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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

BOOKWORM: '99 wrap up




With literary critics (along with everyone else) gradually regaining their senses after the holidays, an amazing number of best-of lists has appeared - all different, depending on the periodical in which they surface, or, more precisely, on the tastes of the staff book reviewer. As a result, the seven most authoritative lists of "The 10 Best Russian Books of 1999" include a whopping 47 titles.


I want to make my own contribution. But so as not to go on mixing - as we say in Russian - fried eggs with a gift of God, I've divided the "best" into different categories. And lest I be accused of excessive subjectivity, I assure the reader that most of "my" titles appeared at least three times in other lists as well.


Also, most of the following works have been featured in this column over the course of the past year. (All "nominated" titles were published in 1999.)


Hippest Novel - "Generation P" by Viktor Pelevin.


Most Popular Novel Among Russia's More Sophisticated Readers - "Blue Lard" (Goluboye salo) by Vladimir Sorokin.


Most Widely Read Book - Alexandra Marinina's detective drama "The Seventh Victim" (Sedmaya zhertva), with an initial print run of 250,000 copies.


Best Literary Project - "The Adventures of Erast Fandorin" (a Russian Sherlock Holmes), a series written under the pen name B. Akunin; the latest is "Councilor of State" (Statsky sovetnik).


Most Talked-About Novel - the 750-page "new Russian" thriller "The Big Soldering" or "The Big Ration" (Bolshaya paika) by Yuly Dubov, a colleague of Boris Berezovsky.


Most Controversial and Enigmatic Novel - "Mythogenic Love of Castes" (Mifogennaya lyubov kast) by Pavel Peppershtein and Sergei Anufriyev.


Best Short Story Author - Vladimir Tuchkov and his "Russian Book of People" (Russkaya kniga lyudei).


Best Historical Novel - "Bestseller" by Yuri Davydov.


Best War [WWII] Novel - "The Merry Soldier" (Vesyoly soldat) by Viktor Astafiev.


Best Russian Fantasy - Mikhail Uspensky's saga starting with "Where We Are Not" (Tam, gde nas net).


Three Most Interesting and Widely Read Modern Russian Poets - Timur Kibirov, Lev Losev, Vera Pavlova, each published last year.


Two Best Essayists of the Decade - Alexander Genis and Pyotr Vail, who rose to fame as a duo but now write separately. Last year saw the publication of Vail's "Genius of the Place" (Genii mesta) and Genis's "Dovlatov and Environs" (Dovlatov i okrestnosti).


Best Memoirist - Emma Gershtein, on her life with the Mandelstams and the Akhmatovs in "Memoirs" (Memuary).