<!DOCTYPE HTML PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.01 Transitional//EN"> <html> <head> <title>Webseite von Anna Sokhrina ... Biographie</title> <meta http-equiv="content-type" content="text/html; charset=iso-8859-15"> <meta name = "description" content = "Webpage von Anna Sokhrina. 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Practically speaking, every writer spends a lifetime doing just that -- through his books. His literary output is, in fact, his autobiography, notwithstanding that an author will often seek anonymity by hiding behind the heroes of his works. But he and his compositions are one, for everything he writes is expressed exclusively through him. <br>&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;An author wishing to write her full autobiography would thus have to publish a complete anthology of her works, whereas for an abridged version certain landmarks of her life, its extrinsic aspects, would suffice. But I will be taking yet another, third approach. <br>&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;I was born in Saint Petersburg in 1958, into a family of what people then called working-class intellectuals. My mother was an engineer, and my father an anesthesiologist. He worked for many years in the oncological surgery institute in Pesochnoe, a resort suburb of what was then Leningrad, where I grew up and finished school. I was everywhere surrounded by the staff of that sizeable medical center, my classmates parents. Pesochnoe in those days was a rather interesting little town; on the whole its residents were of the intelligentsia  medical and military. (There was also an officer s village there.) We had many children of doctors and army officers in our class. Ever since then I have had little tolerance for the military, while I hold doctors near and dear. <br>&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;When I married at age nineteen and gave birth to a son, my parents pooled their resources and bought us a cooperative in one of Saint Petersburg's up-and-coming neighborhoods, Rzhevka-Porokhovie. Even there I could not break with my old habits of gravitating exclusively to medical personnel. I very soon found myself a couple of doctors, young moms from the neighboring houses, and we became close friends. I sometimes regret not having myself pursued a medical career. Well, it is said that doctors heal bodies and writers souls. But bodies and souls are so inextricably linked, after all. <br>&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;My literary abilities derive, most likely, from my father s side. Overall I am, as my mother was wont to say in fits of anger, of the "Sokhrin breed". I found confirmation of that many years later in the words of a renowned psychic. "Perhaps you know," he said, "that genetically you completely take after your father." <br>&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;The Sokhrins are a talented bunch. My paternal grandfather, a conservatory graduate, was director of a military orchestra. His sister, my aunt Simona, the heroine of many of my stories, was likewise a musician and vocalist. She was a vivacious, ingenuous, radiant personality, with a precise, all-cognizant gaze. Much of what I received from her I have committed to paper. Regrettably we rarely see each other now, living as we do in different German cities, but Simona is the inspiration behind many of my literary themes. <br>&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;When my father was almost thirty he wrote a short story, "The Hardest Day," about one of his colleagues, a fellow Jew and a brilliant surgeon in his forties, who returned home after a ten-hour operation and dropped dead of a heart attack at the feet of his pregnant wife. It is a factually accurate account down to its subtlest nuances; a bitter documentary, like life itself. Papa entered that story in a writing contest promoted by an advanced theatrical writing program in Moscow that just happened to be actively recruiting at that time, and he was accepted. But Papa did not go, for he would have had to move to a different city, leave his family, and live on a stipend. My mother too was against the idea, of course. I was not yet three years old at that time. <br>&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;Interestingly, I myself later had a very similar experience. At a seminar for young writers I happened upon a bulletin board notice announcing that an advanced theatrical course in Moscow was recruiting applicants to its screenwriting course for documentary and popular scientific films. Their terms required that I send samples of my work. I had already by that time written, in addition to short stories, popular-scientific reviews for Detgizovsky s collection, "I Want to Know Everything." (The reader may remember it.) <br>&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;Paperwork in hand, I cornered a friend of mine. "I have a family, an infant -- I cannot go. This could open doors to your future. How about it?" He stared back at me, imploringly. "But I ve written nothing written of that genre." <br>&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;I gave him my compositions. He amended first person singular feminine to masculine everywhere, with the result that he was accepted. I would often visit him at school in Moscow, and we would see films together. I would shout myself hoarse in the student dormitory, and after imbibing my fill of the creative spirit of the place I would then return to my day-to-day affairs& But why I am telling you all this? Because when one recalls the past, it is just such details that come to mind. In the end, each of our lives in its entirety is just a single monolithic detail. <br>&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;My father s family was creative, if a bit