Ludmila Petrushevskaya: “I was in the hospital with the dying and wrote the beloved”

What a miracle! The world-famous writer. She said before the meeting: “I will be late. I’m always late”. Okay, she really was late for 40 minutes, a little bit. Of course, a hat, and otherwise. “You are a strange woman?” I asked the first question, trying to loosen her up.

“No answer, she said. — After all, you’re talking to a writer.” I took a break. “But tell me about yourself” — again she said. I said, but in the mind was very close to failure, almost like Stirlitz. They even wanted to go.

She fall in love with that strange woman. A beautiful, brilliant woman. God, how she writes! Sings, dances, paints… Petrushevskaya, you are my ideal!

Photo: press service writer

“Get me that woman!”

— Are you a lonely man?

— No. I have three children, five grandchildren and three great-grandchildren, I only have time to see that one, then the other. And I also work for charity and really help people. There is no loneliness. Before, of course, beside me was a huge number of friends. Not only friends, but also like-minded people. Directors, actors, playwrights. Here I participated in arbuzovskaya the Studio, we read to each other and discussed their compositions for theatre, and this is the most important thing in my life then. I wrote plays that never were, and the Studio and Director, Aleksei Arbuzov, supported me. But as I lived? The house was poverty.

You say “lonely”? And what is the mother in the family? Three boys. Breakfast, lunch, dinner, school, school, music school, and even Fedya, my average, which is eight years, one walked, and walked, and at the age of 12 was already working in television, “16 and older” was the name of the editor. And had to teach in the school, and doing homework… And he is older, he worked 16 years as an orderly in the intensive care unit, wanted to become a doctor, graduated from medical school (and still to it all turn for advice). And now he is Deputy chief editor of the newspaper “Vedomosti” — Cyril Kharatyan. He’s got four kids… So can you ask me am I alone?..

— So now you remember how fun and interesting?

— Yes, because I accidentally after University I got a job at radio Moscow — I went to the virgin lands with the student construction detachment of Moscow state University (in Moscow after graduation, I will not get to work, and I decided to go with a group in Kazakhstan, and then travel further, to explore the lives of people). But I commissioners of construction were called in the district to make a newspaper about our group, and then a local journalist was invited on radio in the city of Pavlodar. Asked questions, I talked about the life of students in these vast steppes and sang songs with his guitar. And in the next Studio sat and listened to me correspondents from Moscow. And one of them said: “And you like us. If you were a Muscovite, I would take you to work.” Of course, I replied, “I’m a Muscovite!” and a month later conducted a report on the radio in Moscow… And at the same time I enrolled in a student variety show theatre of Moscow state University “Our house”… Mainly it was the doctor Alik Axelrod, who later founded the WHC. All the Directors were from the same school with me, of the 170, only they were older. But Axelrod founded the University and was its first master. I played at his theatre, while he wrote his notes for the radio during the break I rushed to the phone, gave the stenographer a text. The scene is a fascinating thing! When I was kicked out of the theater, I dreamed that I go on stage. Because I took the room, left in your two minutes and took a room. But me in the theater did not like, and rightly so.

— Who?

Manual. I was late all the time, not there and not coming out, not that. At first I had four rolki, then left alone. It was a woman that servile attitude to the authorities, all the time looked so…

— A woman is…

Is my role. And I was pohihikivali Director. So once I sorted that I started hysterically, fawning laughing, squealing, and the whole room is also hysterically began to laugh. I then said that Oleg Yefremov, who was sitting in the hall, I could not stop laughing. And then he says: “Remove from me this woman.” And when I went down to the first floor to the phone to transfer the next informashka to me someone ran up and said, “Come on, you Raikin looking for!”. I got up.

— That is, it was your bill, you noticed?

— Yes, if Raikin’t left, I’d be an artist in retirement.

— Well, you in life, probably, the actress always?

— Well, where? I’m a serious person. And then not before was: I gave birth to a son, and a year later crashed in the expedition husband. Began a hard time.

— And then you went to “Horizon”?

— Yes, it was the elite all-Union radio. Yuri Vizbor some time was there in my heads.

photo: Gennady Cherkasov
She draws!

“A son we’ll call Stalin”

And give you started…

There, in the “Horizon”.

— Went on a magazine editorial…

— Didn’t go anywhere. My first story was written in quite a Mature age, at 29 years old, and it was almost a document. My girlfriend, the operator Zina, told me her life… she at this point was in a state of decay, the husband she went to a neighbor. So I knocked this whole story is that I of the sick Son in bed, and went to write the province. I remembered very much of what others told me, and of course along the way I added in painful detail how the two women want to throw out the window. One — because it’s all the end of life, and the second is her friend who says, “I want with you together”. It begins to push back, climbs out the window in a suicide occurs. I invented it, Zina itself this would not be allowed because she has a young child. In General, I wrote this story while a sick day he slept for two days. And the story went for a walk around Moscow, it was reprinted in samizdat. “Such a girl” published just 20 years later, in 88-m, in “Ogonyok”.

