With Fatin Abbas, Maryam Aghaalikhani, Britta von der Behrens and Viktor Yerofeyev (Recording by Sebastian Eschenbach)

Good Stalin – Reading in four languages


„Good Stalin“ – Reading in four languages

Recording by Sebastian Eschenbach

With Fatin Abbas, Maryam Aghaalikhani, Britta von der Behrens and Viktor Yerofeyev

In the summer of 2022, Viktor Yerofeyev and several fellows staying at Schloss Wiepersdorf read Yerofeyev's work "Good Stalin" at the same time, but in different language versions. In this video, they read the first sentences: the writer Fatin Abbas the Arabic, Maryam Aghaalikhani the Persian, guest reader Britta von der Behrens the German and Viktor Yerofeyev the Russian version.

The German version of "Good Stalin" by Viktor Yerofeyev was published by Matthes und Seitz in 2004. The publisher describes the autobiographical novel as follows:

Growing up in close proximity to power, Viktor Yerofeyev experienced the last years of Stalin, to whose court his father – first Molotov's political advisor and Stalin's interpreter, later ambassador to the West – belonged. From this perspective, Yerofeyev tells the history of the Cold War in his stirring autobiographical novel from a very unusual perspective that gives him every freedom: He looks through the eyes of a child, without being childish, but does not deny the analyzing adult narrator, who knows about what was going on historically. Between the happy childhood in a golden cage and the rebelliousness of the nascent dissident, Yerofeyev tells provocatively honestly of his birth as a writer, but also of the fall of his father, for which he is to blame. With this portrait, which has become a classic and has been skillfully and elegantly translated by Beate Rausch, Yerofeyev delivers an affectionately critical homage to a homo sovieticus, an intellectual at the mercy of the mechanisms of consciousness of power.

Viktor Yerofeyev, born in Moscow in 1947, became known worldwide for his novel "Russian Beauty," published in 1989 and translated into 27 languages. In 1979, he was expelled from the USSR Writers' Union for his participation in the literary anthology Metropol with texts banned by the censors. After the collapse of the Soviet Union, he reissued this almanac, which he described as an "X-ray apparatus that examined the whole of society," in a series. He is also the editor of the first Russian edition of Nabokov. He writes regularly for the New York Times Book Review, DIE ZEIT, FAZ, and DIE WELT, and is considered a critical intellectual as well as one of the best-known contemporary Russian authors. In 2022, he stayed with his family in Schloss Wiepersdorf for several weeks after leaving Russia.

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