the Grand prize Winner of one of the most prestigious Russian literary prize “Big book”, author of studies on Mandelstam, Yesenin and other poets of the Silver age Oleg Lekmanov in an interview with “MK” told about the work on a commentary on the memoirs of Irina Odoevtseva “On the banks of the Neva”, the case of Yuri Dmitriev and their reader’s preferences.

a Few months ago you had a son. This coincided with a General quarantine. How do you feel in the role of a young dad?

– my wife is absolutely happy, more than that, it just saves in today’s troubled times. “Look with cold attention around”, and then at me in disbelief and releases a little bit. Still surprised to notice that some skills are forgotten completely. My oldest son is twenty-six years, but at least something I seemingly have to remember! No – all impressions fresh as the first time.

Soon to be released your comments to the famous memoirs of Irina Odoevtseva “On the banks of the Neva”. The book at the time caused controversy. For example, Nadezhda Mandelstam believed that Odoevtseva many have fantasized about Gumilev, and Mandelstam. As you looked at these memoirs while working on the review?

– Formulating short, Odoevtseva except for two specific places in the book never lie consciously, but unconsciously muddles it a lot. But calling it memory is also bad language is not rotated. Still Odoevtseva restored events of forty years — forty-five ago and “overall” (as gently and ironically formulated in his review of the book Georgy Adamovich) restored most of these events, “right.” Dare to correct: not more wrong than most memoirists. The human mind is designed so that we have an hour or two remember things that happened to us with significant gaps. The most important difference between people is how they fill these gaps. You can deliberately replace real memories about — most such that, for any reason, we “best”. Or do the same thing, but not realizing that lying (or gradually forgetting what and where we are.) Or — consciously or unconsciously — drawing on the memories of other eyewitnesses, replacing your memories of their testimonies. Or, as did, for example, Akhmatova, consciously, by an effort of will to control myself and try to “leave gaps in the life of” empty, with the special that the memories will come sketchy, ragged. It appears that Odoevtseva in this respect was the antithesis of Anna Akhmatova. She deliberately invent rare but inevitable failures of his memory filled in the text with approximate information l��with ease the extraordinary.

– it is Known that St. Petersburg is very jealous of the people who write about their city, and “On the banks of the Neva” is largely a purely St. Petersburg story. In your case, how much influenced the notorious confrontation between the two capitals?

– hopefully, not much. Especially because I love Petersburg, and when at least a month there will visit, you begin to yearn and miss. And I even often dream – get out of Moscow station, turn left, cast a glance in the end of Nevsky prospect and the Golden needle of the Admiralty!

Irina Odoevtseva lived for ninety-five years and managed to return to the Soviet Union in the late 1980s. What is the place in your comments is her personal destiny and what discoveries in this respect have you done?

– of Course, in the book, especially the Preface says a lot about Odoevtseva and the circumstances of her life. In particular, thanks to the wonderful Riga researcher Boris Anatolyevich Raudino managed to establish the exact date of the birth of Odoevtseva (August 4, 1895, new style) and the date of its official marriage with Georgi Ivanov (27 August 1931). So very soon Odoevtseva celebrates 125 years. But in my comments, a lot of things new, it turned out very large, nearly twice as thick as the book “On the banks of the Neva.”

last year you, along with Mikhail Sverdlov and Ilya Simanovsky became the winner of the main prize “Big book” for a biography of Venedikt Erofeev. In 2020 it’s been thirty years since his death and half a century from the writing of the poem “Moscow-Petushki”. To what extent do we live in reality, which was created by the great broom?

– of course, We live in another reality, so different that the poem now requires a detailed real review many quotes and circumstances for the young reader today, completely dark. Time is very fast, everything is forgotten.

In his speech, after presenting “More books” you are called to pay attention to the case of Yuriy Dmitriev, the head of the Karelian branch of “Memorial,” which revealed the massive crimes of Stalinism, and now he is accused of sexual violence. July 22 should be a sentence. What are your expectations from the outcome of this process?

I really hope that Yuri will meet. This is an ugly, shameful thing, as the case of the “New greatness”, as many criminal cases against other, less famous people. To be honest, although this is many of my friends may not like it, I wonder how today is possible to seriously discuss a long-standing circumstances of private life of the presenter Lobkova, or how it makes the only real Russian opposition politician Navalny, engage in discussions with Ivan by Holonovel about journalists … raising the ethics, when the country adopted a blatantly illegal amendments to the Constitution, when people are judged for crimes they did not commit.

– the Fate of many characters in your books tragic: Mandelstam, Yesenin, and Venedikt Erofeev. What primarily motivates you when you take to write about a particular author?

Two circumstances must coincide: love him of whom you write, and a certain emptiness in the science on that place where the void should not be. If coincided – so get to work!

– increasingly, we hear that people are interested to read the literature of non-fiction than fiction. What are your readers ‘ preferences and one of modern authors would you mention?

I would recognize, first and foremost, a wonderful biography of Leo Tolstoy, written by Andrei Zorin, a novel by Timur Kibirov “the General and his family”, as well as exciting detective story by the Swedish writer Mikael Niemi “make a bear”. Well, new poems of my favorite poets, Sergey Gandlevsky, Julia Gugoleva, Alexei Tsvetkov.