Viktor Erofeev: “I consider myself a disciple of the Marquis de Sade”

Viktor Erofeev is one of the most famous writers of the country. It seems he is now going through its second youth.

Or the third… “Married, divorced, happy” is not only about Putin, but about him, Yerofeyev. However, about the personal life of a word, let it die. Rather, we love him not only for that. Damn I dogadan him to be born in Russia with soul and talent. No, he is not Pushkin, of course, and not even Venichka Erofeev. He Erofeev, but different, very different. He has just turned 70 years old.


photo: Evgeny Semenov

“I’m sorry for your husband. He died”

— Please name in your opinion, the five best modern Russian writers. If you prefer, of course.

— Sasha Sokolov, who is an absolutely wonderful writer. He lives in America, we’ve been friends, and he dedicated one of his poems. Then Sorokin. I think this stylist in the Russian literature could not be found. That is, it is not only a stylist of our time, a man who could be the pride of the Silver age. I think of Lemons, despite the fact that we have completely different views, a wonderful writer, not only a novelist but also a poet. Recently he gave me his book of love poems just a beautiful book. Pelevin, who created his own world, and this world will surely remain forever as a moment in the life of a digital reality. He’s a very gifted man. Maybe I would not advise him to write directly each year for the novel, but there are several novels, which, of course, will remain. It’s four men. But of the women I would call three names, not one. I think Petrushevskaya absolutely wonderful, beautiful. Wonderful Tatyana Tolstaya, at least early stories her masterpiece.

— But that was long ago.

— Not scary. In the end, Benedict Erofeev wrote one great book — and stayed forever. And the third woman is Lucy Ulitskaya. It is more who is hearing about their civil position, but I know as a writer. I think she also made a contribution. The pair of us occupied the first two positions about the translation into different languages, and I am pleased that we stand together, because she has one type of literature, and I have a completely different. You know, I’m not hard to call these people. I have made a book of my favorite writers and philosophers, it was called “In the labyrinth of accursed questions”. This was my first book, it was published in the Soviet Union. Already there was Brodsky, and people, has just appeared on the surface of our contemporary life, and the philosophers of the French and Russian. On the contrary, I believe that if you’re a writer, dedicate your time to those people who are around you write. Another thing is that there is a huge sea of people who consider themselves “writers” but they are actually “writing”. The writer who created his own world, which is not messed up. The people I called our contemporaries, they created the world. And writers are those who believe that the plot, the composition is born as a chess problem to be solved. Sometimes they have pretty well, but this is a different type of writing. Marina Tsvetaeva gave a brilliant definition of this. She said, “the Poet far gets it”. That is, when you’re a real poet, you push it and it leads somewhere, and when you’re a fake, you this speech. Therefore, a big mistake Bulgakov, unfortunately, the title “Master and Margarita”. If he’s a real writer, then he is not the master, he is rather the servant of the word, that is, he is the word. And the master of words is writing.

— Brodsky used to say the same thing.

— Here you see! But it is not only my observation and not Brodsky. I’ve recently read Socrates, he says the same thing: “the poet and the philosopher is not the one who speaks and the one who say.” It’s not even mysticism, it’s just a mystery.

— You mentioned Venechkom Erofeeva, more living. You are a wonderful writer, but how many have or will write, for many people will always remain Yerofeyev-2. Or do you have it has long been indifferent?

— You know, my novel “the Good Stalin” was translated into 47 languages, and I don’t think that these people in other countries know a lot of the Venechkom. A Russian reader… I once wrote a great essay “against Erofeev Erofeev”, told how we confuse how we met, how I adored and adore. It to me first suspicious, and then when he died, I read in his diaries that he quite seriously analyzed my first stories. It struck me. Once Galya, his wife, told my first wife, the Polish girl: “he can not live. But what I’m saying, because you too live with Yerofeyev!” That is, it is believed that all Yerofeyev tarred with the same brush.

Venya I once greatly stimulated, as well as the story of the “Metropol”. After “metropolis” when my father was out of work, I had to mobilize and to be a good writer. Well, the Venechkom I just adored. One of the first in the 69th year read “Moscow — Petushki”. And then, after reading, I realized that if you become a writer, in any case, you need to be no worse than him. We are very different. He showed that a drunk person sober sober in the Soviet Union. I now think that philosophy is destructive, because it is whining, drunk, and shit — she, unfortunately, Russia just pulled up.

But he never wrote it.

