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November 9, 2004 by AK

A Russian author on crime in France

Anatoly Gladilin (Anatol Gladiline), a Soviet Russian writer, left the Soviet Union in 1976 and has since lived in Paris. Back in the 1960s, he was, along with Vasily Aksionov, one of the most famous and promising young Russian authors. In Paris, Gladilin worked for Radio Liberty and the Deutsche Welle. He published in the West, among other things, a novel whose title I would translate as FSSR: The French Soviet Socialist Republic — a tale of a Communist coup in France.

Gladilin, apparently a man of moderately conservative convictions, has recently completed a non-fiction book on crime, punishment and law enforcement in his adopted homeland, France, Welcome to France, Messrs. Criminals! The book is risqué, PC-wise, and so has not been published in Europe yet, but extracts in Russian have appeared online. My long-time readers will recall that I am strongly against France-bashing, while Gladilin’s book is full of irony and criticism — but, first, its message is addressed not only to France but to every society that takes a certain path and stubbornly refuses to deviate, and, second, Gladilin is grateful and sympathetic to the country. He sounds a little old-fashioned, but full of common sense.

If anybody is interested, I’ll gladly translate a few paragraphs to give you a taste of it. The extracts in Russian are here.


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