slovenly, whereas the members of my mother s family, being predominantly engineers, were more proper, but were even so not lacking in bustle or warmth. I grew up in that family -- they raised me and made me what I am. While my parents struggled to define their relationship (they eventually divorced when I was eleven), I lived with my grandmother and grandfather in a huge, partitioned apartment on Marat Street. As Rosenbaum later sang, "I once was happy on Marat Street." <br>&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;My parents divorced. My father had been taking correspondence courses at the Institute of Culture, and after marrying a woman from Norilsk he moved to that city and worked as deputy director of the local theater. My father is a whole chapter unto himself, however, and I plan someday to write it. But I have already presented it in different guises, especially following my father s death at the young age of sixty-four. As I get older I discover within myself more and more of his character traits. He was an enlightened, kind, generous, and talented human being, although he lacked direction, "with nothing upstairs," as my grandmother used to say, sighing. I should add, however, that he was remarkably handsome, and that all his children, of which he had four from various marriages, are likewise all highly attractive and talented. What else could one ask for? <br>&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;As for my mother s family, well, my grandfather raised me, actually. My entire childhood is bound up with him, and for all that is good in me I am indebted to him, Fadei Moiseyevitch Elkonin, my maternal grandfather. To him I dedicated the story "My Emigration," because while writing it I all along felt I was hearing his voice within me, reminding me of his stories, his smile, his intonation. My grandfather was a military engineer, a naval officer, captain of the first rank. He had made it through the war, had been in numerous campaigns including the legendary Nevsky Pyatachok, and returned alive and intact. Of his seven brothers, a once grand and extremely amicable Jewish family, only three survived, including him. <br>&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;His story as told to me by my grandmother has lived invisibly inside of me since my childhood. Upon returning from the front in 1945, grandfather went immediately to Belarus, to his native village Mstislavl (not far from Gomel), to learn what fate had befallen his closest family. His mother and father, and his older brother Nema with his family, had all lived In Mstislavl, subsequently occupied by the Germans. Before the war the town had had a large Jewish population, for the boundary line demarcating the pale passed directly through it. Returning from Mstislavl a pale shadow of himself, he collapsed on the sofa and lay there for three days. From the war itself, of which he had survived the most violent battles, including that of the infamous Nevsky Pyatachok, grandfather had returned with his full head of luxurious brunette hair no worse for the experience. But when he rose from that couch, he was already completely, prematurely gray. <br>&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;For two days he had walked the expanse of his native town. For two days, he had searched for witnesses to what had happened there. <br>&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;Russian neighbors who remained in Mstislavl told him how the Germans had rounded up all the Jews in the town square. They gave them shovels, forced them to dig a trench, and shot them summarily with short shot bursts, in order to save ammunition. When the trench had been hastily covered over with dirt, they gave strict orders that no one was to go anywhere near it. The earth over that trench continued to heave for three days and nights; groans could be heard coming from below. The townsfolk further told of a woman s voice calling all the while in a murmur that grew ever more frail, "Nema, Nema& " <br>&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;Mindful of that story, I will never be able to live in Germany fully at peace. Then again, virtually every Jewish family, if only one were to ask, has a similar story to tell. <br>&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;It was my mother, when we applied for German residency, who said, "The Germans buried my grandmother alive. And you want me to live in Germany?" <br>&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;But live we do. <br>&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;In 2001 I won first prize in an American literary competition for my short story "On the Road to the Dead Sea." The story deals with that very same question -- the internal struggles of American and Israeli Jews who, looking spitefully inward, ask themselves: "How can a Jew live in Germany?" It is such a difficult question to answer. From Dina Rubina s light hand my story has been reprinted in a host of Russian language editions the world over, wherever a Jewish diaspora exists. <br>&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;The story has earned wide acclaim, but I cherish one remark, in particular. I was invited to appear in Koblenz. I should mention that by a strange twist of fate that small German town has more than its share of former Saint Petersburg residents. We grew close, and I would go there to read every year, whenever I had written something new. On this particular occasion they seated me not on stage, but in the audience. The organizer of the event, her eyes gleaming mysterious and triumphant, whispered to me that I was in for a wonderful surprise. When the curtain finally rose we watched, in succession, stage adaptations of two of my stories, "Frau Katz and Frau Fogel" and "Circumcision." I was moved and amused along with