Mikhail Shishkin

© Evgeniya Frolkova

Mikhail Shishkin (1961) is a Russian writer. He is one of the most esteemed contemporary Russian authors who has won all the major literary prizes in his home country – even though he is one of the fiercest critics of Putin’s Russia and has been living in Switzerland since 1996. In 2000, Shishkin’s novel The Taking of Izmail (1999) won the Russian Booker Prize. Several prizes have also been awarded to Maidenhair (2005) – a novel that is considered by many the best example of Shishkin’s writing because it combines postmodern form games with a sincere look at timeless subjects. The changing of viewpoints and settings, where the writer moves from the autobiographical to the ancient world and back, is complemented by the credible emotional world of his characters. The description of the latter is notable in Letter Book (2010), which can easily be read as a genuine and emotional love story, where even war and separation are not obstacles. Love has an essential place in Shishkin’s world, but like with many Russian authors before him, it forms a part of a greater spirit that allows you to escape imprisonment with a sailboat drawn on a wall and find your own birthmarks on the body of your lover.