Quick Study: Yuri Polyakov leads a double life in Russian letters: he serves as editor of Literary Newspaper but is probably better known among Russian readers for best-selling novels that, according to a recent cover, appeal to women because they reveal so much about men.
The Polyaknov File: Polyakov began publishing fiction in 1985, and one of his early novels, 100 Days Before the Command, which looks at military hazing, was adapted for screen in 1994. A cycle of Polyakov’s novels written in the early 2000s addresses family issues at the turn of the century, and his collections of essayistic pieces include Pornocracy, published in 2000. Polyakov also writes commentary about literature in contemporary Russian society and is a playwright. Polyakov’s prizes include a Gogol Literary Award in 2005 for his novel Carnal Joys.
Psssst………: Polyakov is a member of the Presidential Council for Culture and Art.
Polyakov’s Places: Moscow, including the offices of Literary Newspaper.
The Word on Polyakov: Writer and critic Sergei Shargunov, in a piece for the “Books” program on Vesti FM, reviews The Plaster Trumpeter: Take Two and attributes Polyakov’s success with readers to several things, “Brave and precise social satire, and lively, vivid language. The ability to express serious opinions, including about the tragedy of existence, simply and elegantly. Eroticism, romantic conflicts, vivid depictions of stories about light-winged passion and harsh disillusionment that are familiar to everyone. And, finally, Polyakov’s books can be read in one sitting. As if you’re watching an entertaining movie.”
Polyakov on Polyakov: In an interview in June 2011, Polyakov said, “In some ways, I’m a commercial writer. Not in terms of quality but in terms of print runs: maybe they’re not a million but they’re large, hundreds of thousands of copies. And they sell! Not twenty or thirty books.”
On Writing: In the same interview, Polyakov, who has also written poetry, discusses differences between poets and prose writers, saying “Prose writers are generally very different from poets. It’s a different rhythm of work. You can write a poem whenever you like. But prose… A prose writer is like a lathe operator: step up to the machine and turn for many hours in a row. But then poetry doesn’t always pay. But prose, if it sells, if it’s adapted for screen, makes you an independent person. That’s worth a lot these days…”
Polyakov Recommends: Vladimir Lichutin, Yury Kozlov, Alexander Prokhanov, Vera Galaktionova, Viktor Pelevin (Homo Zapiens, Buddha’s Little Finger, and The Sacred Book of the Werewolf), and Alexander Terekhov (The Stone Bridge).
Creative Commons photo credit: Dmitry Rozhkov