the rest of the audience, experiencing, in truth, a kind of pleasant disbelief. Could I really write like that? <br>&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;The next day they gave me their best Russian-speaking tour guide, a former professor of genetics in Kiev, who took me on a sightseeing tour of the city. It was January; the weather was dismally frigid, with a howling wind and bonechilling cold. As the professor went on and on about Koblenz s heroic history, I coughed, blew my nose, went through an entire box of Kleenex, and repeatedly begged him to show some mercy and conclude his endless tale over a hot cup of tea and rum in some warm cafe. The professor was adamant, however, replying passionately that that part of the city was simply a must-see. In the space of an hour s walk in that icy wind I knew that I had begun to hate him in my heart. Well, the end of it was that I finally took decisive action. Sick as a dog and coughing like one, I threw myself against the door of the nearest inn and collapsed at the first table I could find. A half hour later, when I had finally returned to my own over three cups of steaming tea, the professor stared at me pensively and uttered the following words that made my heart race. <br>&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;"You know, Anna," he said, stirring his tea with deliberation and bringing his aging, wrinkled face close to mine. "Why, your  On the Road to the Dead Sea is a letter that any one of us might have written to himself." <br>&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;Upon hearing those words I immediately forgave him for everything. (But I ve again digressed; all those particulars are so very special to my heart. Well, getting back to my autobiography& ) <br>&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;My grandfather was the mainstay of my childhood, and I loved him dearly. When I was born my mother and grandmother went off to work, and my grandfather retired to stay home with me. He was straight out of Sholem Aleichem  Tevye the Dairyman, a man fiercely dedicated to his children and family. At the same time Grandpa was uncommonly kind, wise, and optimistic. He rocked each of his grandchildren on his knee, sang them songs, and told family anecdotes. When many, many years later my five-year-old son one day started babbling, "Grandpa Fyodi had seven brothers: Nathan, Leva, Zyama, Yosif& " I was overcome by a feeling of kinship that penetrated me through and through, that continuity of familial love that would never, ever allow us to abandon a family member under any circumstances. Moreover, I knew that we owed it all to Grandpa. <br>&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;"I help relatives first, then all my fellow Jews, and, finally, everyone else& " said Grandpa. I once quoted those words in the heat of a polemic during a talk I was giving in the Jewish community. When I saw how so many faces in the audience warmed to them  a different, more benevolent air had now replaced the aggressive stance reigning earlier in that hall  I knew I had offered them something very special. <br>&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;My grandfather s most salient character traits were his wisdom and his innate kindness. I saw how his coworkers and former army mates loved him for that. Every year on May Ninth, Victory Day, he would take me to meet his fellow war veterans. What a touching, inspiring sight it was! They would hug, exchange back slaps, shoot the breeze, drink to the occasion, and remember their fallen comrades. It was an atmosphere of truth, of genuine and profound mutual understanding and love. Everyone loved grandpa, and I, then only a small girl, was immensely proud of him. <br>&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;Grandpa lived to the ripe old age of 86. In 1992 I gave birth to my daughter Arkadia. I was immersed in astrology at that time, devouring every horoscope I could find, and trying to determine what my child, born under the sign of Scorpio, would be like. <br>&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;One horoscope spoke of how a Scorpio, before coming to the world, saps the universe of so much energy that within a year before the child is born, or sometime within the following year in any case, some other family member must give way. I refused to believe it then, for the whirlwind of maternal joy had clouded my vision. But within that year Grandpa died. Interestingly, whenever I now meet a friend with Scorpio children I spare no effort to ascertain whether indeed there has been a death in the family. <br>&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;"Well, yes, as a matter of fact," said one girlfriend, "three months before my son was born my aunt died  my mother s sister." <br>&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;"Our grandma," said another. <br>&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;And another, bitterly, "Yes, my father." <br>&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;Horoscopes, alas, do not lie. <br>&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;But I digress again. <br>&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;Grandpa lived a long and productive life. However, his wife, Grandma Mera, set the record of longevity in our family when she died in America at age ninetyeight. <br>&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;When in 1994 we emigrated to Germany, my mother s only sister Liza followed her daughter to America. And with them went my 93-year-old grandmother. Calling the United States to inquire about the family I asked Liza, "So how s Grandma?" <br>&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;"Oh, Grandma s just fine. She s busy learning English." Grandma Mera was one of a kind. In her youth she had