Lolotta in Paris

“Lolotta and Other Parisian Stories” – this is the first book by Russian writer Anna Matveyeva translated into Polish, a finalist for prestigious Russian awards such as Bolszaja Kniga and Nacyonalnyj Bestseller. On February 25, 2019 at 6:00 pm, we had the opportunity to meet the author herself and listen to a fragment of the book performed by actors from Teatr Nowy Poznań (Maria Rybarczyk, Karolina Głąb, and Zbigniew Grochal), who brought the text to life during a performative reading.

The honorary guest of our meeting was the Consul General of France in Poznan, Mr. Ivan Kosonogov.

Apparently, everyone has their own Paris, whether it’s the capital of France, a new housing estate, or a Russian village named by the Cossacks in the 17th century. Matveyeva’s Paris permeates her characters, being an (in)accessible goal, a trauma, an escape, a solace, a home, or an exile. It changes them while becoming the protagonist of their story, its driving force. Another city, Yekaterinburg, also emerges from the book. The city on the border of Europe and Asia, sometimes harsh, chaotic, and dangerous, but capable of bringing peace. Matveyeva creates universal and warm stories that are sometimes funny and other times leave a bitter taste in the mouth. She skillfully wields words, allowing us to seamlessly immerse ourselves in her world. This makes it easy to attach to the characters, with whom it is difficult to part ways. However, there is no unnecessary pathos or cheap sentimentality here, only humans with all their weaknesses, in whom we can see ourselves.

After reading the fragments of the stories, the audience had the opportunity to talk with the author and translators.

Anna Matveyeva (Анна Матвеева) – “I didn’t have a great choice, I knew I would become a writer since childhood,” Anna Matveyeva says about herself. She was born in 1972 and lives in Yekaterinburg, which is often the backdrop or protagonist of her novels. She started writing seriously in the 1990s. To this day, she has published 17 novels and story collections, which are popular in Russia. She was nominated for prestigious Russian awards such as Bolszaja Kniga and Nacyonalnyj Bestseller. Her work is called Ural magical realism by critics. Matveyeva’s prose has been translated into Italian, French, Czech, Chinese, and Finnish. “Lolotta and Other Parisian Stories” is the author’s first book published in Polish.