— I think this will not give anything?

— No, I wore the stories in the “New world”, they began to support me. Even published in the December issue, yet Tvardovsky, the chief editor, was on a business trip. But he came back and my stories removed from the room. And he called me three hours to talk to me. Said he would have been nothing to protect me. Then I took all my typed stories, and my godmother in the literature, Inna Borisova, once I comfort said, “Lyusenka, you have no idea what good company you’re lying in my closet…” many years have Passed, and here again the assistant chief Director of the theater of the Moscow art theatre, Oleg Efremov, Mikhail Goryunov, who was looking for a new author to write a play for the Moscow art Theater, came to the “New world” and Borisov gave him a folder of my stories. In the January evening the phone rang: “Hello, talking to you from the Moscow art theatre. Could you write us a play?” I said, “Is that a theatrical novel starts?” That same night I wrote my first play. Many years later, I published a series of memoirs titled “My theatrical novel”. About Mikhail Anatolyevich Gorunova and Oleg Nikolaevich Efremov.

Actually I was not published until the perestroika. And performances were banned.

— Why were you banned, what do you think? You’re not a dissident.

— You know, I wrote about the misfortune, and Soviet literature and the theatre had to say about happiness. For example, Pavlenko was the story “Happiness”, which ended quite interesting: the hero put his bride in a boat, he, too, lay down, and she whispered: “son, let’s call Stalin”.

And, of course, he was given the Stalin prize… But you began to write already under Brezhnev. Then came the movies hutsieva, albeit chopped, Herman, Balayan, even “Scarecrow” allowed, and you are all banned. That is was so out of socialist realism?

— So my question is: what in my stories and plays is it? Alex Herman, a brilliant, with its problems, with some incredible events, completely opposite to socialist realism, allowed…

Well, he is also on the shelf were a number of times.

— I he came after the premiere of “Lapshin” in the arts and say: “Hey, how did you do that?”. “How I managed to make this movie?” — he asked. — “No, to qualify as a success?” He said to me: “everywhere yell, scream, they don’t like”.

— And you can’t scream?

— I have nowhere to shout, I’m in the festivals was not involved. Was afraid of me, just don’t know why, I was followed openly, listened to the phone. Once, at half past twelve, in the conversation I asked, “what time is it?” And suddenly the phone a mechanical voice: “Zero hours thirty-five minutes”… I’m no subversive, revolutionary beginning is not represented. But you know, apparently, the country had to have the art of praising the party as the main engine of progress. Here’s the films of Leni Riefenstahl, a favorite of registers of Goebbels and Hitler, would be in the Kremlin. The triumph of the will of the party…

— But at the same time allowed the Taganka Theatre, and even earlier “Contemporary”…

— And that there was nothing that was overthrown? Nothing. “The good person of Szechwan” — what’s so revolutionary? All the misery there was a Chinese, and my unhappiness was with a Russian man, with a woman. My first book came out my 50 years, and then only after I wrote a letter to Gorbachev. I spent 20 years almost three months in a terrible hospital among paralyzed. I screwed up the diagnosis — multiple sclerosis is a deadly disease. I lay in neurology with dying people, motionless, and my neighbor told me his life. Every day I wrote from the hospital letters to his beloved and then probably became a writer. I realized that the world is full of pain, in 20 years, when she was close to it. So nothing else I could not write, I wrote only about the poor, the sick, the abandoned, the hungry, and every story was a document. But I tried to hide the ends that my characters never know. Once I wrote a story about his girlfriend Nina. She called me: “Lyuska, it’s Hemingway!”. She didn’t recognize. These stories were made and circulated in samizdat. The timing was terrible: I left work to be with child, he was ill with asthma; Eugene, husband, died, my mother went crazy, and I don’t have any means of livelihood. I could not earn anything, except translation, translated from Polish. I worked like an ox. We lived on 40 cents a day with Kirill — 37 cents steak, rest of potatoes, black bread with vegetable oil. What is the gloom? The struggle for existence. At this time, oddly enough, I have so many people backing us.

With Yuri Norstein.

“And I have puski was a completely Russian”

— And in a clandestine magazine “Metropol” have you participated in?

— No, I did not, although I did not know that it was a provocation of the authorities. In one fell swoop was derived from the literature of three years, several dozens of gifted writers. Gorenstein emigrated. The initiator of all of this case, Feldman went to the United States with a halo banned in the USSR of the writer. At first I gave this anthology of his texts, but then I had Akhmatova, who said that it is not necessary. Then Akhmatova I had one. I even painted her portrait on a plate for some reason, I had her books. We had the same address her in Leningrad was: Lenina street 34, apartment 23, and I have in Moscow: the Lenin prospectus, the house 34, apartment 23. Such mysticism.

— And you weren’t familiar with?

— No, never, I was not even thinking about it. Where am I and where she is. The Muse of the Silver age.