studied at the Institute of Industrial Chemistry in Moscow. She was keen on poetry, had conversed with Mayakovsky in person, knew a fantastic number of poems by heart, and was still able to recite them in advanced old age. In her prime grandma oversaw a vast manufacturing operation at a chemical factory that produced sulfuric acid, which thus became a household term in our family when I was a young girl. For her technical innovation grandma received medals and awards at the Exhibition of Economic Achievement in Moscow. Her youngest daughter Liza later followed her example. <br>&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;In fact, Liza was involved her whole life in the processing and production of a wide variety of lubricants, and was highly successful. <br>&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;Liza now lives close to her grandchildren in Boston. When her daughter s colleagues happened to learn how innovative Liza had been her entire life, they were more than duly impressed. Had she been in America, they said, she would long ago have become a millionaire. Truth be told, my relatives in America are now recouping every lost opportunity that passed over their clever children s heads. My cousin Masha and her husband, both highly successful software engineers, continually invite me to their capacious home-cum-swimming-pool in suburban Boston. <br>&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;The first time I traveled to America, and that was seven years ago, I returned to Germany with a heavy heart, feeling thoroughly convinced that I had brought my children to the wrong country. But I have already told that story. Besides, history knows nothing of the subjunctive mood. <br>&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;Some very comical transformations have occurred in our family, now spread over different continents. My Mother followed me to Germany, while Liza s son and grandchildren have remained in Saint Petersburg. Liza, my mother s sister, has now returned likewise from the United States to Saint Petersburg in order to be close to her grandson. Whereas Mama has answered the call to leave Germany for America, to be with my elderly grandmother Mera who, notwithstanding her uncommon valor, nonetheless found herself at age ninety-six unable to totally fend for herself. <br>&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;"Just your typical Jewish family," remarked my son incisively. "One sister flies from Germany to America, just so the other sister can fly from America to Russia to see her grandson. Fifteen years ago who could have imagined such a thing?" Grandma and grandpa were a remarkably close and loving couple. It was my good fortune to spend the greater part of my childhood and adolescence living with them. <br>&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;I could write endlessly about those pictures of my childhood. <br>&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;How did I become a writer? I started writing early. When I was a child, I saw the world as a kind of magical box, overflowing with treasures of amusing, tragic, and edifying stories, and I would sometimes write them down. <br>&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;When our second grade teacher gave our class an assignment to write about some special object, I wrote a touching story about my lost travel bag. The teacher read my composition to the class, and was no less awestruck than I was. In eighth grade I won first place in a writing contest advertised in "Sparks of Lenin," a children's journal. (My God, the names they gave things in those days!) The prize was a visit to Camp Artek on the Black Sea, for the most highly coveted of the three summer sessions. <br>&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;I published early, too. When I was eighteen years old a short, humorous story I had written saw light in Saint Petersburg's fashionable "Aurora," a literary journal with a circulation of one million. Just to be published there was itself a real event. But even better, my story appeared under the heading "Boulevard of Gifted Youth." With that the staff clearly had gone just a bit too far. My freshman classmates from then on would tease me, calling me the "lady of the boulevard." <br>&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;I later took a liking to Viktoria Tokareva, whose stories spiritedly fired my imagination. Naturally, I had a strong desire to demonstrate to her that I too could write, and fate provided the opportunity. <br>&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;In the mid-eighties the Writers' House on Voinov Street organized a literary event for Tokareva. The night was bitterly cold. She came out on stage plump and rosy-cheeked, exclaiming, "And here I thought that in such miserable cold no one would come!" And I loved her all the more. <br>&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;I had begged my friends to take me backstage after the performance, and so I was taken to meet Tokareva. She even gave me an interview for one of the Saint Petersburg's dailies, and when I later sent her the follow-up I included two of my own stories as well. I did not expect that Tokareva would reply, but indeed she did, with a warm letter. (For a very long time thereafter I kept it in my file of most precious documents.) <br>&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;She wrote: "Your early work is better than mine was. If you d like to come over, we can talk about it in more detail& " I was so thrilled that I was dancing on the ceiling (as my grandmother liked to say), and was on my way to Moscow the next day, "faster than my own yelp" (another of my grandmother's keen expressions). During that visit I also met, besides Viktoria Tokareva herself, her daughter Natasha and son-in-law