Indeed. The intelligent society from the time of Fazil's formation tried to delimitate into three separate branches of one common river called the homeland (if you like, then with a capital letter). Homeland … Some, disdaining the regime, sharply expressed their "feh" to him, as a result of which they ended up behind bars or in exile. Others clearly surrendered to the regime, believing that life is really given to a person only once. Still others put it on all "with a device", plunging into the physical and spiritual abysses: "all the same there is a war", "there is no happiness in life", "we will drink to our hopeless business", "our day" Fazilya took a different path, and this one turned out to be, if not the main one, then at least constructive, providing a free flow of time and life. Just to live, shrinking exactly to the limit beyond which the disastrous disintegration of the personality and, accordingly, the country begins, the characters of Fazil tried, intended, wanted, and sometimes could, and, possibly, the author himself. Fazil Iskander and Bella Akhmadulina. Photo from the archive of Evgeny Popov. It is possible that from the heights of modern times remote from the "Brezhnev era", someone will want to condemn him, and them, and all of us who lived and survived under the Soviets, but this is a completely hopeless matter: what has passed, that already at this hour, day and year not, and someone else's experience will certainly be useful even to those "untethered" of the new generation of writers and readers who confuse Solzhenitsyn with Prilepin and Ulitskaya with Petrushevskaya. At least the experience of self-preservation may well be useful in new conditions or the skills of a utilitarian writing craft, which is one of the main components of an arbitrarily restless human-writer's nature. After all, writing is a business that you either own or don't, and everything else in this context is bullshit, including the indistinct but traditional "moral preaching" of neophytes or the boring, shocking eruptions of ageless literary adolescents, which have become an indispensable component of the new "average literature ", which replaced the sagas about honest Komsomol members thirsting for truth and justice within the confines of a single" socialism with a human face. " The joy of life, the joy of a feast, the joy of love, the joy of reading, the joy of writing and "pain, pain, pain everywhere" - these are the lessons that teacher Fazil could teach to those who opened their ears, opened their eyes, not deafened by that Mandelstam's "noise of time", which is now amplified to the decibel of disco. And he wrote all his life the same way he lived. I always wrote one huge book, where both "Sandro from Chegem" and "Chick's Childhood" are just fragments, just a part of the world he has built and suffered through, that very own space that every writer of his scale and significance creates. In this space, time undergoes strange changes and some long gone day when the boy Chik was happy is much closer to me, a Russian reader, than what is seen outside my window or on the TV screen, which I occasionally watch. And the space in his space is not distorted, but exactly what is also changed. A city with a fictitious name Mukhus and a small mountain Abkhazian village magically contain the rest of the world with its passions and peace, villains and saints, idealists and swindlers, love and hate, which is why they will now forever occupy a certain place on the literary globe, bordering on Falkner's Jokhnopatof or the Latin American possessions of Marquez. "It may seem like some kind of antics or blasphemy, but I rarely remember what year I live. No, what country I live in, I always remember. And what year I live, I never remember," Fazil begins …"My head is the last bastion of defense against civilization. And it still spews out and throws away its annoying visitors from itself. In the bastion of my head, the last dozen Chegemians (it seems that only there it remained) protects it from climbing from all sides, climbing, crawling into all the cracks of evil spirits … "- continues Fazil. "If you have nothing to saw your chains with, spit on them, maybe they will rust," Fazil concludes, thus clarifying the famous formula of his senior colleague Leo Tolstoy that the KINGDOM OF GOD IS INSIDE US. "But those who consider him naive will be greatly disappointed, or even “not of this world.” It is just that “some people have a large place in their heads for storage facilities, and the engine room occupies a rather modest place. And others, like me, have a very large machine room in their heads, and it crowds out storage facilities, "he explained everything that happened to him. Fazil Iskander and Bella Akhmadulina visiting Evgeny Popov. Photo from E. Popov's archive. Rereading Fazil and enjoying the impeccably executed HUMAN TEXT, getting acquainted with the manuscripts of students of the Literary Institute or meetings of young writers, I come to a consoling conclusion: in my opinion, in a completely new Russian literature there is a return to traditions, RETURN TO FASIL. To the point that an artist today is not a painter, but one who has taken off his pants in public, a writer who cannot connect two intelligible words, a filmmaker whose camera is shaking. them allowed “creative art.” And, it seems, only now comes the understanding that “I remember a wonderful moment” is still more important than “Dy r bul schyl ubesshchur ", and" Sistine Madonna "is BETTER than" Black Square ", with all due respect to the experimenters, jokers and gimmicks. I do not take into account modern businessmen from literature.