Grushin, Olga 1971–
Grushin, Olga 1971–
PERSONAL: Born 1971, in Moscow, USSR (now Russia); immigrated to United States, 1989; naturalized U.S. citizen, 2002; daughter of Boris Grushin (a sociologist). Education: Studied at Pushkin Museum of Fine Arts, Moscow State University, and Emory University.
ADDRESSES: Home—Washington, DC. Agent—c/o Author Mail, G.P. Putnam's Sons Publicity, 375 Hudson St., New York, NY 10014.
The Dream Life of Sukhanov (novel), G.P. Putnam's Sons (New York, NY), 2005.
Contributor to periodicals, including Partisan Review, Massachusetts Review, and Art Times.
SIDELIGHTS: Olga Grushin is a Russian-born writer whose debut novel, The Dream Life of Sukhanov, was described by a Kirkus Reviews contributor as a "brilliant work from a newcomer who's already an estimable American writer." The protagonist, Anatoly Pavlovich Sukhanov, is the middle-aged editor of an art journal who enjoys a very comfortable life because he compromised his own art as a younger man in order to became part of the communist establishment. He is married to Nina, the daughter of a Russian art icon. Nina recognizes that her husband has sold out, as do his children, a son who is adept at his own career moves and a daughter whose devout liberalism is in direct contrast to her father's failure to hold fast to his earlier beliefs. He is losing his family, and his writing has deteriorated, causing him to fear that the Soviet authorities will take away his job and his perks. Edward Cone commented in Library Journal that this novel is more than a history of the authoritarian period preceding glasnost, calling it "a meditation on society, art, truth, and life…. Simply stunning."
In an interview with Barbara Hoffert for Library Journal, Grushin explained her experiences in thinking and writing in Russian and English. "The languages, while both beautiful, necessitate completely different approaches," said Grushin. "To me, Russian is the more emotional…. English has a richer vocabulary and, as such, is capable of wonderful precision and fine-tuning." Asked how she was able to so accurately portray Sukhanov, Grushin said that her father and his friends, many of them artists and writers, were of that same generation, and they sometimes had to make choices to ensure their survival. "The questions of courage and weakness, perseverance and betrayal, daily comfort and artistic immortality were very real concerns from my earliest years. I supposed Sukhanov is the fruit of my living with these questions for a long time."
BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:
Booklist, November 15, 2005, Michele Leber, review of The Dream Life of Sukhanov, p. 22.
Kirkus Reviews, October 15, 2005, review of The Dream Life of Sukhanov, p. 1101.
Library Journal, October 15, 2005, Edward Cone, review of The Dream Life of Sukhanov, p. 45; November 1, 2005, Barbara Hoffert, interview with Olga Grushin.
Publishers Weekly, October 17, 2005, review of The Dream Life of Sukhanov, p. 41.
Authortrek.com, http://www.authortrek.com/ (January 7, 2006), profile of Olga Grushin.