that he doesn't edit his work.

I'm even less familiar with Rasputin, though I did read and enjoy a story or two years ago. His Прощание с Матёрой (Farewell to Matyora) is probably his best-known work.

That's it for this Thanksgiving day: the turkey is almost done!

In this posting:
Liudmila Ulitskaya Books on Amazon
Aleksei Tolstoy Books on Amazon
Andrei Bitov Books on Amazon
Valentin Rasputin Books on Amazon


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