Novelist, literary historian, playwright, teacher, Museum worker, research associate – it’s all about Natalia Gromov. Her books about poets and writers, covering mainly the period from the 1920s to the 1950s, the years have become classics. Akhmatova, Tsvetaeva, Pasternak, and many other symbols of the era appear in them are real people with their fates, which are invariably intertwined with one another. A new novel of Natalia Alexandrovna “through and Through” who is in the final of the “Big book” 2020 autobiographical. In an interview with “MK” she said about the drama of Marina Tsvetaeva, the barricades at the White House in 1991 and independence in 2014, and also about living with war in our past and in our minds.
– How did you survive those months when everything moved online?
– Very well. The genre of my life – to sit, read, watch, and connect. During the isolation I wrote a documentary book in letters and diaries about Lev Shestov and his beloved Barbara Malakhieva-Mirovich. It is a pity that the exhibition “Noah’s ark writers,” which we opened on March 17 at the House of I. S. Ostroukhov in pipe manufacturers, on the same day had to mothball and move online. It was made a theatre artist from the school-Studio of MKHAT, head of Department Mary Utrobina, and she came out of theatre and bright, despite the sad story – the evacuation of writers in 1941-1944. Nevertheless, we conducted a virtual tour. I realized that this genre is viable, and you can read the online lectures. However, we look only at ourselves and not see the audience. This is a difficult situation, because the conduct of the tour – a mutual process. Now the exhibition is back live.
– the basis of the exhibition of the same name your book “Noah’s ark writers.” Why are you interested in the topic of evacuation?
Three years Tashkent evacuation and Chistopol is a unique case of existence in one place of many different writers, poets, and artists. And each space in the evacuation was the centre of attraction. In Tashkent – this was Akhmatova, and in Chistopol – Pasternak. This one did not agree, but it happened. When I started to build the plot, but it all miraculously appeared in the beginning 2000-ies in front of me were many letters and documents of the time, and they formed a kind of mosaic view of the world evacuation. Although it seemed to me that everything should be known. However, I saw only fragments of memories, fragmentary pictures of the life, but no panorama was not. Why he came, what each of them happened since you got back?
But during the war this rift of time, many poets and writers happened to the creative impulse; was created remarkable works in which the opinion of the writers addressed in the beginning of the twentieth century in an attempt to understand the causes of the revolution, the civil��Oh and world war II. Akhmatova writes in Tashkent “Poem without a hero”, Lugovskoy – “Mid-century”, Eisenstein in Alma-ATA takes a second series of “Ivan the terrible”, Simon – “From Lopatin’s notes”, and parsnips – Chistopol rises to the novel “Doctor Zhivago”.
When I felt that here is born, so many meanings, texts, events, really wanted to write about it, but it was unclear how to approach this. Heroes set, how to connect them? Fortunately for me, when I wrote the book “Noah’s ark writers” (first version was called “All you see in someone else’s window”), was alive people, witnesses of those events. For example, Maya Iosifovna Belkin – author of the book on Tsvetaeva “Collision of destinies”. With it all started: from the archive, letters, stories.
– even war, as you mentioned, for many writers and poets became a kind of awakening of creative forces – as, for example, in the case of Akhmatova and Pasternak. But for Tsvetaeva in 1941 turned into a suicide. Why did this happen?
– Tsvetaeva’s attitude to the Second World war before the arrival of the Soviet Union was an apocalyptic. When the Germans entered the Czech Republic, she wrote the famous verses: “O tears! Weeping with anger and love! Oh, Czech Republic in tears! Spain blood!”. For her, such a war meant the end of civilization. She renounced such wrong, cruel world arranged. In addition, for her, germanophile – she loved the German language, language, as her childhood was spent in the German towns, – it was the end of time. The Germans go to Europe and destroy the culture!
In contrast to Tsvetaeva, Akhmatova, Pasternak believed that war is a kind of deliverance from the sins and bloodshed of the Stalin of the 1930-ies. Akhmatova direct text says Margarita Aliger, when they sail by ship from Kazan to Chistopol, that this war will tear off all the veils and begin another life. Tsvetaeva internally excluded himself from the future before he died. This was her deepest drama.
