Olya Grinkrug, Translator And Author Of Afisha Guidebooks About Her Favorite Books

A life 2023

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Olya Grinkrug, Translator And Author Of Afisha Guidebooks About Her Favorite Books
Olya Grinkrug, Translator And Author Of Afisha Guidebooks About Her Favorite Books
Video: Olya Grinkrug, Translator And Author Of Afisha Guidebooks About Her Favorite Books
Video: BCLT Book Launch: The Fig Tree by Goran Vojnović \u0026 translated by Olivia Hellewell 2023, February

IN THE HEADING "BOOKSHELF" we ask the heroines about their literary preferences and publications, which occupy an important place in the bookcase. Today translator and author of Afisha travel guides Olya Grinkrug tells about her favorite books.

INTERVIEW: Alisa Taezhnaya

PHOTOS: Ekaterina Starostina

MAKEUP: Lyubov Polyanok


Olya Grinkrug

translator and author of Afisha travel guides

I imagined the center of Florence almost better

than the center of Moscow, with the only difference

that Florence

for a Soviet student was beyond the moon


As a child, I had a lot of free time and a bookcase. I was often sick, my parents went away on business, and I lay there, reading and gnawing apples. Now my daughter is doing the same (including apples!), Although no one at birth insisted on it. Finally, I imagine my mother's despair at the sight of endless stubs stuck in the corners of the sofa. The older I got, the more I raided my parents' library, and when I learned to read English, I stopped crawling out altogether. It was worse during the holidays: it was supposed to go to the sea for a long time, until it started pouring out of my ears; the stock of books brought from Moscow was soon running out (even the fat, fat and creepy old dad Stephen King), I had to sign up for the library. It was a whole ceremony: they were not allowed to enter the resort libraries in shorts, they had to change clothes as if at a party, but incredible treasures happened in the catch.

I began to look at the world with different eyes after Lydia Ginzburg's “Notebooks”, with their extremely precise “clicks” (the expression of L. Ya. Herself) of reality in words and the surgical ruthlessness of the blockade chronicles. The domestic twentieth century suddenly snapped at once, especially since almost immediately Evgenia Ginzburg was caught with the "Steep Route". Since then I have forgotten many classic stories, but I remember this one step by step. I reread my notebooks from any place as soon as the words stop forming. She always carried the gray volume of The Man at the Desk in 1989 with her when it was necessary to quickly move from country to country with one suitcase of no more than thirty kilos.

The professional choice did not really happen: everything somehow developed by itself. Humanities class - because I swam in mathematics, humanitarian faculty - because where else? I had to resist only when choosing a foreign language, and here, finally, a book appears in the anamnesis. Throughout my childhood, in addition to Darrell, Grzimek, Harriot, Farley Mowet and Fabre, I reread Giotto's fictionalized biography in a circle (Elena Melentieva, Giotto the Florentine; Leningrad, Children's Literature, 1973). By the time we were brought to Italy by school exchange at dawn in March 1991 at dawn, I imagined the center of Florence almost better than the center of Moscow, with the only difference that Florence for a Soviet schoolchild was farther than the moon. And suddenly, without really waking up, I found myself right in the middle of a lunar landscape, at a traffic light opposite the Duomo. In terms of the force of the impact, it was like a lightning strike. So my fate was a foregone conclusion - Italian and nothing else.

And the study of the language led to the study of cities. In another language internship, trying to find at least some use for myself, I bought brochures for a thousand lire in the underground passage - Courts of Rome, Small Squares of Rome, Districts of Rome - and diligently walked to all the listed addresses, although half the described treasures turned out to be inaccessible. Here a new goal arose - to infiltrate behind the back of the concierge, to catch that third Monday of an odd month in the full moon, when the door is still open, to get permission, to find the moves.Behind every facade, in every arch, and what else - under every sign with the name of the street a new story was revealed, the city turned into an endless library.

For a long time I bothered my friends with my discoveries, then I was lucky and I was invited to the Afisha guidebooks. There, in addition to historical anecdotes, I had to fall in love with the schedules of churches, the rules for calculating railway fines, museum passes and restaurant listings - everything that the ordinary reader never gets his hands on. And until now, although the series has been permanently closed and no one has come up with new guidebooks in Russian, even in electronic, even in virtual, at least in any other version, I scan all the inscriptions on the fences out of habit. I can't find my bearings on any trip without a book, even if there is a guide, the Internet and a business trip schedule (ay, guardians of domestic tourism!).

