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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Rybakov's Birthday Gift

Anatoly Rybakov has just turned 85. Admired by generations of Soviet readers for his novels for young adults -- Kortik ("The Dirk"), Priklyucheniya Krosha, ("The Adventures of Krosh"), Bronzovaya Ptitsa ("Bronze Bird") -- Rybakov achieved delayed international fame with the publication of his novel "Children of the Arbat" in the 1980s.

The author marked his birthday by donating his entire archive to the state, after turning down lucrative offers for it from abroad. Simultaneously, Terra publishers began issuing a seven-volume set of Rybakov's collected works.

Rybakov was born into a Jewish family in Moscow on the Arbat, the same downtown street which he immortalized in his novels. In 1933, a 22-year-old student, he was arrested on fabricated charges and returned to Moscow only after World War II.

Rybakov was 37 years old when his first novel was published. Over the next quarter of a century he wrote several highly popular novels, which combined suspenseful story-telling and adventure with lively characters and "proper" moral values.

During the 1970s he achieved fame with Tyazholy Pesok ("Heavy Sand") about a Jewish family in southern Russia during World War II. Real international fame came a decade later when, during the peak of glasnost, he succeeded in publishing his anti-Stalinist novel "Children of the Arbat."

Subsequently Rybakov has written two sequels to what is now the trilogy of "Children of the Arbat." In more than 2,000 pages, Rybakov traces the fate of several "children of the revolution" during the 1930s and early 1940s.