– And what a story about how Tsvetaeva asked to work dishwasher?
– Tsvetaeva arrived in late August in the XX three days went by steamer to Chistopol, where he formed a branch of the Union of writers. Was not yet organized life writing evacuation. No writing dining room, which Tsvetaeva wrote a letter asking to get a dishwasher, did not exist. She said she will soon open and she decided that she could get there.
to be next to the dining room during the war was not the most horrible thing, because there would be access to food. For example, a great poet and popularizer of jazz Alexander Parnakh opened the door in Chistopol the dining room for a bowl of soup. Because of this, he did not die of hunger. So hthe story of the dual dishwasher, and it turned, I would have said, in this meme, like all around Tsvetaeva. Not that it led to the death.
– what was the main drama?
– Tsvetaeva in the last ten days of life tried to find a livelihood. To them with his son George (Moore) to survive. She didn’t have work. Cards for products given only the first time. What to eat? How to exist? This is one part of her drama. The other is her son in the evacuation rushed to the school, wanted to be a Soviet boy. And Tsvetaeva wanted to hide from this strange and terrible world. She in panic was afraid and did not want to socialize. It seemed to her that in her passport watermarks written all of her past. She’s going to prison. But if she goes to jail, what will happen to her son. It was bruised, scared man, whose two most close people, the daughter and the husband was arrested and she spent two years wearing his transfer to prison. Can you imagine that almost all the money she spent to do the transfer. On the remains they lived with the son. She translated, sold my stuff, went to the Lubyanka and defended there in line for four or five hours. What can you take with cornered, exhausted, lost, not Soviet, not understanding the rules of the game? Most importantly, she did not understand how the Soviet world, so to fit in she was impossible.
Amazingly, the two great women poets Akhmatova and Tsvetaeva, do not have a relationship with his sons. What, in your opinion, the cause of this disorder?
– This is a very ambitious poets and the individual for whom motherhood is possible and necessary, but they could not be mothers in the sense that we imagine. For them in the first place was the service – not for families and children, and the Word. However, the differences between them are significant.
When Lydia Chukovskaya Korneeva meets Tsvetaeva in Chistopol, then says: “How terrible if it turned out Akhmatova”. Tsvetaeva and her answers: “And you think I can? Akhmatova could not, and I think I can?”
Tsvetaeva, as many times described, was walking through the streets of Paris, picked up the onion and threw it in the soup, and she could not cook soup children, no matter what the relationship with them was not. She cooked, fed and clothed, no matter how complex it may be her life.
In the case of Akhmatova, we are dealing with an entirely different person, who was lying on the couch, even in Tashkent, and wife writers and poets, carried her chops, and Aleksey Nikolayevich Tolstoy – fruit baskets. Despite the fact that it is all shared and he behaved very nobly. But Akhmatova never achieved, are not conformed, lived like the birds of heaven. Her son Lev grew up not with her but with her mother-in-law, the mother of Nikolay Gumilev. He came to her already a teenager when she lived in ��antenna house and buninym, where the left lived on the chest in the passage. Yes, she loved him, suffered, stood with the gear in line, when he was arrested, but mother in the truest sense of the word, let’s be honest, she wasn’t. However, in the situation of the 1920-ies, when Akhmatova was alive, she knew that she had to give Levu.
Maybe, Tsvetaeva, too, should their children to give somewhere, and it would have freed her from the infernal torment. But she, on the contrary, no one ever wanted to give. Don’t forget that Lev was arrested three times. Of course, all three times he was questioned about his mother. The last time he was arrested after the decree of 1946, when began the persecution of Akhmatova, and it is actually forbidden to publish. From childhood he knew that living with a fatal curse from their parents. So there is the feeling that he’s a hostage of his mother. As man has his ambitious and vain, it is quite difficult to this was
as for Tsvetaeva, it was more complex relationships not even with his son George (Moore) and daughter, Ariadne, who left in 1937 from Paris to the Soviet Union. She was mentally and ideologically closer to his father – Sergei Efron, and the son then was close to his mother and at fourteen and fifteen years.
