Denezhkina, Irina 1981–
Denezhkina, Irina 1981–
PERSONAL: Born 1981, in Yekaterinburg, USSR (now Russia); daughter of publishing executives. Education: Attended Urals State University School of Journalism.
ADDRESSES: Home—Yekaterinburg, Russia. Agent—c/o Author Mail, Simon & Schuster, 1230 Avenue of the Americas, New York, NY 10020.
AWARDS, HONORS: Second Place, National Best Seller Award, Russia, 2002.
Denezhkina i Ko: antologiia prozy dvadtsatilethnikh, (title means "Denezhkina & Co."), Limbus (St. Petersburg, Russia), 2003.
SIDELIGHTS: Raised in a provincial Russian city, twenty-one-year-old Irina Denezhkina became an overnight literary sensation in 2002 with the release of Dai mne!, which was later translated as Give Me (Songs for Lovers). She began writing semiautobiographical stories as a teenager, but when she posted them on an obscure but respected Web site called www.prozu.ru., within a few days she was deluged by e-mails and had become well-known throughout Russia. Her Internet success won her a literary prize before her work even appeared in print. Give Me (Songs for Lovers) was a sellout in stores, and the author was soon touring Europe. Translations quickly appeared in Italy, England, and Germany, where the book also became a bestseller. Denezhkina's subject matter is the disaffected young people of modern Russia.
The author has been both celebrated and criticized for her style, which includes the viewpoints of multiple characters, and for her subject matter. Booklist critic Frank Caso explained that "the characters are mostly high-school and college age, apolitical, a bit confused, narcissistic." Kara Kellar Bell wrote online in New Review that "it is difficult to care about most of the people in this book." She added, "Perspective shifts among so many different people also leave the stories unfocused and wandering." On the other hand, Emily Johnson, reviewing the original Russian edition in World Literature Today, praised the book's "style, energy, and wit," and found the tone "buoyant rather than oppressive." Johnson praised the characters' language, which uses "slang expressions so new and vivid that they read almost like poetry … transliterated English curse words, chat-room abbreviations, and lines taken from the lyrics of recent popular songs."
BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:
Booklist, January 1, 2005, Frank Caso, review of Give Me (Songs for Lovers), p. 813.
Kirkus Reviews, December 1, 2004, review of Give Me (Songs for Lovers), p. 1103.
Library Journal, January 1, 2005, Tania Barnes, review of Give Me (Songs for Lovers), p. 94.
Publishers Weekly, January 10, 2005, review of Give Me (Songs for Lovers), p. 38.
World Literature Today, October-December, 2003, Emily Johnson, review of Give Me (Songs for Lovers), p. 130.
Countrybookshop.com, http://www.countrybookshop.com/ (March 17, 2005), review of Give Me (Songs for Lovers).
New Review Online, http://www.laurahird.com/newreview/newreview.html (March 17, 2005), Kara Kellar Bell, review of Give Me (Songs for Lovers).