Sergei Dovlatov

Sergei Dovlatov

Sergei Donatovich Dovlatov (Mechik) (Russian: ?????? ????????? ???????? (?????) September 3, 1941-August 24, 1990) was a Russian short-story writer and novelist.

Dovlatov was born on September 3, 1941 in Ufa, Republic of Bashkiria, where his family had been evacuated during World War II from Leningrad. His mother is Armenian and his father is Jewish. After 1945 he lived with his family in Leningrad (now St. Petersburg). Dovlatov studied at the Finnish Department of Leningrad State University, but flunked after two and a half years. He was drafted into the Soviet Army and served as a prison guard in high-security camps. Later, he earned his living as a journalist in various newspapers and magazines in Leningrad and then as a correspondent of the Tallinn newspaper "Soviet Estonia". He supplemented his income by being a summer tour guide in the Pushkin preserve, a museum near Pskov. Dovlatov wrote prose fiction, but his numerous attempts to get published in the Soviet Union were in vain . The set of his first book was destroyed under the order of the KGB. In 1976, some stories by Dovlatov had been published in Western Russian-language magazines, including "Continent", "Time and us", resulting in his expulsion from the Union of Journalists of the USSR.

In 1979 Dovlatov emigrated from the Soviet Union with his mother, Nora, and came to live with his wife and daughter in New York, where he later co-edited "The New American", a liberal, Russian-language emigre newspaper. In the mid 80's, Dovlatov finally achieved recognition as a writer, being printed in the prestigious magazine "The New Yorker". Dovlatov died on August 24, 1990 in New York and was buried at the Mount Hebron Cemetery.

Sergei Dovlatov published twelve books in the USA and Europe during his twelve years as an immigrant. In the Soviet Union, the writer was known from Samizdat and Radio Liberty. After his death and the fall of the Soviet Union, numerous collections of his short stories were finally published in Russia making him one of the best loved Russian writers of the second half of the 20th century.

Quotes: "One can revere Tolstoy's mind. Delight in Pushkin's finesse. Appreciate the spiritual quest of Dostoyevsky. Gogol's humor. And so on. Yet Chekhov is the only one I would want to resemble."

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