Boris Akunin ( _ru. Борис Акунин) is the pen name of Grigory Shalvovich Chkhartishvili ( _ru. Григорий Шалвович Чхартишвили; _ka. გრიგოლ ჩხარტიშვილი) (born May 20, 1956) is a Russian essayist, literary translator and author of detective fiction. "Akunin" (悪人) is a Japanese word that translates loosely to "villain". In his novel "The Diamond Chariot", the author redefines an "akunin" as one who creates his own rules. The pseudonym "B. Akunin" also alludes to the anarchist Mikhail Alexandrovich Bakunin and to "Akuna", the home name of poet Anna Akhmatova.
=Life and career=Chkhartishvili was born in Tbilisi to a Georgian father and Jewish mother, and since 1958 has lived in Moscow. Influenced by Japanese Kabuki theatre, he joined the historical-philological branch of the Institute of the Countries of Asia and Africa of Moscow State University as an expert on Japan. He worked as assistant to the editor-in-chief of the magazine "Foreign Literature", but left in October 2000 to pursue a career as a fiction writer.
Under his given name of Grigory Chkhartishvili, he serves as editor-in-chief of the 20-volume "Anthology of Japanese Literature", chairman of the board of a large "Pushkin Library " (Soros Fund), and is the author of the book "The Writer and Suicide" (Moscow, The New Literary Review, 1999). He has also contributed literary criticism and translations from Japanese, American and English literature under his own name.
Under the pseudonym "Boris Akunin", he has written several works of fiction, mainly novels and stories in the series "The Adventures of Erast Fandorin", "The Adventures of Sister Pelagia" and "The Adventures of the Master" (following Nicholas Fandorin, Erast's grandson). Akunin's specialty is historical mysteries set in Imperial Russia. It was only after the first books of the Fandorin series were published to critical acclaim that the identity of "B. Akunin" (i.e., Chkhartishvili) was revealed.
Awards and honors
In 2000 Akunin was nominated for the Smirnoff-Booker Prize. In September 2000, Akunin was named "Russian Writer of the Year" and won the "Antibooker" prize in 2000 for his Erast Fandorin novel "Coronation, or the last of the Romanovs".
In 2003 the British Crime Writers' Association placed Akunin's novel "The Winter Queen" on the short list for the Dagger Award in Fiction.
List of Works
*Erast Fandorin - (dates are for the setting of the narrative, not publication)
*#"The Winter Queen", original title Azazel / Азазель (1876): The 20-year old Fandorin begins his career by accidentally stumbling over a plot for world domination. [http://akunin.ru/knigi/fandorin/erast/azazel/]
*#"The Turkish Gambit" / Турецкий гамбит (1877) [http://akunin.ru/knigi/fandorin/erast/turetsky_gambit/] : The story is set before the backdrop of the Russo-Turkish War, in particular the Siege of Pleven.
*#"Murder on the Leviathan" / Левиафан (1878) [http://akunin.ru/knigi/fandorin/erast/leviafan/] : The third novel in the series, but the second released in English. Set on a steamship headed from England to India.
*#"The Death of Achilles" / Смерть Ахиллеса (1882) [http://akunin.ru/knigi/fandorin/erast/smert_ahillesa/] : The story unwinds from the death of Mikhail Skobelev (called "Sobolev" in the novel) in a Moscow hotel.
*#"The Jack of Spades" / Пиковый валет (1886) [http://akunin.ru/knigi/fandorin/erast/pikovyi_valet/] : Fandorin hunts down a clever gang of swindlers.
*#"The Decorator" / Декоратор (1889) [http://akunin.ru/knigi/fandorin/erast/dekorator/] : After ending his string of murders in England, Jack the Ripper surfaces in Moscow.
*#"The State Counsellor" / Статский советник (1891): Political terrorism in late 19th-century Russia takes center stage.
*#"The Coronation" / original title "Coronation, or the Last of the Romanovs" (Коронация, или Последний из Романов) (1896): The plot surrounds the ascension of Tsar Nicholas II.
