Andrey Baldin (Андрей Балдин) was born on 21 January 1958 in Moscow. An architect and a book designer, Baldin has published a number of non-fiction books, including Moscow. The City Painted in Proverbs (1997), Moscow Idle Days (2010) and Point Extended, the winner of the 2009 Big Book award. This is part of a project comprising essays about Russian writers and their travels.
Their joint “expedition” spans a hundred years, from Nikolay Karamzin’s first journey to Europe (1798—91) to Anton Chekhov’s 1890 trip to Sakhalin Island. That was a century of Russian classics gradually exploring the world, verbalising it, conjuring it up anew. The process of conquering the space with the word, while producing rich literary results, was full of contradictions, sometimes ending up with a text replacing a space. This total substitution can be observed in the writings of Leo Tolstoy, a figure positioned in the centre of the literary map of Russia, that most curious atlas composed of numerous countries and unexplored territories, some of them made up.
Viewing Russian literature at a “geographical” angle allows one to see its history in a new light and to distinguish in it a vast odyssey, a journey through the pages, with the evolution of national mental optics hidden behind it, waiting to be examined.
Featured Reading Group title:
Протяжение точки (Point Extended)
Point Extended, the first volume in the series, focuses on the starting leg of this literary journey, from Karamzin to Pushkin. Forthcoming sequels include a “travel” literary survey of the 1830s–40s and books on Tolstoy and Chekhov.
- This title features as part of our Spring-Summer 2013 Russian and Ukrainian Reading Group
- The full text of the book, which won the 2009 Big Book award, is available online. Here the author introduces a series opened with Point Extended. ‘Chapter One‘ is an extract (in Russian) from its forthcoming volume Five Questions for Leo Tolstoy.
- Sample translations from Andrey Baldin:
‘Chapter One‘, from Five Questions for Leo Tolstoy, translated by Anna Aslanyan
Extracts from Point Extended, translated by Kathryn Collins and Anna Aslanyan