He knows the subject thoroughly. He is a man himself, and his biography will certainly become the plot of a fascinating novel someday. He lives at the same time with us, in the same country with us and does not hide from any "challenges" of time and country and not only reacts, but also personally participates in many events. He is, perhaps, the only inhabitant of the modern Olympus of Russian literature, who did not break away, did not abandon the people. He is not an elite writer. He is anti-elite.
After reading all of his works, I seem to know this man well. He writes about himself. He does not change his views. He says in interviews exactly what he writes in his books. He's honest. He's in plain sight. He speaks and writes the truth, so he cannot "get lost in the testimony." He calls himself a nazbol * and an opponent of the liberals. He protects those in need of protection: our history, our old people, our military (they themselves have no time to defend themselves from ignorance, or even contempt of society), our last, elusive chance for the future.
Prilepin is in good Russian about ordinary Russian people. Not about the fabulous life of the oligarchs, their wives and mistresses, not about the tricks of the "golden youth", not about what has flooded our television air. And I am resting reading it. I take a break from what is alien to me, what is imposed on me, what irritates me. He talks to me about what I understand and about what - in literature - there is no one else to talk to.
About male characters
So, about what is stated in the title. Men. When reading the works of Prilepin, it becomes clear whom he respects, and whom - not very much. Yegor Tashevsky - respects. Sasha Silence - respects. Not that he respects Artyom Goryainov - he shares his torments and joys, which is even more heartfelt. He respects every hero from Platoon, every comrade from Some Won't Go to Hell.
Having frankly described in the story “Sher Amen” several bitter grievances for children and youth, Prilepin writes: “From some age, for example, from fifteen years old, in any company I quietly decided for myself:“I am a man here”; and if it was necessary to make a decision, I took it. Most often for the reason that no one else dared to do anything. " And the hero replaces childhood defeats with adult victories. True, at the end of the story, he philosophically notes that this replacement is not equivalent, "but what can you do."
A real man is equal to himself, writes Prilepin. This is not someone who dreams of a "photo with a gun", but has such a photo in his album, or someone who does not dream of such, because he took place in his field and is what he is, and does not try to "live for someone else's account, or slander who he himself would like to become, but could not”. (Essay "Photo with a gun"). Prilepin is sure: “if you want to look like a Viking or a cowboy, be a Viking or a cowboy. And if you just want to look, then you are a pontorez, and nothing more. " (Ibid.)
The essays "The Militia, the Monk and Some Others" and "Living Like This" from the same "Stories from an Easy and Instant Life" continue the theme and "highlight" it from the side of the military.
The novel "Sankya", the story "Matches and tobacco, and all that" - from the side of young fighters against the authorities.
About a fatherly feeling, which is very important for Prilepin and inalienable from a Real Man, in the stories "Forest", "Love", "Near, Far, Near", in the essay "A few unimportant words during the day" This theme appears in almost all of his works: somewhere more, somewhere less.
It's time to make the transition here. Here is a quote from Mayakovsky: “Glory! Glory! Glory to the heroes !!! / However, / they / were given enough tribute. / Now / let's talk / about rubbish."
Men are like, also men, but some lost, unable to become what they wanted, forgetting that they wanted to become anything at all.
The stories "Petrov" and "Interrogation" are very indicative in this regard.
In the course of the narration about life and any adventures of Petrov, the author throws in the characteristics of this character, from which this is what is built:
"Petrov did not get a wife, although he was already 35."
"He indulged in this occupation reluctantly - as if it was supposed to be" (this is about sex)
"Smoking - no smoking"
"Petrov was not inclined to reflection and, if he sometimes thought about himself, he believed that everything was ahead."
"The thought that he will not become a hard worker turned out to be the most poetic in his life."
"Petrov did not get into the army."
"He did not know how to fall in love."
"To admit, Petrov did not understand the children and did not see the point in them."
“Petrov never even fired a shot. And there was no desire."
“I didn’t have a particular reaction: I didn’t tolerate sports, I didn’t like to fight.”
“Petrov did not like music and drove in the car in silence.
He didn't care about nature, so he looked ahead."
“He clicked the hood lock and went to see what was there.
There was nothing there. Petrov still did not understand a damn thing."
If you remove all "not" from this list, you get a portrait of a Real Man.
And so - just someone Petrov, he was not even given a name. Nobody Petrov.
And I laugh as I read how he fights with his cheerful cat, how he pulls out the glove compartment in the car, how he sticks his fingers into the cake, how he is stupid-stupid-stupid … dies. On the last page, I feel a little creepy. But all the same, Petrov is not a pity. He surrendered his life without a fight. He abandoned her long before the fateful New Year's Eve. You can't live like that. You can't die like that.
In "Interrogation" the characters are shown less detached: every minute we are with the main character, with his weaknesses and fears.
He (Novikov) is almost indistinguishable from Petrov, but has some, let's say, underdeveloped masculine qualities. He considers himself quite a man and is offended when a policeman calls him a "dove". Novikov has a friend, Lesha, has a girlfriend Lara, has parents (he is not fatherless, unlike Petrov), and has a job in a "not the largest bookstore".
But the father does not respect the son, and the son feels it. Mother worries about care. The sister scoffs. The girl now and then tries to manipulate.
It turns out that he has no one closer than a friend.
On this "a couple" and the police catch. Friends are brought to the department and the very interrogation takes place, which gave the name to the story, and also divided Novikov's life into "before" and "after".