— Yes you do like from the Silver age.

— When I go on stage in that huge hat that I made myself, on heels, in a kind of velvet dress on and sing… Then Yes. For example, I have a song in 1912. But the literature of the Silver age, not my books, no way.

Someone called you by Dostoevsky in the skirt.

— I’ve been called a lot of things in a skirt and Zoshchenko in a skirt… once I taught in America, I was invited to “Mary Smith College.” And poster: portrait of Chekhov, underneath my name. I said, “Why?” — “We have not had your pictures, but you also write prose and plays”. That is, I had a beard.

— Well, Yes, the person should be beautiful: face and clothes…

— And a beard. But in spite of external circumstances, poverty, prohibition, I still worked. Hope not, but I thought, ever… Even in a hundred years, but published. Look here: now people can read what I wrote 50 years ago.

— A fairy tale? You wrote them because he told them to their children?

Just every night I put them to sleep. And I have a difference between children is very large, between the older and younger 18 years. That’s why I wrote tales for 36 years… And when I read other people’s stories, books, already read by me, then fall asleep before the children. Then I began to ask their kids: give theme. And they gave me a word: the white wall, alarm clock, pillow… And I was improvising. They only demanded that was a good ending and nothing to worry about in the middle, so it was a fun tale. And in the end I went right for the series, told them every night. It was a crowd of animals: Cheetah Kirill, antelope Masha, Lena a pony and this was a flea Lusha, who went on the dog Goulash, it was her transport. Yes, and the crocodile uncle nick, he had 12 daughters with the letter “A”: Aglaida, Atharveda…

And by the way, you wrote the script for Norstein “Hedgehog in the fog”. Hedgehog — it’s not you? So similar…

— It was an accident. Jura itself I sin, if I tell everyone that similar. Fuck I need it?! Thank Urchin! Actually I called and said: “Luce, we’ve got a Hedgehog like you. How you look at it?” — “Take my profile for Herons, take it and to a Hedgehog”, I replied. Here the Heron is me. Her hat is. And I have the movie “the Heron and the crane” seems to be a lot more fun with this hedgehog in the fog. And then Norstein gave an interview and have long argued that they didn’t use my nose for a Hedgehog and what I came up with. And all of this should, if I wriggle to glory Hedgehog. After that, I’m with them, hedgehogs do not communicate. Tell me, I need it?

— And you’re still singing! For a long time?

— I started singing at the age of seven, in the city of Kuibyshev barefoot in the yard and sang for a piece of bread. We were starving in evacuation. Lived in lice and bedbugs, without electricity. Only when I got kerosene in long queues, then cooked on a kerosene stove soup of waste from a neighbor’s garbage can. We were with my grandmother and aunt CSVN — family members of enemies of the people… my grandmother was with him from Moscow only a few books, one of them is the complete collection of Mayakovsky in a single volume. Because Mayakovsky cared for my grandmother and wanted her to marry him. Called her “the blue Duchess”. But who was then Mayakovsky? A giant with bad teeth and kicker. And my grandfather was already a young Professor and played the violin. He was a nobleman from the kind of Andrijevychi Decembrists southern society. And when, after the twentieth Congress of the grandma’s sister came back from the camps, she said to the grandmother: “I did Not want for the poet, and married a Professor, and that’s got”. In the orphanage, I sang at the new year party in the image of a Gypsy with glass Christmas beads on the neck… and at the Moscow school sang in our choir class. And even sang in the famous choir Loktev.

— You’re tap dancing to the beat?

— Yes, eight years ago decided to learn to tap dance. And learned! Came, and there all young, I’m the only one among them an old woman. But nothing, dance. You know, tap, tap help from spasms. That’s when you are in rage knock my head against the wall or slam his fist on the table — this is a hydraulic shock in the liquid, it prevents the spasm, allow the blood to move; and then recaptured step — and everything is in order. But now I’m on the Internet do, and in order not to disturb the neighbors, steles on the floor cushions, they Board and heard footsteps in the pleasure. In General, song and dance is happiness… I have come now two exhibitions, my paintings, portraits. One of them is called “It’s just Petrosaudi!”, this is absurd. And another — “Persective”, this is my apartment and my story. There all mine from the last century: a table, a chair, a piano and a typewriter “Hummingbird”…

— I told you strange! And it’s great actually, because all our life is full of absurdity.

I have a whole series of fairy tales to a non-existent Russian language is, it is “Puski Batya”: “Zapala Kalush on napuska and upazila Bulavko. And wills: “Causata, colostomi, Bulavka!” Calulate prisyapali and Bulavko was stramboli. And podudonilis…” That are in school, in third grade, I think.

Class! Lyudmila stefanovna, you really a hedgehog. And by the way, puski to the “pussy Riot” have an attitude?

— No, it was too late. Besides Rio — English word, and I have puski was absolutely Russian. Because squishy is the Hebrew name of the nice man. Musi-pusi — remember?

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