A premonition of war or a time of agonizing choice
MOSCOW. AST Publishers issued a new book by Dmitry Bykov «June.»
An epigraph to Dmitry Bykov’s new book could be Gorky’s words about the impossibility of understanding the meaning of the present without knowledge of the past. Heroes of «June» - come from the troubled years that preceded the greatest catastrophe of the 20th century. But readers of the day of their current thought and anxiety are understandable and frighteningly close. To a greater extent than we would like.
The parallels arising from the evaluation of two epochs that were separated in time were discussed in Bykov’s interview with the BBC Russian Service columnist in 2015. About the need, resorting in part to the language of Aesop, to recall the tragic lessons of history, its cyclical nature. About the atmosphere in which military rhetoric proves to be more attractive than a natural desire for a dignified life.
To select the first option all conditions are created, it is not difficult to choose it. Believe in your own infallibility and the existence of some convincing «but» that takes away freedom and crosses out the biography of other people. Such an approach «was assiduously educated in the last five years - and brought up».
The second option requires considerable courage and many years of incredible creative efforts. Practically «Sisyphean labor». Without guarantees and hope to take advantage of its fruits. Bykov considers literature a panacea that allows suffering to survive only in theory, to heal from the justification and deification of war. The only, in his opinion, available at the moment, capable of resisting ignorance and obscurantism is enlightenment - enlightenment.
The heroes of each of the three parts of the novel live in an atmosphere of constantly hanging war. She is frightened, she is given plays and songs, «this whole» Great Day «. Some, as a student of IFLI Misha (his prototype was the poet David Samoilov), to whom the first part is devoted, try to talk about this subject with irony. Or be silent at all, remembering the materiality of the uttered thoughts, capable of approaching the bottomless zero.
For others, this time is dramatically doubly. The soul crisis of the hero of the second part - the journalist Boris Gordon - is due both to the sense of impending catastrophe, and the collapse of hopes in the repressed and slandered repressions and denunciations of the country, the painful collisions in his personal life. The image of his beloved is inspired in many ways by the tragic story of Ariadne Efron.
In the writer Krastyshevsky, who dreams of averting war and compiling coded reports for Stalin, the discerning reader will recognize the writer, playwright, philosopher Sigismund Krzhizhanovsky. He is called a «forgotten genius,» whose works were almost never printed during his lifetime.
The novel «June» is also about a great generation, which included Samoilov, Narovchatov, Kogan, Trifonov, and Okudzhava. Generation, «high iron» and revived the country in peacetime.
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