*#"She Lover of Death" / Любовница смерти (1900): A decadent suicide society causes a stir in Moscow.
*#"He Lover of Death" / Любовник Смерти (1900): Set in the slums of Khitrovka, Moscow.
*#"The Diamond Chariot" / Алмазная колесница (1905 / 1878): Events of the Russo-Japanese War of 1905 set against a flashback to Fandorin's diplomatic service in Yokohama.
*#"Jade Rosary" / Нефритовые четки (alternative title translation -- Jade Rosary Beads) (a collection of short stories and novellas set in the 19th century): Some of the "holes" in the canon are filled, including Fandorin's service in Japan, his investigations in the 1880s while a Deputy for Special Assignments in the Moscow city administration and his adventures in America.
"The Jack of Spades" and "The Decorator" were published together in a single volume, "Special Assignments".
*Sister Pelagia: A series about a crime-solving nun in turn-of-the-20th-century provincial Russia.
**Pelagia and the White Bulldog / Пелагия и белый бульдог [http://akunin.ru/knigi/pelagia/pelagia_i_belyi_buldog/]
**Pelagia and the Black Monk / Пелагия и черный монах
**Pelagia and the Red Rooster / Пелагия и красный петух
*Nicholas Fandorin: A series of adventure novels about Erast Fandorin's grandson, a modern-day British historian.
**"Altyn Tolobas" / Алтын-толобас [http://akunin.ru/knigi/fandorin/nikolas/altyn-tolobas/] : Nicholas visits Russia in 1995 while a story of his 17th-century ancestor is told in alternating chapters.
**"Extracurricular Reading"/ Внеклассное чтение: Nicholas' adventures in Moscow in 2001 are told together with a story of yet another ancestor, this one set in the end of Catherine the Great's reign.
**"F.M.": Nicholas is looking for a lost Dostoevsky manuscript.
*The Genres Project (novels written in different fiction genres, each book's title refers to the particular genre)
**Children's Book / Детская книга: Erast Fandorin Jr. (Nicholas' ten-year-old son) goes on a time-travelling adventure.
**Spy Novel / Шпионский роман: Set in 1941, just before Hitler's invasion of the Soviet Union.
**Science Fiction / Фантастика: Two young men cope with their mysteriously acquired superpowers in the Soviet Union's dying days.
*Brüderschaft with Death: A "cinematic novel", written as a collection of ten novellas ("films") about the rivalry between Russian and German intelligence during World War I. Each "film" is written in a different cinematic genre. There are two main characters in the series: Alexei Romanov and Sepp von Theofels.
**"An Infant and A Demon" / Младенец и черт. Comedy: July 1914. A German ace of espionage is trying to steal the plans of Russian military operations, as a young St. Petersburg student unexpectedly interferes.
**"The Torment of a Broken Heart" / Мука разбитого сердца. Melodrama: November 1914. Junior sergeant Alexei Romanov, sent away from the front after being wounded, takes part in an operation in Switzerland, where Russian intelligence is attempting to neutralize a "dealer in secrets."
**"The Flying Elephant" / Летающий слон. Aeronautic adventures: April 1915. Captain von Theofels infiltrates Russia's Special Aviation Corps in order to sabotage the development of the world's first heavy bomber, the Sikorsky Ilya Muromets.
**"Children of the Moon" / Дети Луны. A decadent étude: August 1915. Ensign Romanov, fresh after completing the Russian General Staff's counter-intelligence course, goes undercover into a Petrograd society of young decadents. One of the members is about to transfer a copy of secret military documents to a German spy.
*The Seagull / Чайка, Комедия в двух действиях: a reworking of Anton Chekhov's "Seagull" as a mystery [http://akunin.ru/knigi/prochee/chaika/]
*Comedy/Tragedy (the "Tragedy" is also known as "Hamlet", by B. Akunin," with "Mirror of Saint Germain" being the alternate name for the "Comedy".)
*Yin and Yang (a play about Erast Fandorin, set in 1882).
