Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Big Book 2009: A Lengthy Short List

Only a literary award program called “Большая книга” (“Big Book”) would name a short list of 13 books and writers. Here are the Big Book 2009 finalists:

Andrei BaldinПротяжение точки (The Space of a Dot… this title could go in many directions…)

Andrei VolosПобедитель (The Victor)

Maria GalinaМалая Глуша (Small Glusha)

Boris EvseevЛавка нищих (A Shop for the Poor)

Leonid ZorinСкверный глобус (The Wretched Globe)

Alla MarchenkoАхматова: жизнь (Akhmatova: A Life)

Vladimir OrlovКамергерский переулок (Kamergerskii Lane)

Marian PetrosianДом, в котором… (The House in Which…)

Ol’ga SlavnikovaЛюбовь в седьмом вагоне (Love in the Seventh Carriage)

Aleksandr TerekhovКаменный мост (The Stone Bridge)

Boris KhazanovВчерашняя вечность (Yesterday’s Eternity)

Leonid IuzefovichЖуравли и карлики (beginning middle end) (Cranes and Dwarfs)

Vadim IarmolinetsСвинцовый дирижабль “Иерихон – 86-89 (The Lead Dirigible “Jericho-86-89”) I suspect this is the only book on the short list to include Led Zeppelin lyrics.

Maria Galina is having a great week: Iramifications, Amanda Love Darragh’s translation of Galina’s Гиви и Шендерович won the Rossica Prize for translation a few days ago (today’s first post). Khazanov’s book won the Russian Award earlier this year.


  1. That's a handy list, thanks a lot.

    I'm currently reading Yuri Arabov's "Чудо", which that didn't make it to the short list, on the grounds of it being too slim for a "Big Book", I guess. :))

  2. Alex,

    Thanks for the comment, Alex! Ha ha, yes, that one is a bit thin to be a big book, isn't it!? You'll have to let me know how you like it... I read the beginning but it just didn't grab me, though I thought the premise was very interesting. I thought it read more like a screenplay than a novel so I'd like to see the movie when it comes out.

    In case anyone's interested, here's a link to the beginning and an address to ask for the rest of the manuscript: ЧудоArabov discussed Чудо a month or so ago on Эхо Москвы. Here's the link: Арабов on Эхо. Arabov said it's based on what is supposedly a true story... a girl suddenly froze like a statue when she brought an icon to a dance/party.

  3. Just finished the book a few hours ago.

    I'd say that the book is particularly important for Orthodox Christians, because it fleshes out an apocryphal oral story of a miracle of God, bringing it to a wider audience and fitting it into the historical context of the "Khruschev thaw".

    I enjoyed the book despite being a non-believer, but then again, I don't think it's going to lose anything in transition to the screen.

  4. Thanks for checking back, Alex!

    I'm glad you enjoyed the book. The subject is definitely interesting... and I can already picture the movie!

  5. The Big Book 2009 finalists are up online now, so if anyone wants to read anything, now's your chance.


  6. Thank you for posting this, Alex! Are you going to read them all and vote? I saw on Goodreads that you liked Скверный глобус. I'm going to read the new Orlov book soon, and I'm also particularly interested in the Khazanov and Zorin.

  7. Well, I can't say I'm interested in "Akhmatova: A Life" at this point, but I'll try to read the rest of them. I'm only familiar with the Yarmolinets & the Zorin so far.