Critics call Sofia Sinicco a storyteller and even a witch, and her collection of stories the mysterious name of “the Shining “of gemorah”” made the finals of the “Big book”. In an interview with “MK” the writer spoke about the difficult perception of the past, xenophobia and the belief in miracles.

, How productive you past the time of isolation?

– For me the isolation is not over yet – I now live in a remote village. And it is possible that it will be delayed: my life depends on school my children, if continued distance learning, remain Bobyleva. I’m here since the end of March, having fun watching the change of seasons – snow, then flowering plums, now all pink from the fireweed. Quarantine time was quite productive – I learned to chop wood, skillfully melt the stove for the first time in my life got a vegetable garden, wrote half of the novel. We arrived in the village with a sketchbook and canvases for Mani, she goes to art school. Lisa and Bayan – make a jazz program. Over Novgorod brim floats music Galliano, swing, ragtime, the locals really like. Lisa remotely participated in two contests, became a prize-winner so that a quarantine was good. Manya says oil, especially her able portraits of bearded men, in the fall you can do an exhibition.

– Many people say fantasmagorichnost your prose. The extent to which the current era can be described by the language of the grotesque?

– I think it depends on the angle of view of the writer, the artist. I asked myself the question: would the harms harms with his philosophy of the absurd, if I lived in a different environment – less strange, less wild? I think, Yes. Absurdist Gogol grew up and matured as an artist in a warm, homely and friendly environment, in a relatively quiet time for Russia. The strangeness, the unreality, fantasmagorichnost existence can be felt by the artist in any era. Because by and large people don’t change, the meaning of life is obscure, death walks beside him, society suffers. We are not logical, many of our actions are contrary to common sense, so to show our world, our lives, any era with the help of old, from ancient times used the techniques of the grotesque – employment is an honest, correct and fruitful. “On a mirror necha to expostulate, if face is crooked” – the epigraph from Gogol’s the Inspector General. Humanity has such a face that any mirror will arriveat. Around solid extravaganza, you can not use your imagination, just write it down, draw from life.

the stories included in the book “the Shining “of gemorah””, the plot twists and turns occur on the background of the terrible events of the 20th century: war, blockade, repression. How difficult was it for you to take at this time?

– My childhood had on the decline of the Soviet era, I studied in the Soviet school and received quite a Patriotic, in lbest sense of the word, education. At school, in movies, in books explained to me that there is nothing worse than war, that we must not forget the heroism of those who fought against fascism.

In my family always celebrate the Day of Victory. My mother’s father, the Navigator of the PE-2, covered the ships of the Northern convoys. He was killed in action in 1942. Mom was raised by an uncle, General aviation, Ulyanovsk. In the beginning of the war he was shot down over occupied Belarus, in the glow a jumpsuit parachute, was fired. It was picked by farmers, a few months of hiding, was treated, although it could hang. The burn scars on his hands – my mother’s childhood memory. My dad’s dad, Professor Sinitsky, the entire siege held in Leningrad, he then headed the Institute of Vaccines and sera and the laboratory of Microbiology of the Institute Ott. Physicians supplied the front and city bacterial drugs, fought with dysentery, produced protivozachatocnuu a vaccine for the troops of the Far East. And it is in terrible conditions, hunger, bombings, frost. For me, the war, the blockade – the same reality as everything that surrounds us in this life. In St. Petersburg we live on Vasilievsky island, in the house where starving artist Frolov. In the besieged city he worked on mosaics on the sketches Deineka. You can see them in the Moscow subway. Every day we pass along a narrow street Repin, in which the blockade was a morgue. There are stacks of piled corpses. I run a literary club at school E. P. Shaffe on the Fifth payline. In the school library kept a diary of the besieged student Marta Kryzhanovskaya (now one of the oldest employees of the Hermitage). There it is told, how they with mum wove camouflage nets, like they had survived the bombing of the starving. Not to cry, the children imagined themselves to be Indians “because Indians don’t cry.”

Our 92-year-old great-grandfather of Professor A. K. Dondua says a lot of important and interesting about the siege of life. This winter we were with him on Middle Avenue, and he pointed to a basement window of Physico-mathematical Lyceum: “And here we, the students, waited out the bombing.” Recalls how, in 1941, the anniversary of the October special coupon received in bakery gingerbread: “It was a real gingerbread, sweet, with raisins”. A bakery was on the corner of Middle and 6 lines, now there is a pastry shop “Squirrel”. When we go there for candy, I invite the children to imagine a cold dark room with the stove, the counter, the hungry boy. Manya wrote a picture about this gingerbread. War is not just a part of my family’s history, my personal story, my personal pain, and you should write about what hurts.

