the next sixties

The novel “Burn” quarreled with Vasily Aksenov and Joseph Brodsky. The poet did not like the novel, seeming to speak ill of it in American publishing circles, which, given its authority, precluded the possibility of the book being translated into English. In principle, it can be assumed that Brodsky did not like the complex, irregular rhythm of the novel, and there were a lot of phantasmagorical fragments mixed with parodic ones. Aksenov’s novel was as intense as Aksenov’s. Vasily Pavlovich’s resentment is understandable: he considered “Burnt” precisely as an intense expression of his work. Moreover, it was a well-rounded description of the sixties generation that entered the disappointing “forty-plus” era of the 1970s. All these characters would now be around ninety. Like Aksenov, who will turn 90 on August 20.

Meanwhile, The Burn shows us this country from the past, with all its Stalinist and post-Stalinist charms, to which we either return voluntarily or never really leave. By the way, a very timely book, a timely author in all periods of his work, corresponded to new stages of our Soviet and post-Soviet existence.

If Brodsky was right about anything, it was simply that it was impossible to adequately translate Aksyonov’s description of time and generation into a foreign language. There is a play of words in every sentence, the interweaving of temporal layers, references to texts and anecdotes that are difficult to understand even now by new generations. However, for example, the traditionalist Vladimir Maksimov liked The Burn, but in the novel itself, he liked the line of the lyrical hero Magadan childhood more. Basically, memories. Aksyonov himself would not sit down for his memoirs in this genre, saying “it’s a pity that a fiction writer wastes memories.” How boring was ordinary realism: Even in his most traditional writings, the fantastic, or rather phantasmagorical realism, explodes from time to time, sometimes looking like an intricately woven, colorful, and ever-changing alcohol journey. Indeed, in many respects it turned out to be the everyday existence of a freedom-loving environment, with the impossibility of crossing a double continuous line, at times permissible, but within strict limits.

In a sense, The Burn is a key novel, a novel with a key, but more complex than the usual examples of this genre. In fact, there is only one character there – a collective sixties man, consisting of representatives of a generation that came out of a certain circle and, in turn, formed his own circle. Among them are those shouted by Nikita Khrushchev, who on March 8, 1963, “avenged his father”, allegedly received by Aksenov. There was something to avenge Vasily Pavlovich, and not only for his father, but also for his mother, Evgenia Ginzburg, the future author of one of the most important books about Stalinism – the Steep Path. However, he did not take revenge, but had to fight (or whom?) even in the most prosperous times for himself, the gloomy beast – what he called “Unanimous Consent”. Forever remembering the small evil eye from Burn, who repeatedly arrested the mother of the state security captain Cheptsov. It was this image that appeared in various situations in different people, including some elderly strict cloakroom attendants, and not the abstract Soviet power “Sofia Vlasyevna” that became for Aksenov a symbol of a system that represses a person. “Existence equals resistance” is how he defines his life. And the fight against obscenity and pettiness …

A clef from his novel, The Mysterious Passion had more substantial and concrete keys and was therefore somewhat shortened when it was first published. The characters have prototypes that make “Passion” about Valentin Kataev’s novel “My Diamond Crown”. However, Aksenov’s phantasmagorical dance has such a trademark that the book comes out softer and less aggressive than Kataev’s.

He discovered Kataev and Aksenov. A textbook story: The master himself, a master of polishing metaphors and all sorts of other tracks, recorded the phrase of the young doctor Aksenov: “The dark still waters of the canal looked like a dusty piano cover.” Vasily Pavlovich is famous for such verbal “burns”. Either a gypsy with a bag looks like “yesterday’s salad dressing”, or the hands of the former hockey player Alik Neyarky resemble two woven boas … Most importantly, Aksenov’s early prose corresponded to the spirit of the time, which melted more easily. turned into poetry and cinema.

As a result, his vertical ascent was achieved by novels about youth. Perhaps, as stated in the annotation to the last book of this “star ticket” series, “The time has come, my friend, the time has come”, “The idea of ​​\u200b\u200bfriendship and mutual assistance of the Soviet people, sometimes completely unfamiliar to each other, works through the whole business. The action of the novel is set in Estonia takes place in Moscow and on a large Siberian construction site. And after all, everything is true, with these official words written on the pigment yellow page of the 1965 edition and smelling delicious of all the aromas of the time. Even Estonia, a window to the world to the West, is forgiven: young people drink, eat despite the not-so-Soviet view of the old city where he ate and sought himself, the republic was purely Soviet.In fact, in Tallinn, Aksenov visited the training camp of the medical personnel of the Baltic Fleet and was wounded in the very heart by this substitution of the West, by the city the vast Motherland – Magadan’ He was poisoned on the opposite side of God, and in it Article 58 of the Third Sangorodok, which everyone has or will have.