Tsvetaeva saw in him the image of herself in male form. But the horror was that this selfish teenager has not yet formed the soul. It was cold and very reserved young man. That is not surprising, since he grew up in difficult circumstances. Tsvetaeva, when they were in the Union alone, surrounded by his excessive concern, it is humiliated.
Relations impeded in reality by the fact that he saw it for it was a man of the old world. He tried to push away the mother to be like everyone else. To become Soviet. And it gradually Matures crazy idea that she got in his way, and if you leave, the Soviet authorities his prigolubit and put on his feet. This idea visited her last days was reflected in her post-mortem notes. But a few years later, her son before the death at the front, wrote in a letter to the groom’s sister Mule Gurevich, realized how and why the tormented mother. He begins to feel and regret. So we don’t know what kind of person he would have developed. Its share dropped something impossible – emigration, return, arrests of relatives, two evacuation battalions and an early death. He underwent all kinds of suffering, humiliation and misery.
family drama are present in your autobiographical novel “through and Through”. It is known that our memory is selective. What you want to remember in this book?
I’m interested in the mechanisms of human destiny. I see some striking logic of life, an experience that is anything but literature, not mastered. You suddenly see through the five pokolani and realize that the story of the father-grandfather-son suddenly begin to repeat. The novel begins with the end.
I was very concerned that led to the current drama, namely the consciousness of the war in our heads. I am the daughter of an officer, my grandfather served in the NKVD is never in the family were not spoken aloud, but I felt reflected the tension that was always in the house. I lived with it, and therefore know what to tell people something about time is possible only through itself. There are explosive point in time, which will go back to my grandchildren and great-grandchildren. They will look at us and think about this time. I have been a lot about this agony.
I was working on a novel for almost 4 years, although at this time wrote a book about Olga Bergholz. But the novel didn’t leave me. In addition, I have one, not that mystical experience of transcendental knowledge, as it is every creative person that is very deep looks where can be dangerous to look. And I believe that this experience is incredibly important for others.
you Know, experience is generally the only thing we have. We can with the help of texts, books, films or stories of friends, look for someone else. All! We can’t live two or three lives, but when you give to others with your experience, we make a right action, because what we are given, we must return, and we are given just that, you know?
– Yes, and therefore very wanted to ask you about August 1991. You were on the barricades at the White house and defended freedom. How do you perceive these events?
When we heard that on 19 August a state of emergency, there was a sense that everything that we think ends, because what was written in their putsch-shny use, meant “tanks, censorship, the pioneers, the Komsomol and went all out who do not agree”. My ex-husband at the time was published the first issue of its military-historical journal, and I did my first interview, in my opinion, almost with Anatoly Pristavkin about the story “spent the Night tuchka gold”.
We just started to feel the air of freedom. So a rollback was impossible to move. That was our, as we thought, insane, hopeless protest.
From us to the White house was fifteen minutes, I said, “let’s Go!”. “Why to go, all is lost! he said. – Look what is happening: in the courtyard there are tanks”. But we still went and spent eleven to twelve hours. When on us from the balcony of the White house showered leaflets, began to emerge a strange feeling that maybe all is not lost. So, something to do, and not to stand still, began to build barricades. No one had the idea of something to protect. It was desperation that had somehow to be filled with action.
We all knewand then exactly what is not protected concrete Yeltsin or the White house, we were defending themselves and their dignity. Stopped working radio. All told each other the news. Then it began to get “Freedom”, “Voice of America”. The people went with the radio near your ear. The Windows stood receivers with amplifiers and broadcast the latest news.
How realistic was the expectation that the government will use force?
the emergency Committee did not know what to do with people. Then worked for local government. The Chairman of Krasnopresnensky regional Council Alexander Krasnov said: “we in Krasnopresnenskaya area has its own municipal government.” He helped the defense of the White house. It is impossible to run the police, who have it all dispersed.
Then all sharply polarized. Someone went to the barricades, and someone was yelling into the phone that all of us can take a picture, go to jail. It was. I remember telling one person that all decent people there, and once you are there, you are unworthy people. He also ran. We, women, mostly, to cook and to carry out the food. Then came heavy rain, was declared a curfew and then came a terrible night of 20 to 21 August. When the shooting started in the transition under the Kalinin Prospekt, the bullets reflected from the walls of Smolensk Boulevard and came right up to the neighboring house. That night I was home. It was very, very scary.
