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Thread: Tatyana Tolstaya

  1. #1

    Russia Tatyana Tolstaya




    From Wikipedia:

    Tatyana Tolstaya (also spelled Tatiana Tolstaya, in Russian: Татья́на Ники́тична Толста́я; born 3 May 1951 in Leningrad) is a Russian writer, TV host, publicist, novelist, and essayist.

    She was born into a family of rich literary tradition. Her paternal grandfather was Aleksei Nikolaevich Tolstoi, an important Russian-Soviet writer known as 'the Red Count', author of Peter I (Пётр Первый) and other novels. His wife Natalia Krandievskaya Tolstaya was an influential poet. The grandfather on the maternal side was a literary translator, Mikhail Lozinsky. Tatyana Tolstaya's sister Natalia Tolstaya is a writer as well. Her son, Artemy Lebedev, is the founder and owner of Art. Lebedev Studio, the first and best-known[1][2] Web design studio in Russia.

    Tolstaya received her education at the department of classical philology of the Leningrad State University. She moved to Moscow in the early 1980s and started working in the Nauka publishing house. Her first short story, "On a Golden Porch" (На златом крыльце сидели), appeared in Avrora magazine in 1983 and marked the start of Tolstaya's literary career.
    Tolstaya's novel The Slynx/Kys (Кысь, 2000) is a dystopian novel filled with literary allusions. Several collections of short stories by Tatyana Tolstaya are popular all over Russia, and she is regarded by many as one of the foremost writers of today.
    Tatyana Tolstaya is the co-host of a very successful Russian TV show The School for Scandal (Школа злословия), where she interviews representatives of Russian culture and politics. Her yearly schedule is divided between the US, where she spends half of the year lecturing at a university, and Russia

    Last week I finished reading two collections of short stories by Tolstaya: Day (День) and Night (Ночь).
    And first of all, I have to say that they are as different as their titles. The first collection is about life in general, Russian events of the 1990s, in some sort, autobiographical. It is written with an irony and even a sarcasm with the bloom of the light philosophy.

    Night is more lirical, maybe, monotonous and minor but with the abundance of the interesting literary expressions.
    Last edited by learna; 01-Apr-2010 at 18:16.

  2. #2
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    Default Re: Tatyana Tolstaya

    I liked The Slynx. I see you are reading Bulgakov - I recently read White Guard, whichI found interesting for the history and moving but a bit depressing. The Master and Margarita is one of my favourite novels. I will, eventually, read Heart of a Dog.

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    United States Re: Tatyana Tolstaya


    I've been wondering about this author ever since I found out one of my favorite bands (Okkervil River) named themselves after one of her short stories. She is, however, a bit difficult to get hands on in Midwest USA, so if I were going to order something of hers any suggestions which should I buy?

  4. #4

    Default Re: Tatyana Tolstaya

    Quote Originally Posted by lenz View Post
    I liked The Slynx. I see you are reading Bulgakov - I recently read White Guard, whichI found interesting for the history and moving but a bit depressing. The Master and Margarita is one of my favourite novels. I will, eventually, read Heart of a Dog.
    I've bought "The Slynx" but it is only in my plans.
    I'm glad that you like Bulgakov. Yes, "The White Guard" is a bit depressing but it shows the rough period of the life of the family and the country as a whole. But on the other hand, in spite of the severities the principal characters save the warmth and don't turn their coats and that appears optimistic.
    Undoubted, "The Master and Margarita" is the world-famous novels by Bulgakov that consist of mysticism, melodrama, satire, etc. The novel's so multivalue that cannot be desribed shortly.
    I hope that you'll enjoy reading "Heart of a Dog". It has an unusual contents and written with well turned phrases. And if you can get a film adaptation by Vladimir Bortko I do recomed to see it.
    Last edited by learna; 31-Jan-2010 at 10:27.

