Quick Study: Dmitry Danilov is a prose writer known for a documentary-like style capable of creating suspense and dry humor.
The Danilov File: Dmitry Danilov began his career as a journalist and corporate writer, often writing about his travels around Russia. Danilov’s novel Horizontal Position, which was shortlisted for the 2011 Big Book and 2012 NOSE awards, draws on autobiographical material, too: the novel’s narrator, a corporate writer, keeps a diary that describes, in documentary fashion, his work and trips to other cities, including Arkhangel’sk in northern Russia, and New York. His 2012 novel Description of a City involves travel, too, describing monthly visits to a southern Russian city; Danilov has also written two collections of short prose.
Psssst………: Danilov recommends visiting Murmansk, Russia, calling it “fantastically beautiful” and noting that the sun never sets in the summer.
Danilov’s Places: Moscow plus numerous travel destinations from Murmansk to New York.
The Word on Danilov: Sergei Shargunov’s review of Horizontal Position for Radio Vesti calls Danilov a good stylist and essayist, writing that the book’s protocol-like language is surprisingly poetic. He concludes by saying he’s not sure what makes the book so good, interesting, and impossible to put down. Horizontal Position offers something like a hidden camera, says Shargunov, “Everything is humdrum and unhurried but for some reason you can’t look away, it’s as if you were reading a thrilling detective novel.”
Danilov on Danilov: In an interview with Tin House, Danilov told Jeff Parker, the editor of the anthology Rasskazy: New Fiction from a New Russia, that he’s more interested in what’s around his characters than what’s in his characters: “And when I write I am interested in shifting the focus from the person onto what surrounds him, to some things and circumstances that we usually don’t pay attention to. Because of that my characters come out very passive. They practically blend with the world.”
On Writing: In an interview with Voice of Russia, Danilov said he earns most of his money from non-literary jobs but doesn’t consider literature a hobby, saying it’s difficult work. When asked if he’s a night owl, he said he is, going on to say, “I don’t write every day. I generally don’t work on it that often. That means it’s like this for me: I just feel that today is it, I’m going to sit down, I’m going to write today. I sit there for a very long time and do something. Then I usually work on something else.”
Danilov Recommends: In a diary-like piece for OpenSpace.ru, Danilov mentions enjoying Zakhar Prilepin’s Black Monkey and Anatolii Gavrilov’s The Lookout’s Cry, a book mixing poetry and prose. He also praises Yury Mamleev.