Journalist And Essayist Evgenia Pishchikova About Her Favorite Books

A life 2023

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Journalist And Essayist Evgenia Pishchikova About Her Favorite Books
Journalist And Essayist Evgenia Pishchikova About Her Favorite Books

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Video: Your Answer Can't Be Books -Tag 2023, January

IN THE HEADING "BOOKSHELF" we ask the heroines about their literary preferences and publications, which occupy an important place in the bookcase. Today, the essayist, writer and journalist Evgenia Pishchikova tells about her favorite books.

INTERVIEW: Alisa Taezhnaya

PHOTOS: Katya Starostina

MAKEUP: Anastasia Pryadkova


Evgeniya Pishchikova

essayist, writer and journalist

Reading was a kind of salvation

from the influx of an alien element, which can overwhelm and demolish both dad and mom, and the whole blessed world


My reading circle in childhood and adolescence was determined - like many and many - by the home library collected by my parents, and the cult of the book, already mentioned and described in this section, which was characteristic of the scientific and technical intelligentsia in the 60s and 70s. This cult was especially clearly and visibly manifested among the provincial commoners: the bookcase was a kind of dam, a great wall opposing the ordinary apartment "wall" - a symbol and sign of discrimination. The child, a book neophyte, grew up near the wall and, encouraged by his parents, felt like a Dutch boy who once plugged a barely noticeable - for now - hole in the dam with a plump finger. And the little hero sat all night, kept a possible breakthrough, until the adults ran up; saved his city from flooding. This is how we felt ourselves: reading (saving the wall) was a kind of salvation from the influx of an alien element, which can cover and tear down both dad and mom, and the whole blessed world. Participation in a timid and little-articulated, but still protest movement extraordinarily enlivens the process itself. In the eighties, we also treated physiological practices: natural young bodily rage was represented as ideological resistance to the customary (at that time, romantic-sanctimonious) state conservatism. Reading felt like a way of separation and was also a personal escapist joy. Gavroche on the barricades, and at the same time in his burrow - a wonderful feeling. Read and read.

Then - teenage adventure romanticism. Everything became blue and green around. Green and pink. So they stood on the shelves - light green Fenimore Cooper, pink Walter Scott. Captain Blood by Sabatini is a special experience. A little later, the actor Mikhail Boyarsky became especially popular; workshop workers, then cooperators - also a romantic tribe - began to produce the first plastic bags with images of popular characters, and the actor from each bag looked at the new world with the bright blue eyes of a polar husky. And I could not banish from my imagination this decorative look, which so coincides with the romantic ending of Captain Blood's Odyssey: “His helmet was knocked to one side, the blood from the wound turned his black tortured face into some kind of terrible mask. Through this terrible mask blue eyes shone unnaturally brightly, and tears rolled down the cheeks, washing away the blood, dirt and powder soot”.

Falling in love with the very concept of "captain" - a pioneer, wanderer, odysseus, a knight of modern times. Stevenson, Jules Verne, Boussinard - and from his "Captain Rip the Head", where the hero is a young Frenchman, a "young lion", participates in the Boer massacre on the side of the Boers, I immediately rushed to the history of the Boer War and found a new enthusiasm. Galsworthy, Churchill, from there a leap to Chesterton and Kipling - in a word, she switched to literary Anglicanism. The Bronte sisters, Wilkie Collins, the light green had thickened to dark green: in front of me was Dickens's collected works on the shelf. And you will go to the right on the rack - the French of the nineteenth century: Hugo, Stendhal, Balzac, Zola, Flaubert. Not boring. A bit disgusting. You will definitely lose your romantic horse in the end.

The latest splash of adventure fun is a special attitude to the "Headless Horseman", mainly because of personal fearful experiences. For the first time in my life, a book was tied to a movie. Nowadays children in their early years watch Sleepy Hollow and know a lot about the art of being scared. In my childhood, a few children read Irving before Mayne Reed (and were there any?), Burton walked under his Californian table - so the image of the headless horseman was revealed to us in the Soviet cinematic version. And he was very terrible, this rider. Added horror and the mystery of the filming process. As a teenager, I visited the Harvest horse station in Sokolniki Park (by that time the family had moved to Moscow). And between the stalls with the geldings Athos and Budyonny, in the eternal twilight (horses do not like electricity), we heard from cunning peers scary stories about two pioneer cavalrymen who were taken to the shooting of the film, and no one else saw them. They said in a whisper: “They put a poncho on their heads, and they were the headless horseman. And they never got on a horse again! " After a certain number of years, I learned from idle curiosity - was this the case? Indeed, due to the impossibility of using special effects (in the 71st year), director Weinstock took two eight-year-old equestrian athletes to shoot the equestrian scarecrow.

