Anatoli Rybakov

More than one generation of readers became absorbed in books by Anatoli Rybakov (1911-1998). In Russian literature Rybakov stands out as one of the first courageous writers who dared to tread on forbidden ground and unfold the truth about this country’s hard times. His major books, Children of the Arbat and The Heavy Sand, are semi-autobiographical; guided by his own life experience the author created captivating and discerning works with a focus on most important things about human nature. Almost all his books have been screened.

Anatoli Naumovich Rybakov (real surname is Aronov) was born on January 1, 1911, in the city of Chernigov into a Jewish family. From 1919 he lived with his family in Moscow.

In November 1933, while a student of Transport Institute, Rybakov was arrested and condemned to three years of exile for “counterrevolutionary agitation and propaganda”. After the exile he was devoid of the right to live in big cities where special passport regime was established and had to roam around the country and take jobs that did not require filling in forms.

In 1941 Anatoli managed to get into the army and fought with Germans, from Moscow to Berlin, and was awarded with lots of honours and medals. A private soldier at the beginning he became a major by the end of the war. In 1946 he got demobilized and finally returned back home, to Moscow.

Anatoli Rybakov won acclaim with his very first works: his adventure stories for young readers enticed many generations of kids with their captivating plots, based on discovering a “mystery”, and elevated romantic spirit combined with true to life details, kind humour, and lyricism. In Kortik (The Dirk) the story is set during the Civil war and NEP (New Economic Policy) in Moscow, in the Arbat Street, the latter being Rybakov’s favorite setting. Its sequel is no less interesting story Bronzovaya Ptitsa (The Bronze Bird) (1956). Lively narration, psychological veracity, and wit inherent in the above mentioned works manifest themselves also in the Adventures of Krosh (1960) and Vacations of Krosh (1966) told as if by a teenager.

Rybakov’s first “adult” novel Voditeli (Drivers) (1950) is dedicated to people very well known to the author by his former profession of a motorist engineer. The book belongs to the paragons of “work” prose; it is remarkable for its subtle characterization and veritable depiction of the workaday life at a motor depot in a provincial town.

In the novel Leto in Sosniki (Summer in Sosniki) (1964) Rybakov featured life of a big plant through the prism of a psychological conflict between an honest poor wretch and a narrow-minded dogmatist, which reflected the true explosive contradiction of the Stagnation period. ...


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