Quick Study: Leonid Yuzefovich is particularly known for books that gray the lines between faction and fiction, and include historical figures.
The Yuzefovich File: Leonid Yuzefovich, a historian by training, made his literary debut in 1980 with the short story collection Betrothal with Liberty. He went on to write a book about Baron Ungern-Shternberg, who fought against the Bolsheviks in the Civil War, and a series of three historical detective novels featuring St. Petersburg police inspector Ivan Putilin, an actual nineteenth-century figure. The last of the three novels, Prince of the Wind, won the 2001 National Bestseller Award. In 2009, Yuzefovich won the Big Book Award for Cranes and Pygmies, a novel set in the 1990s and featuring a scheming businessman and a historian, some of whose writing appears in the novel. Yuzefovich’s Winter Road was released in 2015: this documentary novel looks at two Civil War generals in Yakutia during the winter of 1922-1923.
Psssst………: Yuzefovich’s novel Kazaroza focuses on the murder of a singer during an Esperanto club meeting… Yuzefovich wrote his dissertation about Russian diplomatic etiquette in the fifteenth to seventeenth centuries…
Yuzefovich’s Places: Yuzefovich was born in Moscow but lived much of his early life in Perm’ and attended Perm’ University; he has written about Mongolia, where he did his army service.
The Word on Yuzefovich: Critic Lev Danilkin wrote of Yuzefovich’s Harlequin’s Costume, “Yuzefovich is not so much a stylist or criminalist as he is a comedy playwright and reformer of the classic detective novel.”
Yuzefovich Recommends: In answering a question about how he’s assisted young writers, Yuzefovich listed some he’s helped, including Alexander Terekhov, Zakhar Prilepin, Aleksei Ivanov, Sergei Nosov, and Evgeny Chizhov, whom he called his favorites.
Translating Yuzefovich: Marian Schwartz translated Yuzefovich’s Harlequin’s Costume, which won the 2014 (global) Read Russia Award. As quoted in Russia Beyond the Headlines, Schwartz said, “I found, appreciated, and translated Harlequin's Costume on spec, convinced that it would find a publisher eventually.” She hopes winning the award will help a publisher for Cranes and Pygmies, too; Schwartz has called Yuzefovich “one of the most overlooked authors in English translation.”
Photo credit: Dmitry Rozhkov, Creative Commons, via Wikipedia.