In Magadan, schoolboy Bokov from Ozhog, a secret von Steinbock, wanted to be a good Soviet boy like everyone else. Yes, the authorities did not. Aksyonov wanted to be a good Soviet writer, but not like everyone else – even his youthful prose rather set the fashion for the behavior of young people, balancing borderism and devotion to the flag. No one has written like that yet: correct Soviet loyalty, like the sixties themselves, was certainly romantically anti-Stalinist – the characters acted freely. Tallinn broke Magadan, including on the screen, when in the movie version of “Star Ticket” – in the movie “My Little Brother” by Alexander Zarkha – a male-symbol trio of the sixties appeared, Alexander Zbruev – Oleg Dal – Andrey Mironov, who However, he did not kill other heroes of the late USSR Vitsin – Nikulin – Morgunov. (In the movie “Colleagues” the trio Livanov – Lanovoi – Anofriev appeared.)

After the success of “Colleagues”, “Star Ticket” was captured by the author before it even went on air: while the film was being shot in the summer of 1961 (Aksenov, a few years later, time has come, my friend), on a Tallinn beach, “Youth” along with the published novel A pile of copies of his seventh book was brought directly to the film crew.

And then this period – with Zbruev-Dal-Mironov and a character calling himself (unsuccessfully), the famous Estonian liqueur received the name “Kyanukuk” (“rooster on a log”) – ended. How the romantic-youth phase of the sixties ended – after all, Stanislav Rassadin’s use of the term “sixties” in Literaturka was connected with Aksenov’s debut. It ended almost simultaneously with the Khrushchev era. There was only a gloomy joke about the vile Komsomol official who used the word “dude” in “Burn” – it turned out to be his boyfriend from the “Star Ticket” generation …

The boys have grown. As described in Yanık, they lived within the framework of the unbearable lightness of existence. But Aksyonov, despite participating in all this bohemian whirlwind, remained an incredible farmer who did not shy away from any literary work.

“Overstocked Barrel” is released – a jovial, inverted satire on the Soviet. What is most surprising is that the detective-adventure children’s books of that time “My grandfather is a monument” and “A chest in which something hit” were written in the same genre, in a completely adult way, in Aksyonov’s style. whirlwind fantastic imaginary realism. It certainly reached its peak in the works for adults, the old sixties disappointed themselves and the Soviet power – “Burn” and “Island of Crimea”. Then: almanac “Metropolis”, scandal, immigration, American era, here again Aksyonov showed that he was a flexible plowman who made money by teaching English, once still the same for a young writer. the world of freedom like jazz.

Aksenov – first to Russia, then closer to France – returned to post-Soviet Russia, where he was treated kindly and considered almost like a new Gorky – until the “Aksenov festival” in his hometown of Kazan. He settled in a Stalinist skyscraper on Kotelnicheskaya, which gave impetus to the “Moscow-kva-kva” fantasy. I didn’t have time to finish “Lend-Lease”, a realistic narrative reminiscent of the horrific Magadan pages of “The Burn,” then it all just failed the imagination.

Aksenov is a cruel writer. Deafeningly terrifying, like Shalamov’s, the description of the long female scene leading to the sanitary checkpoint. A description of the mother’s arrest, which, as in Trifonov, produces the effect of presence. She is cruel in another definition of “mother”: her homeland stinks of urine and unwashed body, crushes lice, rapes and falls victim to violence, humiliates man forever, her meaninglessness degrades man. It is difficult to blame Aksenov’s heroes, after all, with a craving for everything jazzy, light and Western – not a single writer of his generation, so often mentioned brands, brands, sweet names of inaccessible streets and hotels in Paris, Rome. it doesn’t. .. And the names of jazz compositions … Children of 1956: “Then in the dance hall, dudes and dudes shoulder to shoulder, pathetic and greedy young people got drunk with the humid European wind that suddenly blew into our corner … – By the way, here is the Petrograd of the Komsomol guys from the district committee … – I don’t care! Rogov rolled up his sleeves, as if he was going to fight, not play the piano. – Weaken “Feeling” and then “Lady be nice” and then weaken “Lumbers Cannon” and burn everything with fire!

This is what the transition from the realm of necessity to the realm of freedom looked like. Very bright and fast. And to this day such a long, reversible, unfinished. Vasily Pavlovich Aksenov was the singer of this transition and was convinced that the main thing was to get rid of Stalinism, which he understood from a textbook without reference to a particular period in history and described as the “movement of mediocrity and nothingness”. “Stalin will win and a terrible society of totalitarianism will emerge,” he wrote of the past in one of his later articles.

… Evgeny Popov once wrote: “We are all holed up a generation from the Star Ticket. Of course, this is nostalgia. According to Aksenov himself, “literature is nostalgia.” But it’s also nostalgia for the future – the sixties that still have to go back.

The author expresses his personal opinion, which may not coincide with the editors’ position.

Source: Gazeta


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