Valera. The latter, then a short, big-eyed boy, has now become one of Russia's most celebrated and renowned directors, Valerie Todorovskiy. It is so true -- time disperses people you met long ago far and wide upon the stage of life. <br>&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;I returned from Moscow with a short forward by Tokareva to two of my stories, "French Perfume" and "A Life So Long." They too were published by Aurora -- this time, however, not on the frivolous humor page, but in the serious prose section. Yelena Nevzglyadova, the wife of the poet Aleksandr Kushner and an uncommonly fine human being, worked for Aurora at that time. After that, Aurora published my works increasingly more often. <br>&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;In Leningrad I lived a happy and absorbing life. I still feel that in emigrating to Germany I left the big, noisy city, overflowing with its dynamic, fiery excitement, where I attended every cinematic, literary, and theatrical premier, only to crash land by the force of destiny in a high-spirited village where, I must point out, the quality of life is nonetheless quite good. <br>&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;We left not by our own choice, actually. <br>&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;But all this I have covered in detail in the story "My Emigration". <br>&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;I ve been living in Germany over ten years now. I lived first in Kln, and laterin Berlin. <br>&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;What can I say? In the words of the heroine of that same story, "In the end, it s all the same to me where I live. One city here is as foreign to me as the next& " And I often do feel that way. To tell the truth, Berlin is much more to my liking. The size and scope of Berlin is simply more what I am accustomed to. In Kln I always felt I had gone on a never-ending holiday to Gagri. <br>&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;I have not achieved any particular success in this country, nor have I learned the language as well as I should. <br>&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;I write stories about the lives of Jewish migrs, occasionally reading them at evening events, and my audiences seem pleased. They recognize themselves in those stories and laugh along with me, and that warms my heart. What else? I have two children. My son Ilya is now fully grown and independent; he completed his university education in Bonn and now works as a software developer for a German company. He and I long ago exchanged the roles of child and parent. <br>&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;"Mama, what problems do you have right now?" he asks me on the phone in a sternly adult tone. I sigh and lapse into complaining in my usual bitter, plaintive, juvenile fashion about how once again someone or other has insulted me. Or has not done me this or that favor, because they couldn t follow my best efforts at explaining myself in a foreign tongue. <br>&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;"Fine," he says in his austere demeanor, "I ll put in a call to the AMT and set everything right." <br>&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;And that he does, solving not just all my problems, but his grandmother s too -- anything at all that concerns German officialdom. He already has total command of the language. For me, just writing a simple letter in German to some publisher is a horrible torment. Were I to expend the same amount of effort writing in Russian, surely I could produce nothing less than an entire novel. <br>&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;I love Ilya dearly. He has grown up to become a remarkably warm, intelligent and responsible human being. I could say that he is truly his mother s son in every possible sense. <br>&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;My daughter Arkadia is a seventh-grade student at the Jewish gymnasium in Berlin. A fine young lady both inside and out, she more resembles her father, my husband, a serious man, the painting critic, collector, and writer Mikhail Arkadyevitch Vershvovskiy. And that is probably all so much for the better. I ll leave it at that for now. This biography is already too long as it is. <br>&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;To be continued& <br> </td> <td width="170" height="100%" valign="top"> <OBJECT classid="clsid:D27CDB6E-AE6D-11cf-96B8-444553540000" codebase="http://download.macromedia.com/pub/shockwave/cabs/flash/swflash.cab#version=5,0,0,0" WIDTH=170 HEIGHT=550> <PARAM NAME=movie VALUE="../vertical3.swf"> <PARAM NAME=quality VALUE=high> <PARAM NAME=bgcolor VALUE=#FFFFFF> <EMBED src="vertical3.swf" quality=high bgcolor=#FFFFFF WIDTH=170 HEIGHT=907 TYPE="application/x-shockwave-flash" PLUGINSPAGE="http://www.macromedia.com/shockwave/download/index.cgi?P1_Prod_Version=ShockwaveFlash"></EMBED> </OBJECT> </td> <td valign="top" STYLE="background-image:url('../images/maket_06_right.gif'); background-repeat: repeat-y;"><img src="../images/maket_06_right.gif" alt="" width="14" height="7" border="0"></td> </tr> </table> <table bgcolor="ffffff" cellSpacing=0 cellPadding=0 width=794 border="0" align="center"> <tr> <td align="left" width="563"><img src="../images/bottom.gif" alt="" width="548" height="58" border="0"></td> <td align="right" width="231"> <div class="copyright-red">Text and Fotos &copy; Anna Sokhrina<br> Translated by Todd C. Shandelman<br> Pictures &copy; Tatjana Tchapugina<br> Design &copy; Karina Pasternak<br> </div> </td> <td valign="top" STYLE="background-image:url('../images/maket_06_right.gif'); background-repeat: repeat-y;"><img src="../images/maket_06_right.gif" alt="" width="14" height="7" border="0"></td> </tr> </table> </BODY> </HTML>