— Yes, not directly, but we read that it is better to do nothing. There is such idea — to give up, it turns out Russian Zen Buddhism vodka. I must say that purely ideologically, I had been to it lost interest, but he’s a great writer in this book. And then he had some kind of disaster, his divine antenna broke, and nothing more happened. Diaries it seemed to me not particularly interesting, but it was suffering from and bright. No wonder he accepted Catholicism in an Orthodox country. There was always something calling… We met him in the Elevator. We drove to his statement, I did not know him. He read “Walpurgis night”. It was somewhere on the River station, in the winter. I entered the Elevator, someone shouted: “Wait!”. He entered the Elevator, we climbed. He was so handsome, tall, hat askew, gray. Suddenly it’s in the middle of our trip on the Elevator I said, “would You even changed the name”. What I told him: “Later, Venya, later.” I already wrote about the Marquis de Sade and in General is somehow just somehow saw my life.

Then we did an evening “2 Erofeyev 2” on Krasnaya Presnya. Recently in Paris I met a Russian writer, she remembers the evening: “He was an idol, have you read “Life with the idiot”, turned out to be a good thing.” And in the evening at Krasnaya Presnya Venechka did not read it the patient was, for him, the actors read. And then we walked with him down the corridor, came up to us, the photographer, said, “I Want you to remove the”; looked at me and said, “well you stand aside”…

Unfortunately, it was all in the sunset of his life, he died in 90-m to year. Some of his admirers called to our apartment, and we were with her son in Germany, just rattled, “Russian beauty”. And that’s when Venechka died that night in our apartment the phone rang. Wieslaw, my then wife, got on the phone, she said, “That’s the apartment first?” “Yes.” “I’m sorry for your husband. He died.” And she fainted. Still she has a broken eyebrow.


photo: Natalia Muslinkina
With her daughter Maya.

“Dovlatov’s not a graphomaniac!”

— I would like to ask you about another writer, who also died in 90-m, — Sergei Dovlatov. Recently, Dmitry Bykov wrote that Dovlatov is not a writer and something of a graphomaniac. This aroused the anger of many fans Dovlatov, including me. So what the writer Dovlatov?

— I’m anti-Bulls. These judgments are so aggressive that even I am surprised. Why Dovlatov graphomaniac? Can it be better, worse… this since we were friends. It so happened that I opened it for the Soviet reader, making him a great interview in new York for “a Light.” And became friends immediately. He was very charismatic, and compared to other emigrant intelligentsia, very advanced, with a sense of humor. His stories about everyday life that time is written in a poor but, in my opinion, correctly found the language with the correct overtones of humour and irony. He’s helped so many of his prose. He was definitely not a scribbler.

I, unfortunately, because he was proud and independent, became an unwitting accessory to his death. New York was the night of my stories, and Serezha told me that he loved my essays more than the stories. There was a huge amount of people, and then me, the host said, “Let them lead the evening Dovlatov”. I said that perhaps do not, because Dovlatov my stories don’t love. The evening went well, then we went to a Chinese restaurant, as it should be in new York. After I went to bed early in the morning I got a call from “voice of America” and proposed to say something about Dovlatov. I asked him why. “He died last night” — I replied. And I thought, what if he was on my evening, maybe even some time would have lived.

— No, Victor, don’t beat yourself up, Dovlatov’s happened before. He couldn’t possibly come this evening to you.

Well, maybe I still think about it. Can’t say that Dovlatov me so much influence, I just would have allocated to another clearing. You know, I read the book “Farewell” Olesha, and suddenly realized what he had this wonderful thought. And if not read, you would know only “No day without a line” which was Shklovsky, and “Envy”. Thought: well, nothing, good, in General, was a writer. And in “Farewell” such thoughts are wonderful! There he says that the Soviet people — flawed people, because he has no property, and people without property infantile. And he writes about it…

— In Russia very few writers who live by what they write, at the expense of literature. Do you treat them?

Is only half, after all the farm is large. I do not teach, but rather get a lot of orders for articles, essays, and I have a lot of performances in different countries. But there are generous fees countries, like Germany for example. And there are countries where a single article will get more than two books.

“Andropov said, “no,” and Brezhnev with “Yes”

— In the journal “Metropol” you were one of the youngest authors. When the magazine covered how people behaved there published? Was broken, cooperating with the authorities?

— “Metropol” I invented it, I was 30 years old. I was such a theorist to this idea. Then seduced Aksenov, and he became a practitioner. That is, we worked for a couple, the rest were taken later. Then I spoke with the Bit in Peredelkino, Popov, and we became four. The following appeared Iskander, talked to Feldman. I was hoping that my friends will have to be Socialiste. This calculation was incorrect because the government gave a monopoly on the word but some time we held on. The best thing about this said, our most senior colleague Semyon Izrailevich Lipkin. He said “metropolicy” as the Kronstadt uprising were the ones who did not pass anyone and do not give up.

