Monday, February 05, 2007

 

Interview with Vladimir Sorokin

The latest Spiegel Online includes an interview with Russian novelist Vladimir Sorokin, on the occasion of his latest novel, Day of the Oprichnik. The interview is a stark reminder of the difficulties within the current Russian state; we may think that things are bad here, but...

One comment in particular caught my eye.
The citizen lives in each of us. In the days of Brezhnev, Andropov, Gorbachev and Yeltsin, I was constantly trying to suppress the responsible citizen in me. I told myself that I was, after all, an artist. As a storyteller I was influenced by the Moscow underground, where it was common to be apolitical. This was one of our favorite anecdotes: As German troops marched into Paris, Picasso sat there and drew an apple. That was our attitude -- you must sit there and draw your apple, no matter what happens around you. I held fast to that principle until I was 50. Now the citizen in me has come to life.

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