The police are detaining friends in broad daylight because they were mistakenly pointed out by a witness to the murder. At the police station, they are insulted and beaten. "Like almost every person who did not serve in the army and was not in prison, he [Novikov] was very afraid of physical pain." Novikov experiences the strongest fear in his life and the strongest humiliation (then he will remember the first, childhood, which he suffered from the school bully Garik). The guys are released, convinced of their innocence, but Novikov cannot live on without restoring his self-esteem. He does not find a place for himself, finds no consolation either from his parents, or from his girlfriend, or from a friend who shared humiliation with him and is now just as crushed. A new conflict with an opera who has exceeded his authority does not help: “I know who you are,” the opera suddenly said. - “You are wood lice. People like you do not fight, people like you have no hands, you don’t have a damn thing to do, you live with mothers, you sit on everyone’s neck.” The cop expounds "his truth", and this truth "stabs the eyes" of Novikov.
As a result, in order to still feel like a man, Novikov decides to raft on a boat along the river. To do this, he asks his father for everything: money, a boat, a backpack, a knife, a spinning rod. Dialogue occurs:
“If you would have traveled with me at least once, you wouldn't have to explain anything,” my father said.
“You never took me,” Novikov answered calmly.
- And in my opinion, you never wanted to, - said the father with a bilious challenge."
Who is to blame that the son grew up as a "wood lice"?
Rafting down the river at Novikov turns out to be about a hundred meters: he loses an oar, drowns his mobile, wounds on his father's knife, swears alone, and beats him to the shore.
And when he returns to the city, he finds out that Lyosha tried to hang himself at all. However, it was also unsuccessful: he was rescued.
The ending is as follows: relatives surrounded Novikov, zealous with care, but he is in despair.
Unlike Petrov, I feel sorry for him.
Love in Prilepin's books is also given in the masculine sense of the word. He adheres to the scheme: "sex - violence - sex - violence", but Prilepin's scheme is not at all disgusting.
In the "Abode", between the chapters about the terrible camp life, fights, torture, we find chapters about love - with its physical expression. Roughly the same in "Sanka": fights, sex, torture, sex, fights. More reflections on the fate of the Motherland.
In Pathologies, chapters describing military operations alternate with chapters on love. The guy and the girl are young, in love, happy, they revel in their closeness. The author skillfully writes about the simplest things that brought them joy, gives a lot of memorable details that are clear to everyone. The happiness of this couple is contagious, it shines on the pages of the book. The hero adores his girlfriend, she is physically necessary for him, he suffers from one suggestion that she could have another man. As for the scenes of sex itself - they are very juicy, but at the same time aesthetic.
As Vaikule once sang, “without even saying a word, you said everything”. Not a single obscene word, not a single obscene word, and the reader, so to speak, plunges into the canvas of the narrative. The physical expression of love in Prilepin is one of the aspects of male life, one of the components of the character, and it is depicted in such a way that the writer will never have to feel awkward in front of his four children who will read his books. It's not about lust at all.
In general, love in these books is “not sighs on the bench,” not conversations and dreams, but a very specific activity, filled for the hero of each work with a feeling of complete kinship and unity.
Humor, in my opinion, is the most difficult thing for a writer. Prilepin has few funny works, but those that are, show that with humor everything is in order for him, and humor is also masculine. For example, about what happens "drunk". Approximately in the spirit of Shukshin's "And in the morning they woke up" or even "The irony of fate, or Enjoy your steam!"
Very funny "Bl **** s story". Like the drunken adventure described in it, the story is at first funny, straight carbon monoxide, and then some high note is touched - ding! - and it all ends in tears.
"Sobachatina" is moderately funny, without a high note.
"Fishermen and Cosmonauts" is especially amusing from the moment the hero wakes up on the river bank: "I never drank to such an extent" and further, until the very end, when a wife with a newborn son picks up a hungover and robbed husband from the police department and tells the baby that dad will take care of him.
“Russia is not very rich in good writers. We have many passionate, many offended, many gloomy, many sarcastic and few kind ones, yes. " (Essay "No one is cursed, even if killed"). Prilepin is the only one on our literary Olympus who looks kindly at our past and our ancestors, and even at our contemporaries - without hatred. He does not settle scores with the past, he writes as it was. And it was in different ways, but more often it was wonderful.
Prilepin's strength lies in his kindness and love for us, sinners.
That is why it is pleasant to read Prilepin, because he has love everywhere.
Not fashionable cynicism, not the bile of years of endurance, not hopelessness.
Love for a woman - in half-faithful passion and devotion, for children - in the desire to teach and protect, for friends - in empathy and a sense of brotherhood, for the Motherland - in the readiness to fight for her, in the desire to return to their native places again and again.
As the village is described in "Sin" - these are my childhood memories drenched in the sun, in "Sanka" - this is my pain that the village is dying out. This is my feeling for the Motherland.And I also want to plant this feeling in my own children.
“And you step on the gas, and you wink at your son or daughter in the rearview mirror: now you will see, now you will find out. And a miracle happens: inspired by your inspiration, the child … finds these thickets of burdocks absolutely delightful; that there are mountains of "The Lord of the Rings" and planets of "Star Wars" - burdocks! " (Essay "No Limit")
And I understand why Sasha Tishin long and desperately tore weeds on the strip of the beach, where he used to rest with his father as a child.
Prilepin has a constructive - in defiance of the destructive readers who are tired of. Prilepin is kind.
Do you know a lot of men who are not shy about being kind?
"And again, in prayer, I began to enumerate everyone I remember - the strong and the weak, and the relaxed, and the possessed, and the sober, and the hungover, and the kind of forgotten, and degenerated altogether - and I remember everyone, everyone." ("Seven lives"). This is he about all his characters, this is about you and me.
Author: Olga Tipailova, Candidate of Historical Sciences, Associate Professor of the Department. English. SPb GUP
* The interregional public organization "National Bolshevik Party" (NBP) was recognized as extremist by the decision of the Moscow City Court of April 19, 2007 and its activities were prohibited.