Letters of Sergei Dovlatova Tamara Zibunovoy from the U.S.

My Dear — Tamara, Bob, Valerie! …

It is difficult to write to the Union, we lived as if in a different mental and even physical measurements, the same concepts are filled with completely different content, the very mechanics of life — other. Philosophize on the subject is boring, and it's not easy to explain why we have to insure themselves and think about the future, which in practice means our astronomical profits, why, if I need the money, I turn out to friends, and the bank, as Lena dared to give birth in a country where one day in the hospital costs $ 500, which takes 70% of the money earned by us, how is it that I was more than ten times sued, and why, with total debt at 22 and a half thousand dollars we smile and do not think about suicide. While living in America, you are cluttered with an intricate system of credits, loans, grants, and while you're working, you can balance on this basis, but can occur any day of the accident, and you will remain literally on the street with children and an old woman, and you typed stuff taken away in unknown direction. Because we are not Americans, no foundation, no basis, we do not.

In America, of course, a lot of good, all the best belongs to the tradition — freedom, kindness, sense of humor, but we grew up in a different world, and the greatest difficulty in adapting to the conditions here. The idea of freedom here are painful, even pathologically, my neighbor gets a nightmarish Puerto Rican music, and if I make a remark to him, he did not even get nasty in return, he just did not understand what I mean, he is shocked — because I encroached for his freedom, his "privacy." Privacy — local spell means — "private sphere" and guarded with violent force. The girl who fucks, you can not ask where it was yesterday — a violation of privacy, Kate meets with the boys, but I'm absolutely nothing about them I do not know — it's her privacy, if the person comes in February barefoot down the street, no one turns heads in his direction so as not to disturb his fucking privacy, do not infringe on his freedom. In this case, smelly Hinckley, fascist and asshole, I almost shot the old man, shaking his head with the president and the nickname "turkey", and this scum in a month will be released, and all of America will express sympathy for him, not a miracle survivor president.

If in other lands the people inconvenienced by the lack of freedom, then there is too much of it, and the freedom of one person simply violates the limit the freedom of another. In New York, in fact there is a civil war, every day is killing more people than in Afghanistan and Beirut, more than 2,000 a year, armed men without exception, the thesis of "Better red than dead" — is not an empty phrase, ordinary people say: "It is better so the communists than the robbers and murderers "and so on …

I think I'll talk about specific cases, and to reason — to hell with them, time and paper is not enough.

From the first months in America, I was engaged exclusively in Russian affairs, began to produce a democratic alternative newspaper / 48 pages, format the "Week" /, it became popular, I did something to earn, amassed a million enemies of authoritarians of Maksimovskaya gang of monarchists, Zionists which are wildly proud of that dick in their half a millimeter shorter than the other nations of the so-called "moral majority" — which is a form of fascism, in short, of the right of savages and visionaries. I must say, the situation in exile slop, labels hang faster than in the Soviet Union, is a positive mention, for example, Shukshina, and you declare and even pro-Soviet KGB agent, organize some wild Campaign for the Boycott of Soviet films in California by mistake boycotting " Smirnoff "vodka, but vodka manufacturer Pierre Smirnofff died, it seems, long before the Revolution.

In short, the fame was quite noisy, very supportive of the American Slavic studies, our greedy groaned with rage, drew cartoons for me as a Zionist and anti-Semitic — at the same time, they wrote me a total of 400 pages in the book, one is quite talented but infamous type Navrozov released me the story titled "Ordinary Soviet guy" and so on. I repeat, the Americans have a very loved, praised the new living language and humor, but then I did some stupid things, not entrenched in the legal newspaper, has lost all of its shares, besides my partners were scoundrels, and chief among them — the nephew of Israel Moiseevich — Boris Metter. As a result, I lost my independence, has become a well-paid mercenary, the newspaper into the hands of a Hungarian Jew, and gradually I survived. On the one hand, it is certainly a shame, and loss of time, and I did not learn English, but on the other hand because of the newspaper hindered my literary affairs, contacts with American magazines and publishing houses, and because of the strategic plan of care from the newspaper was reasonable . By the time I left, Lena bought a selective machine for 14,000 / course on credit and subsidy / and began taking orders. I came to this time three books in Russian and one in English, plus there were three stories in "The New Yorker", I was paid for 4000 for the story, which made it possible to insert the teeth and the entire family to have a son Kolya. Then I got my / by Brodsky / contact with a very large publishing house, I got the advance, the book will be released in the spring or early summer in English and in Russian in September. Also, I typed "Playboy" and I had got a good literary agent, and it's a big deal. In short, here are five months we serve, Lena knocks on the car, I moonlight on the radio and I compose prose. We earn 15 — 18 thousand a year, 600 a month is flat with services, 80 — typesetting machine, 100 — Insurance, 140 — different loan payments, so that a specific life remains a bit. But it's not extremely stable, at any moment can stop Lena's orders, burst contracts with radio have long survive, the agent will send me as soon as I stop to make, in short, can be relaxed feel if earn two hundred thousand, put them in the bank and live on the interest, but, first, it does not, and secondly, the bank also may burst.