*Fairy Tales for Idiots / Сказки для Идиотов [http://akunin.ru/knigi/prochee/skazki/] (a collection of short stories, not related to any of the series).
Two Fandorin novels, " [http://www.gambitfilm.ru/ Turkish Gambit] " and " [http://www.statskyfilm.ru The State Councillor] ", were made into big-budget movies which broke Russian box-office records in 2005Fact|date=April 2008.
In November 2007, AST, one of the publishing houses with which Akunin is affiliated, came out with an historical mystery novel by a new author, Anatoly Brusnikin, called Девятный спас ("Devyatny Spas", The Ninth Savior). Despite the fact that Brusnikin was a complete unknown, AST spent lavishly on an advertising campaign for the book, which almost immediately resulted in rumors that Brusnikin could actually be Akunin in a new disguise.
The novel is set in the late 17th and early 18th centuries (in the beginning of the reign of Peter the Great) and centers around three young Russians, a nobleman, a priest's son and a peasant, getting involved in an investigation of a regicidal plot. Despite Akunin's denials, the literary devices used by the author and the language of the novel give reason to believe that he may indeed have been involved in its creation. The rumors are also fueled by the total secrecy which surrounds the person of the author and the fact that his name, A. O. Brusnikin, is an exact anagram of Boris Akunin. AST has also released a photograph of Brusnikin, which appears to be either of a young Chkhartishvili or a computer-generated composite of several portraits, including his own. [http://kp.ru/daily/24067.3/306445]
As Akunin has indicated in interviews, the Sister Pelagia series is finished (only three books were ever planned) while the other four projects will continue. In particular, he plans to write at least three more Erast Fandorin books, including another collection of short stories and novellas, similar in structure to "Jade Rosary" and taking place entirely during the 20th century.The next Fandorin novel, according to Akunin, will take place in Central Asia and may come out sometime in 2009.
There will also be at least one more book about Nicholas Fandorin. Akunin has indicated that he already has the plot thought out (it will involve pirates) and that the fourth book of the series may also be the last.
The Genres project will continue as well. The next installment will be "Quest" (Квест), a computer-game-based novel. It will come out in the fall of 2008 and will be set in 1930. "Children's Book 2" (Детская книга-2), featuring Angelina, Nicholas Fandorin's 10-year-old daughter, is also in the plans.
The Alexei Romanov/Sepp von Theofels series will end after 10 novellas. The names and genres of the next two ("films" 5 and 6) are already known:
5. "The Elder" (Cтарец). From the mores of high society. (The novella will focus on a Rasputin-like figure).
6. "Let the Thunder of Victory Rumble" (Гром победы, раздавайся). A battlefield sketch. (The events take place during the Brusilov Offensive).
The remaining four novellas will be about, in chronological order, the sinking of the Russian battleship Imperatritsa Mariya, the attempt on the life of the Czar, the German operation to transport Lenin to Russia in a "sealed train", and the Women's Battalion of Death.
*ru icon [http://akunin.ru/ Akunin's site] (contains the full text of ten novels)
*ru icon [http://www.fandorin.ru/ Fandorin.ru] Official Site of Erast Fandorin and other Akunin characters
*ru icon [http://erastimes.8m.net/ The Erast P. Fandorin Virtual Museum]
* [http://www.akunin.net Akunin.net] Akunin's published books in Russian, English, German and French
* [http://www.timesonline.co.uk/article/0,,23116-1721532,00.html Times online interview with Boris Akunin]
* [http://www.russia-ic.com/culture_art/literature/236/ Boris Akunin: the Evil Spirit or Good Luck of Modern Russian Fiction?]
*2002 AEI [http://www.aei.org/docLib/20030104_ro.pdf paper] analyzing Akunin's works
* [http://www.lib.ru/RUSS_DETEKTIW/BAKUNIN/ Russian library] site containing the full texts of most of Akunin's novels, including all three Pelagia novels, two Nicholas Fandorin novels, and all Erast Fandorin novels except the most recent, "Jade Rosary Beads"
Источник: Boris Akunin