Actually, the structure of reading (or, rather, a retroactively reconstructed reader's biography) - no matter how trivial it may be - vividly expresses the type of the reader himself. Now run from yourself, don't run. Obviously, my youthful interests were concentrated in the field of private history and vulgar sociology. So, in fact, it happened.

Reading felt like a way of separation and at the same time was a personal escapist joy.


Jeffrey Trees

«Violet crown»

The first vivid impression of a child is "The Violet Crown", a historical reconstruction by Geoffrey Trees, an ideal children's reading in its own way. There is a bright stream of patrioly, and the pumping of personal genius, and a sentimental story of the first feeling, and a fabulous-fantasy lyrical ending, and a feeling of new useful knowledge. In a word, everything that an immature, enthusiastic reader might like.

Nikolay Kun

«Legends and myths of Ancient Greece»

The impression of Tris was soon overshadowed by the great Kun with his "Legends and Myths of Ancient Greece", who taught everything at once - the difference between a fairy tale, myth and history. The power of fiction on which the reality of culture is built. The inviolability of the cultural vertical, carrying its system of symbols upward like a rocket through the centuries. And at the same time the fragility, mobility of the usual moral attitudes.

The gods betray, sell, eat children, fornicate and cheat; ancient morality and the idea of ​​fate are strikingly different from the Christian - but nevertheless, before your eyes, a human system of dignity and honor is being built that works. The story of "finding justice" is made, as it were, with divine participation, but also in spite of the divine arrangement. The man resists. This is much of the Renaissance rivalry between man and God that we understand.

John Updike


In my relatively early reading, a strong emotional experience is associated first with Updike's novel The Centaur in an excellent translation by Viktor Aleksandrovich Khinkis. And then in a completely inexplicable, but important for me combination with "Pnin" by Nabokov. I do not compare, I do not deal with dubious parallels - I am only talking about my own emotional delights. Since then, the image of America as a silver mountain has appeared in my life; winter, slippery, slate, provincial road up which, with an effort and a roar, slipping, goes a small loser's car of dazzling charm. This is an important picture for me.

Mikhail Lunin

«Letters from Siberia»

Mikhail Sergeyevich Lunin's Letters from Siberia is a kind of absolute book for me, like Robinson Crusoe to Betteredge's butler from Wilkie Collins' Moonstone. Just like Betteredge, I have been referring to this edition since adolescence. At first, Lunin was a romantic hero for me - the Decembrists often play the role of romantic heroes for adolescents. Yes, and in his fate you never know excitement? One of the richest people of his time - his father had 1200 souls; when the time came to receive the inheritance, Lunin became the owner of an annual income of two hundred thousand rubles. Fearless - asked to be sent as a parliamentarian to Napoleon, where he undertook to "thrust a dagger in his side." Almost publicly, he accused Louis XVIII of the dishonorable execution of the surrendered Marshal Ney. As a member of the Union of Salvation, the Union of Welfare, and the Northern Secret Society, at one time - only one time - he planned regicide. I'm afraid to bore you - and how, given the limited space of any idle text, make it clear what any large figure, including Lunin, is?

The text of Lunin's letters really grows with the reader - such is his skill. And every reader will immediately receive the acute simple pleasure of the first row - the joy of the endless coincidence of the text with what is happening now. Sometimes it seems that Russian history is not so cyclical, but is motionless in some of its streams. And as for the Betteredzhsky ability to find benefits for any household business in a book, look: I recently had problems with Rospochta. And so, she opened literally the third page of Lunin: “Dear sister! Last week I received parcels … The box is broken, things are ruined, a complete mess. The happiness of the Post Office is that I can neither seek nor publish my opinions about its administration. Whoever takes money must fulfill obligations. Failure and mysticism do not justify …"

Vladimir Nabokov


I read Vladimir Nabokov's novel The Gift at the same time as Pasternak's Doctor Zhivago. Which is absolutely not important for the existence of these two works in eternity, but important for me. It happened; for a certain time, the absence of these books is not only on sale, but in general in the space of everyday reading. And in every company there is a miracle trickster who takes out of his pocket the reprinted pages or a volume of "Ardis".

