Quarreled over curtains? Which cat ran between Zakhar Prilepin and Tatyana Tolstaya

This correspondence skirmish with each other has been going on for quite some time.

This correspondence skirmish with each other has been going on for quite some time.

A photo: Ivan MAKEEV

Recently in the capital ended non/fction book fair, where Zakhar Prilepin spoke. Despite the fact that Zakhar spoke about Mikhail Sholokhov, in his story he could not do without Tatyana Tolstaya and again mentioned her in a critical way. Prilepin recalled how, in an old story from forty years ago, the writer scolded “Virgin Soil Upturned”:

“I wrote about “some kind of blind-sighted Shchukars” and all this nonsense that they were forced to learn in a Soviet school, while normal schoolchildren wanted to talk about capitalists, handbags and bohemia,” said Zakhar.

Thus, the writer very gently reproached Tatyana Nikitichna for her ignorance of the historical and literary context and, in general, for her inability to distinguish God’s gift from scrambled eggs.

It is comical, considering that Tolstaya reproaches Zakhar himself for almost the same thing from time to time. The writer has repeatedly called Prilepin a talented, but uneducated person, who, moreover, has no literary taste.

In fact, the recent mention of Tolstoy was a kind of “response” from Zakhar.

This correspondence skirmish with each other has been going on for quite a long time.

But what cat ran between them?

“He started first”

It can be assumed that dislike began with the program “School of Scandal”, where the caustic Tatyana Nikitichna spoiled relations with many. Indeed, 13 years ago, Prilepin participated in the program, but, surprisingly, the release was peaceful. Dunya completely scattered compliments and even admitted that she cried over some pages of the novel “Sankya”, they were written so well. Tolstaya did not speak much in that program, and even then, attempts to insert a word were suppressed by Avdotya. “So you didn’t read anything but Sanka,” Dunya waved her hand, “so sit, tell about your America.”

It is surprising that by the time of the blissful interview, according to Tatyana Tolstaya, their relationship with Zakhar had already heated up, and Tolstaya wrote mocking things about Zakhar.

“He was the first to start,” Tatyana Nikitichna complained during a performance at the Capercaillie Nest in 2019. – Before we invited him to ShZ, he wrote some articles against me, from which it followed that the golden youth, liberals and I are evil.

We failed to find this statement by Zakhar. But memories of the first meeting of the two writers, which, apparently, took place shortly before the filming of the “School of Scandal” on the eve of the centenary anniversary of the death of Leo Tolstoy, were revealed.

According to Tolstoy, the writer should protect people from the desire to destroy implanted in them, and not glorify this desire.

According to Tolstoy, the writer should protect people from the desire to destroy implanted in them, and not glorify this desire.


The German director planned to make a film about Tolstoy, for which he invited writers to Yasnaya Polyana. Apparently, there was a conflict there, because Tatyana Nikitichna did not like the script at all, and she decided not to follow it. Tolstoy was supported by Andrey Bitov. But Zakhar did not join the coalition.

“What they wrote to me, I’ll say it,” Prilepin replied to the proposal to sabotage the script.

This surprised Tolstaya: “After all, a writer should not be inclined to pronounce someone else’s script of some German there,” she reasoned.

Why are Gorky and Leonov bad?

But despite the fact that this story is known from the retelling of Tatyana Nikitichna herself, even it does not look like a sufficient basis for global dislike. As, however, do not look justified and other nit-picking:

“Totally uneducated. And in bad literary taste. He has a favorite writer – Leonov, so ponderous and pretentious. Gorky loves. Gorky is also of gigantic talent, but with bad taste, ”the writer said at the same meeting in the Capercaillie’s Nest, however, without explaining in any way what Gorky and Leonov are bad and what exactly Prilepin’s ignorance consists of, who, by the way, has already written several biographical books of famous writers.

True, Tatyana Nikitichna never read these books. As she herself admits, she is only familiar with the novel “Sankya”. I read the book with interest: “Proletarians are depicted there, not intellectuals … he does not know the intelligentsia and therefore it is interesting to read. What is going on in the dark brain of a proletarian who badly manages himself – we do not know … “

However, despite this, over the years, claims against Sanka have only accumulated.

Once Tolstaya noticed that the word “curtain” is used incorrectly in the novel: the author used it in the meaning of “a stick on which curtains are hung”, while a curtain is a curtain. On another occasion, the writer popularly explained why she disliked the protagonist of Prilepin’s only book she had read:

“This Sankya comes into the store, and there are 25 varieties of sausage, and he is filled with bad blood from anger. What can I say…”

According to Tolstoy, the writer should protect people from the desire to destroy implanted in them, and not sing about this desire:

“Ancient heroes, if they destroy something, then they do something cleansing, they destroy evil. And here the hero saw 25 varieties of sausage, went out into the yard and began to destroy the buyer’s Toyota. Stand up, fall down.”

According to Tolstoy, it was this desire that destroyed the entire ancient civilization. In general, it is difficult to understand the reasons for mutual hostility for certain. Both writers, both famous, both have their readers. Perhaps the point is the difference in the writer’s vision. At a recent meeting in Gostiny Dvor, Prilepin said this:

“For me, literary talent is the ability to create human types, which later become typical explanations of national characters: this is the good soldier Schweik, Sherlock Holmes, grandfather Shchukar, an unprecedented character who is imprinted tightly in the mind.”

Tolstaya says otherwise: “If we talk about literary talent, then this is the ability to build worlds and emptiness with the help of words and endow them with some meanings.”

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