Quick Study: Sergey Kuznetsov’s writings include a monograph on Joseph Brodsky’s poetics, translations of Stephen King and Susan Sontag, and the novel The Circle Dance of Water, a family saga shortlisted for the 2011 Big Book Award.
The Kuznetsov File: Kuznetsov’s fiction before The Circle Dance of Water includes a trilogy of detective novels, Butterfly Skin about a serial killer, and No, a futuristic novel written in collaboration with Linor Goralik. Kuznetsov, who has been writing for the Internet since the mid-1990s, founded Sergey Kuznetsov Content Group in 2003 to work on journalism and social media projects, the most prominent of which is Buknik, a site focused on Jewish culture.
Psssst………: Kuznetsov studied chemistry at Moscow State University… And he says he believes books should be available at no charge: he puts his own texts in online libraries.
Kuznetsov’s Places: Moscow. Stanford University for a Knight Fellowship in 2001-2002, when he was a contributing editor at Lenta.ru, a Russian news site.
The Word on Kuznetsov: Critic Kirill Glikman in the “Ex Libris” supplement of Independent Newspaper, noted the complex structure of The Circle Dance of Water and the book’s focus on eternal themes, saying the novel leaves an impression. “We’ll see what Kuznetsov writes in the future. For now, one can’t help but consider The Circle Dance of Water a success for Kuznetsov as a ‘serious’ prose writer. Will the book find its reader? Well, it found one in the person of your humble servant, thank God for that.”
Kuznetsov on Kuznetsov: When asked in an interview to describe his Circle Dance of Water, Kuznetsov said he felt it was important to write “about my contemporaries who are trying to understand themselves by looking at the past of their families and their country.” He hopes to inspire readers to take another look at the Soviet past, without “the dichotomy of executioners and victims.”
On Writing: Asked why he writes—as a necessity or because of a debt to society—Kuznetsov said he writes because he enjoys the work. He added, “If we’re going to talk about a debt, the story is this: many years ago, when I was a boy, I loved books more than anything on earth. Somehow or other, I have a big debt to those who wrote those books. I can’t repay that debt to dead writers but I can attempt to create something for new generations of writers, as the authors of my favorites books did for me.”
Kuznetsov Recommends: Leonard Cohen. Leonid Yuzefovich’s Журавли и карлики (Cranes and Pygmies), which Kuznetsov called a great novel because of its compassion.