Little `openness' for Soviets in West. Glasnost and 'emigr'e writers
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As for profit, Edward Limonov thinks that if his novel ``It's Me, Eddie'' were to come out in the Soviet Union, it would indeed be profitable. He points out that the USSR is, after all, a country of 275 million potential book buyers. ``It would sell millions of copies! I have no doubt that it would be a threat.''Skip to next paragraph
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A THREAT, that is, to the writing establishment. Limonov says that he is a very ideologically free writer, and that if he were to be published, not only would it be significant, culturally, but also he would be ``the happiest man in the world.'' For now, he doubts it will happen, but he hopes he is mistaken.
Limonov believes political reasons alone do not prevent some works from seeing the light of day. He cites a certain cultural provincialism.
``I think they're behind on many subjects. They are enormously puritanical and have many taboos. You can't publish `dirty words.' Is that freedom of the press?''
Author of ``Kangaroo'' and the forthcoming ``The Hand,'' Yuz Aleshkovsky thinks of his life as not in emigration, but in freedom. He says he can be neither an optimist nor a pessimist about the current happenings in the Soviet Union. He simply believes in what he calls ``the self-corrective process of life.'' The party leaders realize they are ``standing on the threshold of chaos and the deterioration of national life,'' he says.
ALESHKOVSKY says that since 1917, the Soviets have been devaluing the function of literature. He says that literature is supposed to ``strive toward the secrets of heaven while firmly grounded in reality.'' Socialist realism went against this in that it was forced to describe an idealized reality, something that did not exist.
Though he says that readers and leaders will be flooded with themes of perestroika in economic and social relations, more grave themes are not forthcoming. He says, ``We won't soon see or hear about the bankruptcy of communist ideology, rights, cultural suicide, etc.'' He believes that the party is far from repenting and exposing all.
Many of the writers say that nothing can intrinsically change in the Soviet Union as long as socialist ideology - under party control - remains the sine qua non of all facets of Soviet life.
Most of the writers interviewed did not feel particularly qualified to speculate about their literary futures within the Soviet Union. For whatever reason, they have left the country. Many were victims of systematic ostracism. Perhaps publishing them in the Soviet Union would be tantamount to forgiving and forgetting - something nobody, especially the Soviet government, is too eager to do. There is no other clear reason why Brodsky, a revered Russian poet, would not be published in his homeland.
Recent and coming from 'emigr'e authors
Joseph Brodsky - recently published book of essays called ``Less Than One''; book of poems, ``To Urania,'' coming out this winter from Farrar, Straus, & Giroux.
Edward Limonov - author of ``It's Me, Eddie''; recently published ``His Butler's Story,'' Grove Press.
Vassily Aksyonov - recently published ``In Search of Melancholy Baby''; also author of ``The Burn,'' Random House.
Yuz Aleshkovsky - author of ``Kangaroo''; another novel, ``The Hand,'' forthcoming from Farrar, Straus, & Giroux.
Sergei Dovlatov - author of ``The Compromise'' and ``The Zone''; has book of short stories about his family called ``Nashi'' (Russian for ``our'') forthcoming from Harcourt Brace Jovanovich.
Vladimir Voinovich - recently published ``Moscow 2042,'' Harcourt Brace Jovanovich.
Dimitry Savitsky - author of four novels; his first English translation, tentatively titled ``From Nowhere with Love,'' forthcoming from Grove Press.