Living classic. Julian Barnes novels, social networks, football and sausage

Живой классик. Джулиан Барнс о романах, соцсетях, футболе и колбасе

Anna Mikhailova, especially for MIA “Russia today”

The queue at the entrance, closet and stands with books — the excitement at the exhibition of intellectual literature Non/fiction at the Central house of artists is comparable with the queues this year at the exhibition of Aivazovsky and Serov in the Tretyakov gallery in the neighborhood. Not the last role in this played the hype has invited writers, including the authors truly global scale.

I wanted to do in English satirist Jonathan CoE, and his countryman Sebastian Faulks, the author of one of the books about James bond and 12 very worthy novels. And be sure to listen to Welsh screenwriter Andrew Davies, known to the Russian audience for the TV series “house of cards” and “War and peace”.

70-year-old Oxford graduate Barnes, even as a world star, remained very closed. Interview does not give, to be photographed and to appear not like the autograph session with readers holds the rare and strictly limited in time.

Perhaps that is why registration on a meeting with Barnes in the Central house of artists concert hall for 600 seats closed in a matter of days. Before the advent of the Barnes people trapped inside, again reported that shoot and record on the recorder, do not sign more than one book and do a selfie with the author is also not recommended.

First hand Barnes hit Tchaikovsky, and a year later he purchased Shostakovich Symphony N5. This music, in recognition of the writer, stayed with him for life. While Shostakovich for a long time was not interested in him as a person, Barnes knew almost nothing about his biography. But everything changed in 1979, with the release of the controversial book of Solomon Volkov’s “Testimony.”

Barnes was shocked by the confrontation of the composer with the government, since it became interested in not only the music of Shostakovich, but also the difficult circumstances of his life. Interestingly, in the book Barnes uses many details of Soviet life. For example, what insults shouted each other players of the Soviet and Yugoslav national team during a football match. Or such unusual expressions as “the best poultry sausage”. On the question of where English classic draws on this knowledge, he remembered his trip to the Soviet Union in 1965:

“Part of the art of the novelist is to know a little, but to hint that they know a lot. I was in the Soviet Union 51 years ago and studied Russian. I do a lot of reading, but mostly it’s a matter of choice of parts. If you choose the correct item, it resonates and creates the feeling of time.”

After reading a few excerpts from the novel and asked the audience, as the music is Vladimir Putin, Barnes talked about their favorite Russian authors.

“I went to the Tretyakov gallery and saw many portraits of writers — Pushkin, Lermontov, Tolstoy, Turgenev, Dostoevsky…I felt as if I was found with my parents or old friends.”

This writer complained that can not read in Russian, but the school has prevailed, “Asya” by Turgenev and “Childhood” Tolstoy, with whom, however, had problems. And, of course, Chekhov’s plays, which Barnes put on a par with the works celebrated this year’s 400th anniversary of the chief English “bard”.

“Chekhov for the British — the greatest playwright in the world, along with Shakespeare, of course. I was recently at the National theatre of London, they put “Ivanov,” “Platonov” and “Seagull”. Pieces walked the whole day, one after another. Even the early Chekhov is amazing. I believe that “Platonov” is a great play. But if I had to pick just one song to a desert island, I’d take “Uncle Vanya”. It is perhaps even a greater thing than all of Shakespeare’s plays. Only London did not say.”

Живой классик. Джулиан Барнс о романах, соцсетях, футболе и колбасе
Visitors at the international fair of intellectual literature non/fictio№18 in the Central House of artists on Krymsky Val in Moscow

Barnes added that there is a spiritual parallel between the Russians and the British. The inhabitants of Albion, according to the writer, like the melancholy seriousness of Russian literature.

Told Barnes that excites today, and writers, and publishers, and devoted readers alive today serious literature, can we really say the death of a classic novel? “We’ve been through” — soothes Barnes. Perhaps the best proof of his words — the queue for the exhibition and the visitors, leaving with bags full of books.