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Nikolaj Lilin: ital'janskij jazyk russkogo pisatelja


Nicolai Lilin's “Siberian Education”, a shocking tale of the author's youth among the Siberian bandits occupying a separate neighborhood in the Transnistria town of Bendery, was a huge success on the Italian book market and was translated in most European languages. Substantial doubts were raised, however, about the truthfulness of the account. The book is written in Italian, but numerous passages show traces of a mediocre translation from the Russian, while others are impeccable. The text, thus, must have been polished by the editors, but only to a certain extent. It may be argued that this was a deliberate choice: the “rough”, strange language serves as proof of the author's origins, and consequently as a proof of the truthfulness of the narrative as a whole. The shocking tale of violence, set in an exotic location, needs an exotic language. A text in good Italian, for an immigrant writer, would have been a bad marketing move.