The Akunin Project: The Mysteries and Histories of Russia's Bestselling Author

Edited by Elena V. Baraban and Stephen M. Norris

© 2021

The Akunin Project is the first book to study the fiction and popular history of Grigorii Chkhartishvili, one of the most successful writers in post-Soviet Russia. In the first two decades of the twenty-first century, Chkhartishvili has published over sixty books under the pen names Anatolii Brusnikin, Anna Borisova, Akunin-Chkhartishvili, and most commonly, Boris Akunin. His series featuring the tsarist secret policeman Erast Fandorin has sold over 15 million books in Russia alone, making Akunin one of the bestselling authors of the post-Soviet era. Combining intertextuality, allusions, pastiche, and other markers of postmodern playfulness, many of Akunin’s works have been translated into English and have also been adapted for film and television. Akunin’s public profile has been further enhanced by his active involvement in mass political protests against Vladimir Putin. The author left Russia in 2014 and currently lives in Western Europe as an ex-pat.

Despite Akunin’s international reputation as a celebrated writer, there is very little critical work on his literary output and his mysterious persona. Bringing together scholars of literature, history, and culture, The Akunin Project fills this gap by exploring the author’s bestselling adventure novels and recent histories of the Russian state. The book includes translations of five short works previously unavailable in English as well as an interview with the author.

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Product Details

  • World Rights
  • Page Count: 352 pages
  • Illustrations: 4
  • Dimensions: 6.0in x 1.0in x 9.0in
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Quick Overview

You don’t know his name, but Boris Akunin is one of the most popular and prolific Russian writers of the twenty-first century.

The Akunin Project: The Mysteries and Histories of Russia's Bestselling Author

Edited by Elena V. Baraban and Stephen M. Norris

© 2021

The Akunin Project is the first book to study the fiction and popular history of Grigorii Chkhartishvili, one of the most successful writers in post-Soviet Russia. In the first two decades of the twenty-first century, Chkhartishvili has published over sixty books under the pen names Anatolii Brusnikin, Anna Borisova, Akunin-Chkhartishvili, and most commonly, Boris Akunin. His series featuring the tsarist secret policeman Erast Fandorin has sold over 15 million books in Russia alone, making Akunin one of the bestselling authors of the post-Soviet era. Combining intertextuality, allusions, pastiche, and other markers of postmodern playfulness, many of Akunin’s works have been translated into English and have also been adapted for film and television. Akunin’s public profile has been further enhanced by his active involvement in mass political protests against Vladimir Putin. The author left Russia in 2014 and currently lives in Western Europe as an ex-pat.

Despite Akunin’s international reputation as a celebrated writer, there is very little critical work on his literary output and his mysterious persona. Bringing together scholars of literature, history, and culture, The Akunin Project fills this gap by exploring the author’s bestselling adventure novels and recent histories of the Russian state. The book includes translations of five short works previously unavailable in English as well as an interview with the author.

Continue Reading Read Less

Product Details

  • World Rights
  • Page Count: 352 pages
  • Illustrations: 4
  • Dimensions: 6.0in x 1.0in x 9.0in
  • Author Information

    Elena V. Baraban is an assistant professor in the Department of German and Slavic Studies at the University of Manitoba.

  • Table of contents

    Interview with Grigorii Chkhartishvili: Boris Akunin Introduces the Edited Volume

    Introduction: The Akunin Project
    Elena V. Baraban and Stephen M. Norris

    Part I. Postmodern Detektiv: The Erast Fandorin Series

    1. In Search of a Hero: Boris Akunin’s Death of Achilles
    Elena V. Baraban

    2. Rewriting Homer: Boris Akunin’s Postmodern Approach
    Judith Kalb

    Part II. Amateur Detectives: The Sister Pelagia Trilogy and Adventures of Nicholas Fandorin

    3. Tempting the Reader into a Search for Meaning: Boris Akunin’s Pelagia Trilogy
    Claire Whitehead

    4. “A Little Theory”: Boris Akunin’s “Crime and Punishment”
    Zara Torlone

    Part III. Buried Secrets and Historical Spies in Akunin’s Works

    5. The Mysteries of Moscow: In Which Boris Akunin Impersonates a French Writer and Reveals a Buried Secret
    Elizabeth Richmond-Garza

    6. Spying on the Past: Boris Akunin’s History of Espionage
    Stephen M. Norris

    Part IV. Re-Writing the History of Russia

    7. L’√Čtat, C’est Tout: Boris Akunin’s History of the Russian State and the National History Canon
    Ilya Gerasimov

    8. An Instructional Manual for the Nation: Boris Akunin’s History of the Russian State
    Stephen M. Norris

    Part V. New Pseudonyms and Projects: Anatoly Brusnikin and Akunin-Chkhartishvili

    9. “Under the Wide-Branching Cranberry”: Stiob and Allusion in Anatoly Brusnikin’s Ninth Savior
    Yekaterina Severts

    10. The Family Album: Ordinary People in Extraordinary Circumstances
    Elena V. Baraban

    Part VI.  Boris Akunin as a Literary and Commercial Project

    11. Socialist Realism Inside-Out: Boris Akunin and Mass Literature for the Elite
    Bradley Gorski

    12. Boris Akunin and Cross-Media Marketing
    Natalia Erlenkamp

    Appendices: Excerpts from Akunin’s Works in English Translation

    1. Grigorii Chkhartishvili, “If I Were a Newspaper Magnet: Notes from a Restless Cow” (1999), translated by Bradley Gorski

    2. “A New Karamzin Has Appeared” and “General Introduction” to Boris Akunin, The History of the Russian State, translated by Stephen M. Norris

    3. Excerpt from Boris Akunin, Spy Novel (2005), translated by Stephen M. Norris

    4. Excerpt from Anatoly Brusnikin, The Ninth Savior, translated by Yekaterina Severts

    List of Works by Boris Akunin

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