About repression. Recollections of the camps and the fate of Eugenia Ginzburg, Valeriy Frida, Boris Shiryaev and other inmates shocked me, largely shaped my view on life. People astounding strength of spirit and beauty. The story “Gregory Nedospasov” is dedicated to the ethnographer, poet Nina I. Hagen-thorn, her book, “Memoria” I advise everyone to read it. “Baptized with crosses” Edward Kochergin, in my opinion, is the best Russian books of the beginning of the century.

the Problem of rethinking the Soviet past and the case arises in the historical and not just discussions. However, until now, many people are nostalgic for those times and even justify crimes committed by them. How to overcome this kind of blindness?

What do you mean nostalgic for those days? We weren’t there. People have different images, different ideas about the most complex of the Soviet era, beautiful and terrible at the same time. It is difficult to cover the eye and give an objective assessment of what was relatively recently, awareness of history takes time. My mania, go to the exhibition Deineka, said: “Mother, it was Paradise!” They say that Paradise, and now remember the book of Shiryaev on the Solovetsky camp (she wrote the song for a terrible story, “Comforting pop”). And this is one country, one era. The difficulty is not to give a definite estimate, to understand that heaven and hell, as icons, can coexist in the same time in the same space. Here I am in a figurative sense, heaven and hell, of course, beyond time and space.

Why now more and more remember Stalin? Perhaps there is some reason. I know people who are seeing, for example, stolen the natural wealth of the country, begin to repeat like a mantra: “Stalin, come, oligarch run, Stalin come, thief-official run”. Many modern Stalinists do not believe that the scale of repression was so terrible. Well, who, Yes, goes further and, while acknowledging the scale of the human tragedy, believes that it was historically necessary.

I could be wrong, but it seems to me that all our past problems have not gone away. The person is not changing for the better. A serious economic crisis plus the appearance of crazy loud and could easily be running a new witch hunt, Jews, KGB, black cats, terrorists, doctors with vaccines, gays, homophobes, the dwarfs, the Stalinists. If desired, the enemy of the people can write any. In society lot of aggression. All very vague, not easy. In hindsight, it is not necessary to immerse your head in a wave of condemnation and hatred. We don’t know what real fear, real terror. How would we behave in ‘ 37? Who wrote denunciations? After five terrible years in Kolyma, Nina Hagen-thorn, when she sewed a second term, was able to look into your case and was astonished to find that she brought a friend – an ethnographer, a visitor to the Philharmonic. The second denunciation came from a neighbor in the communal apartment who baked delicious pies with cabbage. Excuse me, but uhmy social portrait, many users of social networks, which under the publications “the Immortal Barak” accepted excitedly curse “executioners” and “informers”. If you really want to stand in a military posture against the people of our past, it should not be abused by a third person: “They are murderers, they’re murderers”. Better go on first. Still, “we”, so honest.

In the story “Gregory Nedospasov” is a touching and saddest episode, when the hero is touring with Parsley in the zones, and the head of the theatre appoints a boy Kostya. How were born these images?

– to be Honest, hard to say, as images are born, they create themselves. I go through the woods or my dishes and then flash and see not only the image, but the whole idea in General. Perhaps this is inspiration. For me my heroes live, not tortured, but how full and tight I was able to convey their images in the story – to the reader to judge. I don’t consider myself a master, “I’m just learning” and not always pleased with what happened. But Parsley I have not accidentally – close to me the aesthetics and philosophy of parsley theater. Comic hero, miserable and cocky, with his hopes, boasting and thwarted, has incorporated the basic human traits “of all time”. Going somewhere on a horse, someone fights, flirting with some Katerina Ivanovna, cheat, protect, desperately trying to become happy, and then: “Lost my head with a cap and tassel”. A powerful metaphor.

In the Pushkin house I wrote a paper about Gogol and comedic traditions of his time, including the national theater. Folk hero, which we are famous, praised by Gogol, inspired by the ancient Comedy, “laughter through tears” may be somehow reflected in my prose. For example, the security officer Caliban, tank Zyabkin, Durnik-believer, the camp guard of Gemorah. They contain some features of Buffon, they can laugh and at the same time they want to spare. Historian Olga Chumicheva were able to put some of my characters “on the shelves” of the Commedia Dell’arte is harlequin, it’s Columbine, it’s grumpy Pantaloon. I had it all written spontaneously. However, it turned out that somewhere the text is embedded in the framework of the classical Italian Comedy. I was just amazed.