  5. #5

    Default Re: Tatyana Tolstaya

    Quote Originally Posted by JTolle View Post

    I've been wondering about this author ever since I found out one of my favorite bands (Okkervil River) named themselves after one of her short stories. She is, however, a bit difficult to get hands on in Midwest USA, so if I were going to order something of hers any suggestions which should I buy?
    JTolle, "The Slynx" is considered as the most famous book by Tolstaya.
    I like "Day" but I have to say it's quite sharp.
    Last edited by learna; 07-Apr-2010 at 08:29.

  6. #6

    Default Re: Tatyana Tolstaya

    I have just found "Yoric" by Tolstaya.
    I looked through only two difficult moments for translating and unfortunately they do not sound like in the original but I hope that in general it conveys the wonderful Tolstaya's style.

    Personal History: Yorick : The New Yorker

    And if you would like to compare with the original:

    ??????? ??????? ?????

  7. #7

    Default Re: Tatyana Tolstaya

    And "See the Other Side":

    See the Other Side : The New Yorker

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    Russia Re: Tatyana Tolstaya

    Thank-you Learna (learner?) for introducing the rest of us to Tolstaya. I presume her name is stressed as tatt-YARN-a ni-KEE-teech-na tall-STA-ya. Because the stress marks seem to fall on the syllable after the one you mean in your rendering. Anyway, she looks like like the more serious sort of contemporary Russian writing I'm hoping to find, beyond all the gore and alcohol of clich?.

    To avoid problems with the English translation, I will probably read her in Dutch or Swedish. I think I have, somewhere in my as yet undelivered book boxes, a few things by her in translation and even something in the Russian original, so I can do what Learna has done - but at a more primitive level - and check translation against original where there is something incomprehensible or illogical. My Russian is, however, not good enough to cope with register or style.

    I shall go to the public library forthwith and see what I can find.

  9. #9

    Default Re: Tatyana Tolstaya

    Eric, I hope you will feel her style ( she is indeed interesting in originals).

    I presume her name is stressed as tatt-YARN-a ni-KEE-teech-na tall-STA-ya. Because the stress marks seem to fall on the syllable after the one you mean in your rendering.
    In Russian stress marks are used after stressed syllables( in English - before).

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    Default Re: Tatyana Tolstaya

    I've always seen stress marks on the Wikipedia actually over the top of the emphasised letter. Anyway, I'm going to the library now. Two of her books are in the store room, implying they are not read very often. I might even look for something on hermeneutics, Gadamer, etc. Libraries are nice places.

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    Russia Re: Tatyana Tolstaya

    A funny thing happened in the library today. I indeed found the collection of short-stories (and one novel which I didn't borrow) by Tatyana Tolstaya, basically the stories from "Na zolotom kryltse sideli" in Swedish translation by Annika B?ckstr?m, whom I met years ago.

    But then I saw another Tolstaya book and took it off the shelf. When I was checking it out, I noticed that this was indeed a different Tolstaya, Natalya this time, who also appeared to be the granddaughter of Alexei Tolstoy, and also writes short-stories.

    How confusing, I thought. Just out of curiosity, I started reading a story by Natalya instead of Tatyana. It is quite straightforward in style, but very readable. Later on I will indeed tackle the Okkervil story by the lady I now know to be her sister.

    As we say in English: it never rains but it pours.

  12. #12

    Default Re: Tatyana Tolstaya

    Nice story.

    I have read some works by Alexei Nikolaevich Tolstoy, Natalia Tolstaya (a little) and Tatyana Tolstaya and, of course, they are all different. As you say, Natalia is "straightforward in style" and not so perfect and famous as her sister but I like when she ( or they) writes about their family.
    Last edited by learna; 17-Apr-2010 at 14:22.

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    Default Re: Tatyana Tolstaya


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    Default Re: Tatyana Tolstaya

    Yes, Learna, that was a nice interview, albeit a little short.

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    Default Re: Tatyana Tolstaya

    Aetherial Worlds: a new (?) collection of stories translated into English.

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