There is no stability, prosperity / by American standards / no, just recently there was some sort of human furniture, debts on all sides surround and suffocate, and yet live here fun and entertaining. The country is extremely bright, dynamic, endlessly is something fantastic, mailbox bursts, both the phone rang incessantly.

I — weekly trash on the radio, some fees for publishing houses and magazines, plus performances and lectures. At first I was afraid to go, but it turned out that all this is a very comfortable, I was in Detroit, Chicago, Philadelphia, Boston, North Carolina, Minnesota, California, participated in two international conferences, one half-hour symposium spoke in English and nearly died the strain.

Now I know exactly who is well organized in the Americas. This is a world-renowned scientists, good engineers / administrators do not / have mastered the language, artisans, adventurers, that is energetic, business people with high moral unscrupulousness. All sorts of humanities / artists, writers, and especially actors and filmmakers / — here is the worst cockroach. Of the artists earns a good idea — Shemyakin and another two or three, like Lev Zbarsky dealing oformitelstvom. One of the filmmakers moved Misha goddesses, and then — and recently, maybe not for long. Of the musicians live well Baryshnikov / if it can be attributed to the musicians / he is an incredible rich man, and his portraits come across even in hardware stores. He, a single, real world popularity, followed by Rostropovich and Godunov, who became a playboy, flash banners Bella Davidovich and all the rest, things are much more modest. Of all the good writers Brodsky, he first figure in American literature, flying all over the world, has received so-called "genius award" / 35,000 per year for five years / without end is interviewed at the best TV channels. There is still a great height Solzhenitsyn, though his fame falls, and revenues have decreased. Next there is a large range, and then follows a group of 5 — 6 people — Aksenov, Voinovich, Gladilin and so on, here is attitude and I are the ones who make literature, and, Aksenov, for example, among the Russian very well known, but American sphere of my things are much better, I'm typing in the best journals, and I have a contract with the best publisher. I send you one of the letters Vonnegut, a clipping from the encyclopedia — pure ostentation. By the way, in front of me in this encyclopedia is Dovzhenko, and written about him much less. In short, for me personally, emigration was the only way, the only way to literature. Man, I'm apparently superficial, and very proud of the fact that shortly before his death, Cheever / by the way, he was an alcoholic / gave me a book with the inscription — "master of modern prose."

We live in an expensive / relatively / district, the worst part of it, I pretty much ride, Kate works part-time in a candy store, and the money spent on countless outfits. It — very showy girl in an alien to me Andalusian style. My mother was a kind of younger, kind of sad, or rather sad, because now the boy was born Kohl / Nicholas / and the mother is busy with it. The baby fat and jolly. When he was born, a certain Andrew Grizzly, which in reality, of course, call Yankev Tsvibak, former secretary of Bunin and editor of the oldest Russian newspaper in the West, wrote to me: "I hope your son will not grow a journalist, because the fight with the next generation Dovlatova I is not able to "…

People are scared changing Paramonov Black Hundred and became a monarchist, Luda Stern — writer, Bobyshev evil, like a panther, Igor Efimov became a businessman, he has his own publishing house the size of a desk. With all the emigration tip I am very familiar, among them there are nice people, there is not much, but I'm friends with only Sinyavskii, Andrew and Masha, and even with the Yugoslav dissident Mikhailov, a man of rare charm. Maksimov and Maramzin hate me, as a left, red and still do not know what, Aksenov nice man, but a vicious and indifferent, Voinovich lived in Munich and is currently working at Princeton, and we only see each other at conferences. The amazing thing happened with Kirill Vladimirovich Kostsinskim. It is also in Austria threw wife Anne, he went to Harvard, was unheard of scholarship — 23,000 per year, in addition, he was given a free secretary to the dictionary of swearing, he married his secretary on behalf of Joanne, who 35 years old, became ill with lung cancer and is cured in a month. I recently saw him in Boston, he asked about Boria.

Donut (Donut Mechik — Father C. Dovlatova-approx.) Lives in New York City, next to Xan, who gave birth to his daughter Julia and her husband — Mischa Blank, who works in the airline "Pan Am" and gets a ton of money. Donat sorely lacking sophisticated theatrical society, young ladies, House of Arts and honor, to agree to a peaceful old age in a beautiful apartment, watching TV with a book / her own son / in hand, he does not want. It is printed in local newspapers, sometimes because of political myopia wrote: "… It was the happiest day of my life. I received an invitation to a banquet, attended personally, Comrade Zhdanov … ", however, he grumbles and scolds America for heat and infidel language.

I myself am British still do not know, somehow I can still read, but I speak very bad, lecture read a piece of paper, and if it suddenly began to speak to me, then I do not understand anything at all. Ill also the fact that most of my American friends — the Slavic or interpreters, and to them I say in Russian. TV watching / what helps / — in no time.