Yes, there were people who wanted, but did not go in “Metropol”. But it was voluntary, so it is impossible to condemn anyone. Trifonov said: “I struggle with this power in its own way”. Of course Trifonov, it would be harder. Would Okudzhava, it would be harder. Okudzhava said, “I’m the only party member among you, I will get”.

But it was a big phenomenon of great literature. There the first time printed Vysotsky. With him was kind of a mystery. He wrote a song about “Metropol”, sang it to us, and then she disappeared and nobody knows where she is.

There were moments, involving the betrayal, but we then had disagreements with Aksenov. I thought we could still hold out, and Aksyonov is no. Then we Popov was expelled from the writers ‘ Union, Feldman left, and it was clear that in this story he has got some political dividends. And as my dad drove (he was the Soviet Ambassador in Vienna), I have to go nowhere. Through much time a very informed and very senior people have said that I want to turn on the system Solzhenitsyn: to put on one night, and then give the passport to the teeth and send out of the country on all four sides. The Politburo considered my question — to expel or not to expel. Andropov said, “Yes,” Gromyko said Yes, and Brezhnev said no, because my father had already suffered and he apparently didn’t want to send me abroad. And I remained.

…And Aksyonov we do not quarrel, but rather communicated until his death, until he fell into a coma. We even wanted to make a second “Metropol”. But that was utopia.

— Victor, you are considered the main specialist in Russia by the Marquis de Sade, the main “sadist” in a good way. You know, I read “Philosophy in the boudoir”. Well written, but to me it was scary. There whole point is that in search of new pleasures, especially sexual, man is ready to commit any crime. Horrified, I closed this book, I just was scared of her. Or rather, was afraid of himself.

Just the Marquis de Sade wrote about that in human nature, in contrast to that, thought Rousseau, Walter and other educators, there are black sides, which give people disgusting ability to be a traitor. I consider myself to be really a disciple of the Marquis de Sade and absolutely not shy. He taught me what I could not teach a common philosophy that is practiced one hundred percent of Russian writers. The main slogan of Russian classical literature have become the slogan of Bazarov. Bazarov said: “good Man, bad circumstances”. Thus Russian literature acquired incredibly revolutionary, because if a good man, and lives in bad circumstances, change the circumstances. It is a trouble of the Russian culture. Marquis came to the conclusion that the person is not so good to change the circumstances, it often happens that he wants to protect yourself by a fence of impunity and make it everything you want. Man receives pleasure from humiliation, insults, and even the little head can offend, insult and wipe on all legs. In this sense, the Marquis was the great philosopher of the twentieth century, predicted wars, fascism, and Stalinism. When I read it, I was 20 years old. For me it was just a revelation, de Garden plowed my entire life. So don’t delay, the next time the Marquis de Sade.

“And then there were pure camp”

— Now talking about the atmosphere of hate. Who created this atmosphere, the power, the propagandists, the liberals on Facebook?

— It all depends on who started it. Start the fight the power fight it has become with the world. We have no friends around the borders, and even Belarus departs. The government has done everything to break all relationships, and I think in that sense it is absolutely incompetent. But the authorities also have domestic allies, which are sometimes even more radical and take up the knife, the gun… They too are part of the government, although the government rejects them. So the liberals have nothing to do with it.

— You participated in the program “the Last hero”. There had from the boat to jump into the ocean, but you along with Dzhigurda refused and left the project. You then accused of cowardice, remember?

— There are so disgracefully treated us to the participants. There were a few celebrities, and I Morrice included in this list. And then began a clean camp, and we rebelled. We arrived in Panama, and before the game the participants were treated as…have. I endured it and said, “Guys, if you are going to continue to be, I am with you to play in any game will not”. The chair also supported me. And on the eve of this story, the organizers of the fascist searched all of us behave simply monstrously. When we the next day still agreed to participate, the torrential rain has gone. I said, “Give the guys some tarpaulin, the rain comes, have closed, and they’re all wet.” I replied that it was not included in the rules of the game, then we Morrice and refused. Boarded the ship and sailed with Nikita to the island, stayed there at the hotel. We came to the crew, offered big money to return, we sent them. I then wrote an article in the magazine called “the Last Nazi”. We give them only the rating was made due to the fact that he refused.

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