But in addition to guidebooks, I always loved books that described in detail another world - even a canopy of a drunken forest, even a gatehouse in the dense forests of Wisconsin. The further the better. The list below was selected according to the same principle. He does not pretend to be highbrow or originality - just pocket micro-vacations, travel in the head, the opportunity to be not here and not now, since now and here the disorder is going through the roof.

There was a time when I tried to follow the process and even plucked up the nerve to write reviews. Now I would be ashamed: a humanitarian education, even a good one, is not a sufficient reason to judge and issue sentences. So I don’t presume to evaluate (and overestimate) either: now I read on a whim, like a dog eats grass. The main criterion is that you can drown yourself in the story and, having reached the finale, twist it in your thoughts for several weeks, sorting out heroes and epithets. For a momentary orientation in the world, something shorter is better for me: a note, a film, a post. Further - it depends on the topic. But the structure of modern life on the planet for some reason does not pull - probably out of fear. The less you know the better you sleep. And the more you think about how complicated everything is arranged, the more you understand how little it really depends on us and how little it takes for everything to go wrong.

Beyond the travel guides

I have always loved books where

a different world was described in detail - even a canopy of a drunken forest, even a gatehouse in the dense forests of Wisconsin


Victor Sonkin

“Rome was here. Modern walks in the ancient city"

Everything that I, due to the lack of classical education, could not see and make out in my beloved city, is explained here in Gaspar's way calmly, accessible and ironic. After the Italian archeological reference books, which were my nightmare for many years, Sonkin's book turned out to be a real deliverance. In general, it is a shame and a shame that the modern traveler, as a rule, is annoyingly little - less than the average pre-revolutionary schoolboy - understands about the place where he found himself. In Rome, it's easy to fall in love with the sun on red walls, the clink of spoons in the bar in the morning and the splash of fountains in the villas, I myself have done this for many years. But digging into the republican and even Etruscan times is certainly much more interesting.

Henry Morton

"Rome. Walks in the Eternal City"

Not so much a book as an easy and witty table conversation, where popes and chickens, bus drivers and conquerors, peddlers and emperors appear on equal terms. For Morton, they are all characters of urban anecdotes: behind the way he juggles facts and epithets, there is a real connection of times. More precisely, their openwork pattern, an arabesque connecting Domitian, someone's acquaintance Lady Blessington, Napoleon and the unknown owner of the Vespa. He puts in an equally strange light the suspicious Claudius and the traveling Englishman, who "must take with him folding beds, leather blankets, rugs, spoons and knives, not to forget the silver teapot, spices and, if he likes breakfast cereal, oatmeal."Here you can breathe in about the detailed times before airports and security controls, and read on - with Morton you never know who you will meet on the next page.

Sergey A. Ivanov

“In Search of Constantinople. Byzantine Istanbul travel guide"

A virtual journey par excellence, traces of a city that has disappeared even more thoroughly than Rome - from Rome, a combination of great learning with the skill of a storyteller. Constantinople appears behind Istanbul, as on an overflow calendar (here it is, but it is already gone), from the dungeons and cisterns float the ghosts of patriarchs, courtiers, nuns and basileus, half-birds and half-lions. If you strain your imagination, you can not go anywhere at all, and the mise-en-scène following the phrase “Be sure to wait for the local imam and ask them to unlock the mosque for you,” just make up.

Pyotr Gulyar

Forgotten Kingdom

Gulyar was actually called Pyotr Gullart, he was born in Moscow, and after the revolution he found himself in China, about which in his old age, settling in Singapore, he wrote several volumes of memoirs in English. His adventures in the Lijiang Valley (among the nasi, boa, black and white izu, black and white foxes, minjia, attolais, miao, zhongjia, sifanei and qiang) reads like a modern version of Marco Polo's fables. But for the distrustful, they are provided with photo chronicles: "The author goes on an inspection trip to distant cooperatives", "Ah Gu-ya, a minjia girl, in whose house the author always stayed when traveling with a caravan to Xiaguan." In addition, Alya Ponomareva translated Gulyar's stories in such a way that on the third page you completely forget about the English original. The Forgotten Kingdom, unfortunately, was published in Russian only once, in 2012, and since then has become a bibliographic rarity, but it is worth getting hold of this book.