With alcoholism turned out. I first drank, then realized that soon is about, and then I was cured by some fantastic prick. This injection worked two years, then I is called — unleashed, it was in May, drank nine days traveling the haunts of vice, has done a lot of debt, then fainted from the torture, called the same doctor again and made me a shot. Now, again, do not drink. In general, there are few alcoholics / in our understanding of / and drink here is terrible, because the money is virtually no end, you can always get more, stores are always open, the bars are working around the clock, and the danger, the most real, lurk at every turn. Here and in the normal state scary ride around the city, so that the same is done with the man on the sixth day of a hangover! Brakes squeak, police cars roaring, roaring jazz everywhere, and go toward five blacks with painted haryami …

New York is indeed a dangerous city, but you get used to the feeling of danger, as it turned out, you can get used to, and it even gives life some attractive shade. I have two guns, home of the entrance is a halberd, which I had brought a friend from Spain, Lena went ahead in the subway with a gas tank, and now sits at home. Kate is afraid of nothing, comes back from hell in the morning. However, the boys are quite chivalrous, and all of them cars …

Kolya is very nice, all smiles, I recently left him in a wheelchair for half a minute, and when I came out of the store, I saw that it squeezes two elderly black woman shouting "Keys that E", which means — "Kiss Me, too!" …

Oh, I forgot to say about Sharymovu. When I survived the editorial, my supporters, too, were gone, and now Natalya very misery. In addition to all, dumped her live-in boyfriend. Now she no husband, no teeth, no job, no waist and homeless. Recently, Lena and I gave her the money. Once her partner Alex asked me, "Tell me what happened between Natalie and your older brother?". I said, "Alex, my older brother, really, was having an affair with Natasha, but you should not worry about it, because it happened a year before you were born …"

Now the works. I'm awfully long time nothing ever did, but yesterday went specifically to the area of accessibility, affordability, and Valeria Bors bought the jeans suit "Lee", jackets and trousers, also bought winter shoes for Sasha Zibunovoy, jeans for Tamara and different things. Tomorrow I'll buy a winter jacket with a hood for Sasha, I looked after her yesterday, but the money ran out, and send it soon, Tamara — air, so that Sasha had a birthday, and Bors and Valeria — the sea. I'm sorry if that is not the case. It would be necessary to send more, but somehow it does not come out to your every dollar on all sides stretched tentacles of capitalism, cash somehow disappear in a flash, they are full of reality on all sides you are looking at the right things, sticking out from everywhere bill today came the phone bill — and a huge bill from the Texas hospital where Katie month ago pulled a splinter from a finger …

Boris! I talked to a few / three, Russian doctors about your lupus. They all say that here she is treated badly, that uses the same prednizalonovye hormones that they committed the same as that of the Union. It is very well developed and surgery dentistry, and pharmacology is not much different from the Soviet one. For example, pain killers are weaker than in the Union, I realized that, when suffering from teeth. It is nothing to buy this medicine and send it at least through the fund Alik Ginzburg, they are engaged in such shipments is legal, but all the doctors say that it's pointless. I'm sorry that all this is true, and do not think that I am lazy or take time off …

Next, and this also applies to Bor, the case of this kind. We have learned that my mother bequeathed money / 1000 or so rubles /, or Nina Nikolaevna, or some of their common friend. This money is in the account number 01 71 12, in savings bank 1879,046, B. Prospect PS, 31. I rang the Owls. Mission of the United Nations and the Embassy and I realized that to get the money here will be difficult, and that a good lawyer would not engage in such nonsense. Then I called a friend and asked the notary, as the power of attorney is issued. It turned out that this is not a simple matter, we have to make a power of attorney in two languages to assure the signature at New York's notary, then at full-time, in Albany, and finally — in Washington. By Thursday, I will prepare the paper, even after they begin to send in these three instances, and then I'll send Bors this power of attorney. Boris will have to explain in a savings bank that profitable for them to pay the money in rubles and the Soviet man, than to give the non-Soviet currency to the person who will do this as a result. If anything happens out of this, it is advisable to split the money with Tamara, and Valeria treat vodka and sausages. Paper will refer to throughout the month for sure.

Well, it's time to finish, I love you very much, all of you endlessly talking about, you figure in many of my writings, and so on. If ever between the two countries will improve relations, I will hug you tight, to not lose hope. I also hope that my daughter Sasha ever see me with my grandmother, sister and younger brother. You are all dear to me as my family living with me. Tamara especially grateful for the friendship and all of you — for the feeling that I probably do not deserve, and which, nevertheless, constitute the happiness of my life. I embrace you, family and loved ones. And as the saying goes, do not think badly of me.

Valery, if your parcel will be something feminine, it's — for Tanya Yudina, no matter in what you do to her relationship.

All friends — hello. I'm good, bad and just what you do not.

I embrace. Your Sergei

July 12. (1982)


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