Petersburg/ Leningrad becomes the scene of many of your books. About the mythical and mysterious nature of St. Petersburg spoke and wrote a lot. And for you what is the most important feature of this city?

Petersburg is my native city. For me it is a place of power. It seems no city in the world could not stand such terrible blows and trials: revolution, war. Then, it is the most beautiful city. It can be beautiful, graceful, artistic beauty and of the terrible, sorrowful beautyOh, which we see on military photos, which they say in the siege of memories. In the winter, late fall, early spring, I bent from the Petersburg weather or the pollution. But in this city my friends, relatives, schools attended by girls. In school mania, receives a great art education. For nine years she studied with the best teachers in the magnificent 11-th school of music. There’s also my Lisa growing as a musician. Children learn free. A few years ago was canceled, the rental fee for musical instruments, and Lisa, among other things, expensive Italian accordion. In a regular school full of free groups swim, dance, learn languages. Thank you for this my city.

– Your novel “Hannibal adds,” today, in my opinion, particularly relevant. The father of the hero is constantly being beaten on the grounds of racism and xenophobia and ultimately dies. In General, in your opinion, how in today’s Russia strong xenophobic sentiments?

My school years were spent in Avtovo. It was the edge of town, the first buildings. On the street the Marine Corps was used as a hostel for foreign students, it was mostly Vietnamese and Africans. In Soviet times we were taught to be friends: with posters of smiling white boy with freckles, a cute black and some young Indian in headdress with feathers. In the cartoon – Chunga-Changa, the blue firmament, in the port all the fun of singing in national costumes. My Lisa’s favorite doll – Soviet negrityanok, valuable Antiques. In 90-e years have appeared the guys who “soaked black”. It was the aggression of a lost youth, which a few years from morning till evening he explained that Russia is at the bottom and it’s very bad, and this refreshing information offered to eat a leg of Bush’s humanitarian and soap. I once saw a gaggle of teenagers ambushed and beat two slow, similar to giraffes Ethiopians. It was near the subway, I lost my voice, but the COP was not in a hurry. In the zero situation has only worsened, Petersburg became the capital of xenophobia, was swept by a wave of murders. In 2005, Avtovo in a vacant lot near little Red river ten freaks – “patriots” attacked the African students. Was stabbed to death, the Cameroonian Leon, his friend from Kenya was taken to hospital in serious condition. After that, the foreign students staged a rally at Smolny: wrapped in sheets, as in shrouds and lay on the ground. In memory of this Cameroonian I wrote the novel “Hannibal Kvashnin”. I recently learned that the school-Studio of MKHAT guys take on her exam elocution. For me it’s just happiness – wow, I’m useful!

there is now a Strong xenophobic sentiment? I don’t know, to be honest. In Lisa’s class, there are a few Tajik and Caucasian boys, but I didn’t notice that it was a wrong attitude. In school all the time I heard the word “friendship”: “Our 5 he had the most friendly!” and rightly so. In St. Petersburg, studying a lot of foreigners. I hope xenophobic nightmare of the 90s – zero will never happen again.

Critics have compared your novel to the works of Gogol, Platonov, Kharms. Of-as the epigraph to “Grisha Nedospasova”. As these and other authors have shaped you as a writer?

– I gave a lot of Russian literature, American and German romanticism. When I was a schoolgirl, my view of the world, understanding of life have identified the works of Melville, PoE, Hoffmann, Gogol. Now the great comfort – Tolstoy, Dostoevsky and Shchedrin, Sologub, Andrei Bely, re-read them endlessly. About the epigraph to the novel. “Quiet on the sea are fleeing in fear of the white elephants” – a line from Horsovsky “History of Stigr APR”, “of thepresence”, for which repressed my hero librarian. In addition, here is a variation on a white elephant. The heroine of the story fails – stupid, pretentiously – recited a poem by Rilke about a white elephant, University students laugh at her, they called her the white elephant, as a result, she hated humanity. Already writing the story, I realized that harms, creating a terrible way of running the white elephant, most likely, was inspired by a Rilke poem, “Carousel”, where the inevitability of the coming fate appears “a white elephant”.

– do you believe in the fairy tale?

– I believe in miracles. I believe in miracles when my children were born. By and large lived with them every day for me is ordinary, but the real miracle. Anyway, life is a fairy tale. Taking into account all the sorrow of the world, can, however, safely say that I am a very happy person.