Pushkin Hills / Заповедник. Книга для чтения на английском языке. Сергей Довлатов. Читать онлайн. Newlib. NEWLIB.NET

Автор: Сергей Довлатов
Издательство: КАРО
Серия: Russian Modern Prose
Жанр произведения: Советская литература
Год издания: 1983
isbn: 978-5-9925-1437-7
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answer she had been expecting.

      “OK,” I said, “I’ll give it a try. Here we go. Pushkin is our belated Renaissance[30]. Like Goethe was for Weimar[31]. They took upon themselves what the West had mastered in the fifteenth, sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. Pushkin found a way to express social themes in the form of tragedy, a characteristic of the Renaissance. He and Goethe lived, if you will, in several eras. Werther is a tribute to sentimentalism. Prisoner of the Caucasus is a typically Byronesque work. But Faust, for instance – that’s already Elizabethan and the Little Tragedies naturally continue one of the Renaissance genres. The same with Pushkin’s lyricism. And if it’s dark, then it isn’t dark in the spirit of

      Byron[32] but more in the spirit of Shakespeare’s sonnets, I feel. Am I explaining myself clearly?”

      “What has Goethe got to do with anything?” asked Marianna. “And the same goes for the Renaissance!”

      “Nothing!” I finally exploded. “Goethe has absolutely nothing to do with this! And ‘Renaissance’ was the name of Don Quixote’s horse[33]. And it too has nothing to do with this! And evidently I have nothing to do with this either!”

      “Please calm down,” whispered Marianna. “You’re a bundle of nerves… I only asked, ‘Why do you love Pushkin?’”

      “To love publicly is obscene!” I yelled. “There is a special term for it in sexual pathology!”

      With a shaking hand she extended me a glass of water. I pushed it away.

      “Have you loved anyone? Ever?!”

      I shouldn’t have said it. Now she’ll break down and start screaming: “I am thirty-four years old and I am single!”

      “Pushkin is our pride and joy!” managed Marianna. “He is not only a great poet, he is also Russia’s great citizen…”

      Apparently this was the prepared answer to her idiotic question.

      And that’s it? I thought.

      “Do look at the guidelines. Also, here is a list of books. They are available in the reading room. And report to Galina Alexandrovna that the interview went well.”

      I felt embarrassed.

      “Thank you,” I said. “I’m sorry I lost my temper.”

      I rolled up the brochure and put it in my pocket.

      “Be careful with it – we only have three copies.”

      I took the papers out and attempted to smooth them with my hands.

      “And one more thing,” Marianna lowered her voice. “You asked about love…”

      “It was you who asked about love.”

      “No, it was you who asked about love. As I understand, you are interested in whether I am married? Well, I am!”

      “You have robbed me of my last hope,” I said as I was leaving.

      In the hallway Galina introduced me to Natella, another guide. And another unexpected burst of interest:

      “You’ll be working here?”

      “I’ll try.”

      “Do you have cigarettes?”

      We stepped onto the porch.

      Natella had come from Moscow at the urge of romantic, or rather reckless ideas. A physicist by education, she worked as a schoolteacher. She decided to spend her three-month holiday here. And regretted coming. The Preserve was total pandemonium. The tour guides and methodologists were nuts. The tourists were ignorant pigs. And everyone was crazy about Pushkin. Crazy about their love for Pushkin. Crazy about their love for their love. The only decent person was Markov…

      “Who is Markov?”

      “A photographer. And a hopeless drunk. I’ll introduce you. He taught me to drink Agdam[34]. It’s out of this world[35]. He can teach you too…”

      “Much obliged. But I’m afraid that in that department I myself am an expert.”

      “Then let’s knock some back one day! Right here in the lap of nature.”


      “I see you are a dangerous man.”

      “How do you mean?”

      “I sensed it right away. You are a terribly dangerous man.”

      “When I’m not sober?”

      “That’s not what I’m talking about.”

      “I don’t understand.”

      “To fall in love with someone like you is dangerous.”

      And Natella gave me an almost painful nudge with her knee.

      Christ, I thought, everyone here is insane. Even those who find everyone else insane.

      “Have some Agdam,” I said, “and calm down. I want to get some rest and do a little work. I pose you no danger…”

      “We’ll see about that.” And Natella broke into hysterical laughter.

      She coquettishly swung her canvas bag with an image of James Bond[36] on it and walked off.

      I set off for Sosnovo. The road stretched to the top of the hill, skirting a cheerless field. Dark boulders loomed along its edges in shapeless piles. A ravine, thick with brush, gaped on the left. Coming downhill, I saw several log houses girdled by birch trees. Monochrome cows milled about on the side, flat like theatre decorations. Grimy sheep with decadent expressions grazed lazily on the grass. Jackdaws circled above the roofs.

      I walked through the village hoping to come across someone. Unpainted grey houses looked squalid. Clay pots crowned the pickets of sagging fences. Baby chicks clamoured in the plastic-covered coops. Chickens pranced around in a nervous, strobing strut. Squat, shaggy dogs yipped gamely.

      I crossed the village and walked back, pausing near one of the houses. A door slammed and a man in a faded railroad tunic appeared on the front steps.

      I asked where I could find Sorokin.

      “They call me Tolik,” he said.

      I introduced myself and once again explained that I was looking for Sorokin.

      “Where does he live?”

      “In the village of Sosnovo.”

      “But this is Sosnovo.”

      “I know. How can I find him?”

      “D’ya[37] mean Timokha Sorokin?”

      “His name is Mikhail Ivanych.”

      “Timokha’s been dead a year. He froze, havin’ partaken…”

      “I’d really like to find Sorokin.”

      “Didn’t partake enough, I say, or he’da[38] still been here.”

      “What about Sorokin?”

      “You don’t mean Mishka, by chance?”

      “His name is Mikhail Ivanych.”

      “Well, that’d be Mishka all right. Dolikha’s sonin-law. D’ya know Dolikha, the one that’s a brick short of a load?”

      “I’m not from around here.”

      “Not from Opochka, by chance?”

      “From Leningrad.”

      “Ah, yeah, I heard of it…”



Renaissance – Ренессанс, или Возрождение, эпоха в истории культуры Европы (XV–XVI вв.)


Goethe. Weimar – Иоганн Вольфганг фон Гёте (17491832), немецкий писатель, философ и государственный деятель. Веймар, город в Германии, где с 1775 по 1832 год жил Гёте


Werther… Prisoner of the Caucasus… Faust… Little Tragedies… Byron – «Страдания юного Вертера» (1774), сентиментальный роман Гёте. «Кавказский пленник» (1821), поэма Пушкина (1799–1837). «Фауст» (1774–1831), трагедия Гёте. «Маленькие трагедии» (1830), цикл коротких пьес Пушкина. Джордж Гордон Байрон (1788–1824), английский поэт-романтик


Don Quixote’s horse – Дон Кихот, герой романа испанского писателя Мигеля де Сервантеса (1547–1616), но имя коня Дон Кихота не Ренессанс, а Росинант.


Agdam: An Azeri fortified white wine.


out of this world – фантастический, дословно «неземной», т. е. превосходный, великолепный» и т. д.


James Bond – агент секретной службы, главный персонаж романов британского писателя Яна Флеминга (1908-64)


D’ya = Do you


he’da = he would have