March 01, 2002

Two Great Writers

Two great modern Russian writers turn 65 in March: Vladimir Makanin celebrates his birthday on the 13th, Valentin Rasputin on the 15th.

Vladimir Makanin is a “physicist turned lyricist.” Upon graduation from secondary school, he enrolled at the Faculty of Mathematics and Mechanics at Moscow State University, from whence he worked for 10 years in the field of higher math. He made his literary debut in 1965 with the novel Direct Line, published in the literary journal Moskva. To become a full-fledged professional writer, Makanin graduated from the Higher Courses of Scriptwriters and Directors. The literary critic Lev Annensky called Makanin “a born realist.”

In the 1970s, Makanin published Bezotsovschina (“Without a Father”), Simple Line, and Klyucharev and Alimushkin. In the 1980s, he wrote the short novels The Blue and Red, The Precursor, The Lagging Behind, Bereavement and others. In the 1990s, Makanin’s talent came into full bloom and gained wide recognition.

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