The writer, whose name is now Boris Akunin, was born not far from the Kharagauli Park. I had written about Kharagauli Park in this blog not so long ago. Zestafoni, Kharagauli and Borjomi are located close to each other; however, Zestafoni is quite a busy town, which leads an urban way of life. People go there not for rest, but for work. Well, mostly.
He was born May 20, 1956 in the family of an officer of artillery Shalva Chkhartishvili and a teacher of Russian literature Bertha Brazinsky. However, when Grigory was 2 years old, his family moved to Moscow, where in 1963 young Chkhartishvili went to the first class of specialized English school, from which he graduated in 1973.
Long time before Chkartishlivi started his career of a writer and created the detective story of Fandorin, he worked as a translator for a long time, because after school he successfully graduated from the historical-philological department of the Institute of Asia and Africa of Moscow State University and got the diploma of historian-Japanologist.
Pay attention to one interesting thing: one of the leaders (though quite odious) of Russian monumental art is Zurab Tsereteli, and one of the leaders of Russian detectives is also Georgian — Boris Akunin.
So, after the Institute Akunin … (I mean at that time he was Chkhartishvili) began to translate. Have you heard of Yukio Mishima, Kenji Maruyama, Kobo Abe? I think those, who know these names, are intelligent and well-read people. During those times there were not so many smart Japanologists in Russia, so at first Chkhartishvili firmly took his niche. By the way, he did not disdain to English and American literature. He translated the works of such authors, as Peter Ustinov and Malcolm Bradbury:)
From 1994 till 2000 he worked as a deputy chief editor in popular magazine «Foreign literature». He also published a 20-volume «Anthology of Japanese Literature» as the chief editor and became chairman of the Pushkin Library «(the brainchild of the Soros Foundation).
In 1998 the idea to write his own prose came into his bright head. From that moment he began to create under the pen name Boris Akunin. Here lies one philosophical thing. The word «Akunin» in Japanese means «evil genius» or «evil». I do not know which variant is right, because I am not Japanologist and different sources give different information. He has efficiently divided 2 fields of his activities. It seems to me that he did the right thing. He published fiction as Boris Akunin and critical and documentary literature under his real name (Grigory Chkhartishvili).
In addition to «The Adventures of Erast Fandorin» he wrote “Sister Pelagia” series, “The Adventures of the magister «,» Genres » and he was the complier of of the collection » The cure for boredom» («Лекарство от скуки»).
Quite a long time Grigory-Boris was engaged in literature and he was successfully read by the public. This thing actually presented him as a writer. However, some time later he won the recognition of the powerful from different time zones.
The Japanese awarded him the Order of the Rising Sun in 2009. The ceremony took place at the Embassy of Japan. Several months after the awarding Akunin got the Award of Japan Foundation. As it turned out, the Japanese extremely highly appreciate the respectful treatment of their culture by foreigners!
However, not only culture. The first wife of Grigory Chkhartishvili was Japanese. They met in university where Akunin studied. His future wife studied at the same university at postgraduate course. Akunin kept secret their marriage, because during those times marriage between Japanologist and a Japanese woman could have caused a strong suspicion of the authorities: she could have been a spy. Or even worse. He could have been a spy. However, after 5 or 6 years the couple parted. According to Akunin, their relationship couldn’t have stand two equally strong personalities.
Second wife of a writer is his personal secretary Erica. Akunin haven’t got children yet.
Well, I can say that Akunin being sufficiently odious personality without ceremony criticized the current Russian government by suggesting the author’s plan of «amputinatsii» of Russia. During the Russo-Georgian conflict he even was about to become a target for persecution and disgrace.
What more can I say?
Fans of modern Russian cinema definitely know that “The State Counsellor” (“Статский советник”), “The Turkish Gambit” (“Турецкий гамбит”), “Pelagia and the White Bulldog” (“Пелагия и белый бульдог”), “The Winter Queen” (original title Azazel / Азазель) were filmed, which actually means the label «living legend». Once during an interview he open up and said: “It was easy to create Fandorin. I just took all the personalities of world literature, which were interesting for me, put together all the positive characteristics of them and put something of my own and began to wait when the character will live his life.»:)
Maybe for him it was easy to create, but not for me 🙂