When I hear that saying all this was played, invented, it is a bigger insult to me, it is hard to imagine. My ten year old son at the time was in Latvia, which has already declared itself a separate state. We didn’t as we now meet, to call, to communicate with each other was impossible. Those three days seemed like years. We waited for any outcome. At a huge rally on August 21 to me, it seemed that, despite General rejoicing – happen, something terrible. I imagined that now will jump on top of Marines, would poison us all with gas and something terrible will happen. (By the way, then written and said that something like this was planned). I could not believe that they will give power. This expectation, some kind of ambush – poison.
somehow people forget everything, but I remember it very well. We even decided in the family, who will remain with the child if suddenly someone will be killed and who will live.
– How would you describe your feeling when it was all over, and the tanks retreated?
I can never forget it. I swear I feel stronger in my entire life I have not experienced. Even the birth of children are not given such a feeling of happiness. When the putsch collapsed and we went on the 22nd of August 1991 in Moscow, it is felt that this is our city.
Remember how we came to Dzerzhinsky square and stood near the CPSU Central Committee, and someone started to say that we need to go there. Here youwas such an intelligent person, and told the crowd: “No, if we now touch, then you may lose the most important documents, everything must be protected.” All listened to him. People were incredibly serious and trustful. I remember, as the demolition of Dzerzhinsky. The crowd went strange, lost Evtushenko, there were a lot of famous people, but they are of no interest. At this point their course was history.
the Night I called friends, shouting: “we are Now making a monument to Kalinin”. I asked: “why at night?”. “Because tomorrow morning will not have anything. Don’t you understand! We have now the most them away!” Kalinin, Sverdlov, and Dzerzhinsky was time to clean up, but Lenin not reached. The morning came. And all began to pull on the brakes. Then I realized what it means to be inside history.
This feeling I never had never. So in the book, I wrote a story about the Maidan and his son. Me all of these rhymes have always been concerned. Like you in your generation you get one, and he’s in his in a different story, but all the links in the chain call back.
– how did you end up on Maidan?
In 2014, my son had surgery in Kiev, he lived there for seven years, and I went there. From the hospital went to the Maidan. To me it made a lasting impression – a real Sich. It was minus seventeen degrees below zero, stood palatucci with pipes, where these were heated and La stoves, and on each tent was written by a great flyer-poster, which stated, where the man and the story explaining why he was there. They told how Yanukovych and his son looted the country and took from them what little they had. It was some kind of archetypal people. Awesome! They were like from another time. There were so many funny, funny pictures and posters. A huge cage, in it sat a doll Yanukovych on a Golden toilet, with him everything talked over him laughed.
It was a carnival, a people’s initiative, which aroused my sympathy. But what began then in Russia, drove me crazy, because Yes, the Maidan was a bit cheeky nationalists, but the question was not in them, and that the people wanted justice. They came there because they were robbed of power, they wrote on the posters, they could not stand this anymore. People came from all over the country. It was absolutely clean, a people’s history.
After the Maidan won, my son started pouring letters from home: “As you live among those terrible Ukrainians! You say a word in Russian, and I’ll kill you!” And then he wrote the first huge message on Facebook “Russian friends” in which he tried to explain that in Russia, just crazy, and that Ukraine is not as served by our media. The next morning his text was translated into many languages. And all these stories and you��was trails I have a chain; you understand that your own grandfather in Western Ukraine was an investigator and hunt, Bandera, and then it turns out that your children and grandchildren will save the descendants of those who caught your grandfather. We are all connected in this world one circulatory system.
I Have the novel begins with a conversation with his father about the martial law in Poland in 1981, when I should have been born a son. Father came and said that “in connection with the recent events in Poland there unable to move our troops, and certainly – on the other hand will enter NATO. And hi – nuclear war can not be avoided.”
my son is Now with his family just lives in Poland, which the Soviet government in 1981 was about pressure tanks. We pull the strings in this reality and don’t know how she will respond in the future. People don’t think about it, they, unfortunately, see only what is at their feet. In this drama of our time. Life was terribly tragic, but interesting if it is understood.