Boris Akunin

Boris Akunin (Russian: Борис Акунин) is the pen name of Grigory Shalvovich Chkhartishvili (Григорий Шалвович Чхартишвили), born May 20, 1956, a Russian essayist, literary translator, and fiction writer. He was born in Tbilisi into a Georgian family, and since 1958 has lived in Moscow. "Akunin" (悪人) is a Japanese word that translates loosely to "villain". In his novel "Diamond Chariot", the author defines an "akunin" further as one who creates his own rules. The pseudonym "B. Akunin" also alludes to the anarchist Mikhail Alexandrovich Bakunin and to Akuna, Anna Akhmatova's home name.

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 and became a Japanologist. He worked as assistant to the editor-in-chief of the magazine Foreign Literature, however at the beginning of October 2000 left there to work in fiction.

As Grigory Chkhartishvili, he is editor-in-chief of the 20-volume "Anthology of Japanese literature", chairman of the board of a megaproject "Pushkin library " (Soros Fund), and the author of the book "The Writer and Suicide" (Moscow, The New Literary Review, 1999), literary criticism, and translations from Japanese, American and English literature.

Under the pseudonym Boris Akunin he has written several works of fiction, mainly novels and stories in the following series: "Adventures of Erast Fandorin", "The Adventures of Sister Pelagia" and "The Adventures of the Master". 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.

In 2000 Boris Akunin was nominated for the Smirnoff-Booker prize. In September of 2000, Akunin was named the Russian Writer of the Year and was the winner of the literary prize "Antibooker" for 2000 for the novel Crowning or Coronation, or the last of the Romanovs.

Erast Fandorin books have been published in Italy, France, Japan, the U.S., Poland, Estonia, Germany and in other countries.

In late 2003 The British Crime Writers' Association announced its short lists for its Dagger Awards 2003. Boris Akunin's The Winter Queen was shortlisted in the category Gold & Silver Daggers for Fiction.

Two Fandorin novels, Turkish Gambit and The State Councillor, were made into big-budget movies which broke Russian box-office records in 2005.

Erast Fandorin - (dates are for the setting of the narrative not pub. dates)
The Winter Queen, original title Azazel / Азазель (1876): The 20-year old Fandorin begins his career by accidentally stumbling over a world-domination plot.
The Turkish Gambit / Турецкий гамбит (1877) : The story is set before the backdrop of the Russo-Turkish War, in particular the Siege of Pleven.
Murder on the Leviathan / Левиафан (1878) : The third novel in the series, though the second one released in English. Set on a steamship headed from England to India.
The Death of Achilles / Смерть Ахиллеса (1882) : 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) : Fandorin hunts down a clever gang of swindlers.
The Decorator / Декоратор (1889) [6]: 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.
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 is 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
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 : 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.
The Seagull / Чайка, Комедия в двух действиях: a reworking of Anton Chekhov's Seagull as a mystery
Comedy/Tragedy (the Tragedy is also known as "Hamlet, by B. Akunin," with "Mirror of Saint Germain" being the alternate name for the Comedy.)
Ying and Yan (a play about Erast Fandorin, set in 1882).
Fairy Tales for Idiots / Сказки для Идиотов (a collection of short stories, not related to any of the series).

 New series
In December 2007, a new Akunin series will debut in Russia, Brüderschaft with Death (Смерть на брудершафт). Brüderschaft (a "brotherhood toast") is a German drinking tradition. The new series is referred to by the author as a "cinematic novel". It was written with the expectiation to be made into a motion picture, but the plans for a screen adaptation fell through[11]. The series will consist of ten novellas, or "films". The unifying theme is espionage during World War I. There will be two principal characters, a German superspy Sepp von Theofels (first introduced in the Spy Novel) and his upstart Russian adversary Alexei Romanov (likely, the same person as General Oktyabrsky from the Spy Novel). The first book of the series will contain two novellas, An Infant And A Demon (Младенец и черт) and Sufferings of a Broken Heart (Мука разбитого сердца).

 Future plans
As Akunin has indicated in interviews, the Sister Pelagia series is finished (only three books were ever planned) while the other three projects will continue. In particular, he plans to write three more Erast Fandorin books. Two of them will be novels: one will take place around 1913 or 1914 (and may be about Rasputin), the other during the Russian Civil War. The final book of the series will be another collection of short stories and novellas, similar in structure to Jade Rosary and take place entirely during the 20th century.

There will also be at least one more book about Nicholas Fandorin. Akunin has indicated that he already has the plot thought out and that this fourth book of the series may also be the last.

The Genres project will continue as well. Children's Book 2 (Детская книга-2), featuring Angelina, Nicolas Fandorin's 10-year-old daughter, may be the next installment.

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