Quick Study: Andrey Rubanov writes fiction, much of which is either semi-autobiographical (with an element of crime) or dystopian.
The Rubanov File: Andrey Rubanov got his start as a novelist with Do Time Get Time, a semi-autobiographical book that draws on his experience spending time in prison after being accused of fraud: his self-published book was picked up by a publisher and shortlisted for the 2006 National Bestseller Award. After Rubanov’s name was cleared, he worked in Chechnya during 1999-2000 as press secretary to a Russian official, returning to Moscow and entrepreneurship in 2001. Rubanov’s fiction often combines realism with themes and settings that are anti-utopian, verging on fantasy. One of his most recent novels, The Psycho Agent, focuses on a convicted killer who acts on the psyches of others; it was a National Bestseller award finalist in 2011.
Psssst………: Rubanov takes a dim view of TV, calling it “a brainwashing machine.” In another interview, he described literature as having little meaning for society, calling literature a “microreservation.”
Rubanov’s Places: Born in the village Uzunovo in the Moscow region. Lives in Moscow, has worked in Chechnya.
The Word on Rubanov: Writer Zakhar Prilepin praised Rubanov’s Do Time Get Time, saying it was one of his thirty favorite books. Chris Petit wrote a positive review of Do Time Get Time in The Guardian, saying, “This isn’t the definitive novel about money-laundering, but it does contain fascinating information on a prime, under-documented activity.” He also writes, “What starts out as a rich idler’s piquant adventure turns into a cautionary tale about the consequences of greed and, as such, a fitting one for these times.”
Rubanov on Rubanov: Discussing his life during a conversation with Zakhar Prilepin, Rubanov says his business gives him adrenaline, money to live on, and material for his books. He adds later that literature is “my passion. Let’s say it’s a painful passion. And it’s my territory. I’m considered an accidental amateur, a sort of Jack London from the people. An unpolished businessman who wrote a novel. Now they’ll consider me a businessman who wrote a second novel after the first. It’s too bad they’ll think that.”
On Writing: Rubanov also told Prilepin that he doesn’t count on winning prizes. “I’m not academic enough for them. I’m a street author. I make trash. Only it’s smart trash. There’s a reason [Artemy] Troitsky called my book ‘hypersocialist realism’ in your presence.”
Rubanov Recommends: Varlam Shalamov. Rubanov also praised Edward Limonov in his discussion with Prilepin, calling him a major master of words who’s underrated.