Winner of the 17th season of the Big Book National Literary Award, writer Pavel Basinsky with an award at the Pashkov House. Photo: Anton Novoderezhkin / TASS
Summing up the results of the main literary award “Big Book” surprised me with the monotony of the choice. This year Dmitry Danilov was the favorite behind the scenes with the dystopian novel “Sasha, hello”for which Danilov has already received the Yasnaya Polyana award this year.
Usually the laureates of Yasnaya Polyana are one way or another among the top three winners of the Big Book, but Danilov was left behind, because this year reality lost out to lush literary criticism of varying degrees of relevance. For the first time in Big Book history, three biographies won. The first place was awarded to Pavel Basinsky with “The True Story of Anna Karenina”, about Anna’s prototype. Second place went to the rector of the Literary Institute Alexei Varlamov with the book “Rozanov” – a biography of the writer Vasily Rozanov (“the first blogger in fact,” as Varlamov noted). The third was Sergei Belyakov with the “Paris Boys”, in detail commented out diary of the son of Marina Tsvetaeva. (A curious detail, on the eve the author mentioned that he had not had sex for a year in order to better understand how a fifteen-sixteen-year-old boy feels, to whom women are inaccessible …)
Since the first two authors are representatives of the literary nomenclature, the audience perceived the awarding of the third place in two ways. On the one hand, few of the readers saw the novelty of Belyakov’s text, but the point of view was voiced that the book had “at least some novelty in the formulation of the topic”, and the award itself – the third place – was “a tribute to the remnants of decency.”
Writer Guzel Yakhina. Photo: Anton Novoderezhkin / TASS
An interesting story came out with the notorious Guzel Yakhina. As you know, this author always receives awards, but this year the organizers of the award, obviously, set out to not hurt the patriotic feelings of readers. Therefore, “Echelon to Samarkand” raced past the money, but the author was consoled by the audience award.
During the ceremony, “guessing by the book”: the questions of the Russian classics were answered by the finalists of the event. Everything was quiet and smooth, but the aftertaste remained the same. The results of the same type, the absence of books in the genre of “fiction” did not inspire at all and suggested that the main triumph of the ceremony was the trend for “what if it didn’t work out.”