Viktor Likhonosov: biography and bibliography

Viktor Ivanovich Likhonosov was born on April 30, 1936, in the village of Topki, in what is now the Kemerovo district of Siberia. He spent his childhood and adolescence in Novosibirsk, losing his father to the war in 1943. In 1956, he moved to Krasnodar to study at the Faculty of History and Philology in the Krasnodar Pedagogical Institute, following which he worked for several years as a teacher near Anapa, on the Black Sea coast of the Krasnodar region.

His first story, Brianskie [The People from Briansk], was accepted for publication in the eleventh issue of Novyi Mir, 1963, by Aleksandr Tvardovsky, who reportedly said that Likhonosov’s prose “shone like that of Bunin”. (Brianskie was selected for inclusion in a 2005 compendium entitled “Masterpieces of 20th Century Russian Literature”). Three more of his stories would appear on the same pages during the 1960s. In 1966, he had two books published, and was accepted into the USSR Writer’s Union. In 1967, his collection Golosa v Tishine was published with an introduction written by Yuri Kazakov. The latter introduced him to the emigré writers Boris Zaitsev and Georgii Adamovich, who sparked Likhonosov’s interest in the life of Russian émigrés. This interest would ultimately lead him to write Nash Malen’kii Parizh.

In 1969, his story Na dolguiu pamiat’ [In Lasting Memory] was published in the émigré publication Novoe Russkoe Slovo, along with a favourable article on Likhonosov written by Adamovich. In 1973, his story collection Chistie glaza [Clear Eyes] was published with an introduction by V. Astaf’iev. A cycle of travelogues appeared at around the same time: Liubliu tebia svetlo [My Love for You is Pure] (1971), Osen’ v Tamani [Autumn in Taman] (1972), and Elegiia [Elegy], (1976), written in places connected with the work of Yesenin, Lermontov and Pushkin. He returned to Chistie glaza and developed it into a full novel: Kogda zhe my vstretimsia? [When shall we meet?] (1978). The novel met with negative critical responses, with some reviewers arguing it was a betrayal of the Village Prose movement with which Likhonosov was associated.

Perhaps in response, Likhonosov published no new material for nearly a decade afterwards, in marked contrast to his prodigious output of the late 1960s and early 1970s. It should be noted, however, that during this time he was concentrating on the extensive material he had gathered – and was continuing to gather – as the basis for his magnum opus Nash Malen’kii Parizh [Our Little Paris] (1987).

Subsequently, perhaps exhausted by the creative effort, and certainly uncomfortable with the pace and direction of change during the Perestroika period and collapse of the USSR, Likhonosov concentrated more on polemic than fiction. He now edits a periodical entitled Rodnaia Kuban’ [Our Dear Kuban], devoted to historical and patriotic themes.

LIkhonosov has won a number of prizes and awards, including: the 1988 Maxim Gorky State Prize of the RSFSR and the 2011 Russian Grand Literary Prize for the novel Nash Malen’kii Parizh. 1988; the Sholokhov International literary prize in 1995; and the 2003 Yasnaia Poliana prize for “outstanding artistic work in Russian literature”, for his novella Osen’ v Tamani [Autumn in Taman’]; in 2013 he received a UNESCO award for “Culture and Art” for his contribution to the spiritual and literary heritage of the Kuban Region and Russia.

Vechera [Evenings], story collection, Moscow, Sovetskaia Rossiia, 1966.
Chto-to budet [Something will happen], story collection, Novosibirsk, Western Siberian Publishing, 1966.
Golosa v tishine [Voices in the silence], story collection, Moscow, Molodaia Gvardiia, 1967.
Na dolguiu pamiat’ [In lasting memory], story collection, Moscow, Sovetskaia Rossiia, 1969.
Chaldonki [Siberian Girls], story collection, Novosibirsk, Western Siberian Publishing, 1969.
Liubliu tebia svetlo [My Love for You is Pure], story collection, Moscow, Pravda, 1971.
Schastlivye mgnoveniia [Moments of Happiness], story collection, Krasnodar, Book publishing: 1971
Osen’ v Tamani [Autumn in Taman], story collection, Moscow, Sovremennik, 1972.
Chistye glaza [Clear Eyes], story collection, Moscow, Molodaia Gvardiia, 1973.
Elegiia [Elegy], story collection, Moscow, Sovetskaia Rossiia, 1976.
Kogda zhe my vstretimsia? [When shall we meet?], novel, Moscow, Sovremennik, 1978.
Rodnye [Nearest and dearest], story collection, Moscow, Sovetskaia Rossiia, 1980.
Selected Works in Two Volumes, Moscow, Sovetskaia Rossiia, 1984.
Nenapisannye vospominaniia. Nash malen’kii Parizh [Unwritten Memoirs: Our Little Paris] Novel, Moscow, Sovetskii pisatel’, 1987
Vremia zazhigat’ svetil’niki [Time to light the lamps]; Stories and essays. Moscow, Izvestiia, 1991.
Zapiski pered snom [Notes before Sleeping] Stories and essays. Moscow, Sovremennyi pisatel’, 1993.
Privet iz staroi Rossii [Greetings from Old Russia], Stories and essays. Moscow, Terra, 1993.
Toska-kruchina [Anguish and Woe]: Stories, sketches and essays. Krasnodar. Krasnodarskie Izvestiia publishing arm, 1996.