Articles taggés avec ‘Grishkovets

The writer’s blog

Mardi 10 mars 2009

Recently I read a book by a contemporary Russian novellist, playwright, actor and music artist Yevgeni Grishkovets entitled, in my plain translation and omitting the Russian play of words, « A year of Livejournal ». The book is a collection of writer’s blog articles of 2007, a period in which he was working on his currently bestselling novel « Asphalt », performing his one-man shows across former Soviet Union and recording his songs. The book born from his blog is an intelligent and entertaining read, but the fact that made me write an article about it myself is this: the writer Yevgeni Grishkovets does not actually know how to type.
All his manuscripts are written by hand and then typed out by a professional typist.

Grishkovets is not an old writer – he is only 42 – he just never learned how to use a keyboard. Computers, as he confesses in the book, are still a foreign country to him. His articles are typed by his wife to whom Grishkovets dictates. In the 19th century the person writing the final manuscript version of a novel was often the writer’s wife. Both Tolstoy and Dostoevsky employed their beloved to do this tedious job. This is actually how Dostoevski met his future wife – he needed somebody to write the « clean » version of his manuscript and Anna was a hardworking young woman who knew stenography.
Dictating to his wife leads to anecdotal situations about how, being on tour, Grishkovets calls her from the hotel and dictates his daily portion of the blog – saying at the end that he should stop now because his wife has « more important things to do ». Or that one time when he arrives in Paris, finds an internet cafe and… gives up on the French keyboard. He continues to refer to the Internet continuum as HERE (with capital letters) and admits to not really understanding how HERE works, which however does not prevent him becoming one of the most read blogs in Russia. After reading his book I, of course, went to see his blog. Once there I somehow got that strange cinema feeling of « liking the book better » which I can’t really explain…