Born in Tashkent (Uzbekistan) in 1953, Dina Rubina has been writing stories since childhood. Very early on, she was published and joined the Writers’ Union of the USSR, of which she became the youngest member in its history. Based in Moscow, she collaborates in numerous literary magazines, works as a screenwriter, and has written four notable books.
She left the USSR in 1990 for Israel, where she settled permanently. Her works have been published into 39 languages.
Do you have a picture of the ideal reader? Do you think about it before you write your book or afterward? Could you define it?
Dina Rubina: I have my own ideal reader, and I always have him on hand: it’s my husband, the painter Boris Karafiolov, whose paintings often illustrate my books, to whom I always read excerpts from my new books, to whom I then reread the texts I have rewritten and in whom I have absolute confidence. I meet my real readers when my books come out at public readings or question-and-answer sessions. And I always answer their letters because I love and respect them.
Do you think that the increased access of Russian readers to foreign literature, whether or not it is translated into Russian, is to the detriment of the place occupied by Russian/national literary production?
Dina Rubina: I don’t think so. Someone who is used to reading will not choose according to the author’s language or country of origin. Moreover, there is a “time” for reading Russian books and a “time” for reading bestsellers by foreign writers famous in Russia. The important thing is not to lose that instinct: to look through lines of text with your eyes.
What place do the Russian audio-visual media give to literature in general and literary news in particular?
Dina Rubina: It would be wrong to complain. In my experience, when one of my books is published, I have to study the media’s proposals carefully and dose them wisely. There are many talented literary critics as well as a few radio and television programs that regularly devote time to new publications.
Twenty-eight years after its disappearance, is the Soviet Union an object of fiction?
Dina Rubina: Again, it depends on what you wanted to bring when you were working on your book. Like it or not, a lot of contemporary big novel heroes are characters born in Soviet times. It wasn’t a country that came out of the imagination, but a vast country with tens of millions of people alive and well.
Impossible in these conditions, when one imagines a character and his or her destiny, to be exempt from Soviet kindergartens and Soviet community apartments, Soviet schools, summer camps, prisons, factories… in short, from everything that no longer exists today, but which existed for seventy years.