Nabokov was already a demigod for me, Pasternak's prose was unknown. Let me admit my first impression: Nabokov's "Gift" stunned (I was in the air, yes), "Doctor Zhivago" seemed wonderful reading, but made in an understandable tradition. But - I was an applicant at the Literary Institute. She wrote poetry. Poems seemed to be the most important thing in life. And both books broke my understanding of the very concept of a gift.

Doctor Yuri Andreevich Zhivago, as he grew out of prose, could not write the poems that were at the end of the book. I just couldn't. The poems were a million times larger than the hero's figure. And Fyodor Godunov-Cherdyntsev could not write the poems that made up his collection inside the book. The poems are wonderful, of course, but Godunov-Cherdyntsev was more than his poems - and much more. Nothing, like the most simple and casual opposition of these two texts, can give an understanding of how capriciously God's spirit walks and how helpless we are in our sense of owning something special.

Simon of Kordonsky

«The estate structure of post-Soviet Russia»

One of the most wonderful books that can be recommended for reading to a person interested in the state of Russian society. I know, Simon Gdalevich is reproached for the little scientific integration of his work into the world system of new sociology and anthropology. But Kordonsky is a genius of field research, and his school - I dare to believe that this is partly the school of Tatyana Zaslavskaya - allows him to see the social structure in a way that no one else sees.

Nothing will give such a deafeningly simple, primitive, but final concept of the matter as the story once told to me by Kordonsky. It was required to describe the work of the village council. After a certain amount of time, Kordonsky realized that it was impossible to really describe the work of the village council within the framework of the existing administrative system, because the truthful fixation of all connections and features of work would lead to the destruction of the village council. Community traditions and the traditional blindness of the small government in relation to the ordinary village way of life, within which the theft of compound feed is a natural thing for the entire village, whose inhabitants are also illegally used as a resource of little value. He describes the difficult relationship of the village council with the higher authorities, even more complicated ties with influential people in the area, the usual ways of employees of a small government body to help - or at least not harm a small rural business.

A sociologist who has published a real description of the business structure of an authority turns out to be the killer of this authority, or a victim if officials manage to stop the truth. Thus, a sociologist is either faced with the moral questions "Thou shalt not kill" or "Do no harm", or begins to play the role of a public figure, investigator, resistanceist, and so on, which is unusual for him. For me, the idea of ​​Kordonsky (it is not at all a fact that he shares it) is that if this country is really described, it will disappear. In the meantime, Simon Gdalevich's books are the best of all field descriptions of Russia.

German Volga

«Takh town»

I will allow myself to use my own confession - I love human stories. I saw the collection of Herman Volga for the first time in relative youth - and was inspired by his poems. At the same time, I was told that the young promising poet had died. Many years later I saw in the magazine "Vozdukh" Dmitry Kuzmin in the text "Forgotten and Underestimated" a mention of the Volga. Dmitry Grigoriev writes: “On the Internet you can read that German Volga died at the age of seventeen in Leningrad, but I know for certain that he is alive. And, it seems, has not written anything for a long time. However, "A poet begins where a person disappears …" "This whole story seemed to me delightfully similar to the plot of Nabokov's story (well, I love Nabokov, what can I do about it?)" Forgotten poet ":" A few minutes before the start, when the speakers were still converging into the room of the jubilee committee located behind the stage, the door swung open, letting in a stumpy old man in a frock coat who, on his or on someone else's shoulders, had seen better times."

German Volga is present on the site "", they write about him that he worked in a monastery in Kizhi, as a novice. You can find invitations to St. Petersburg poetry meetings with him - always with a temporary delay.

Now I go with his poems.


And they sail in a snub-nosed boat, and sing about Gamayunia

hardened thugs, horizontal eyes;

and follow the tumbler

under the crazy moon

on oblique deer legs, pollinated with snow rubbish;

and go green at night

and hurry over the white stones

for the Toy Princess, behind the sorceress Doll …

… Something is cold to me, a tree, tram dust, wrong …

Light May waltzes slightly.

I have not mastered the beautiful one.

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