Roman Gruz

"Several stories"

A bazaar in Delhi, a motorcycle in the Himalayas, Kalashnikovs in Afghan shops, elephants on the roads, caravans in the deserts, islands, treasures, prisons, Dalai Lama - some of these stories were published in Afishe-Mir, so I can be proud that I worked with the author in the same publishing house and even greeted. They are read approximately as a continuation of the Gulyar, only in our days; I want to make a movie in half, but it’s hardly possible. It's a shame it hasn't been published anywhere in hardcover, but it can be downloaded from Bookmate.

Rory Stewart

"The Places In Between"

Not so much great literature as an inspiring example, described in quite graceful British prose. Once upon a time there was a career diplomat, arranged brilliant receptions, wore white linen suits, and then dropped out of his meetings with memoranda (“I am doing what I don’t believe in, but you can just walk, breathe, look around, really live !”) And set off on foot along the path described in the memoirs of the conqueror of the 15th century, through Turkey, Iran, Pakistan, India, Nepal, Afghanistan and Bangladesh (for a minute, in 2001-2002, that is, at the height of the war, under the omnipotence of the Taliban) …

On the way, the Scotsman Stewart pretended to be an Indonesian and a Ukrainian, at some point he was left with a deaf dog instead of a guide and nevertheless survived. In the future, he undertook many more adventures as an expert on the East (in particular, he was vice-governor in Iraq, restored lost crafts in Kabul and was part of the government of Theresa May), but these stories were published elsewhere. They do not detract from the merits of his travel notes.

Rudyard Kipling


Classics of the genre. In enlightened Europe, a favorable mention of Kipling is supposed to be immediately hit over the head; if it is published today, then with prefaces painfully reminiscent of Soviet times, where the colonial regime and the practice of appropriation are exposed. But in essence "Kim" is not so much the story of the "big game" as a poignant declaration of love for India, the very book with which I began my love affair with Southeast Asia.In addition, no one has ever canceled the fact that the Indian Highway is an amazing sight and "such a flow of life that does not exist anywhere else in the world"; this is still the case. And if you find yourself somewhere in the Western Ghats at dawn (a pleasure quite accessible to an ordinary, non-extreme traveler), the Jungle Book will also be remembered with gratitude.

Anna Bronovitskaya and Nikolay Malinin

“Moscow: the architecture of Soviet modernism. 1955-1991"

The guidebook of Anna Bronovitskaya and Nikolai Malinin reconciled me with the huge chunks of the city, which I used to run through with my eyes closed since childhood; with what seemed unnecessary, cumbersome, dusty, worthy of a speedy and traceless disappearance. For example, with the building of the Central House of Artists, where before you had to dive, gathering your will into a fist. The very fact that the CMEA skyscraper, Oktyabrskaya Square or the oncology center on Kashirka can evoke feelings other than disgust and horror was a great discovery. Walking the streets has become much more interesting, especially on the outskirts.

Graham Greene

"Traveling with Auntie"

Of course, this is not about travel in the strict sense; in the same Green one can find more documentary exotic plots and topical twists and turns. For example, a useful maxim "we all live - each in his own box" from the late, recorded as unsuccessful, and nevertheless quite relevant when viewed from our corner of the "Human Factor". Traveling with Aunt is simply the best comforting read of all time, a remedy for blues and flu, a movie and domino substitute, and a great exercise to remember how to formulate thoughts in English.

Kate Fox

"Watching the British: Hidden Rules of Conduct"

A rewarding experience of detachment and self-irony based on scientific methodology. In principle, it would be better to mention the techniques with reference to some Clifford Geertz and his "Notes on cockfighting among the Balinese." My brilliant scientific advisor, Andrei Leonidovich Zorin, with the help of Geertz, brought him out of the darkness, even connected with the Russian XVIII century, so that he is quite universal. But Kate Fox once advised me Katya Metelitsa not for intellectual work, but just for fun. She writes funny. And it works.

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