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“New honest”: What is autofiction

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Modern feminist poetry by Oksana Vasyakina, Galina Rymba, Lida Yusupova and others laid another ground for the formation of Russian self-fiction tradition in Russian literature (The Village wrote in detail about this phenomenon). Unsurprisingly, one of the first major texts in Russian, openly positioning itself as an autofiction, was written by the poetess – it is about the debut novel by Oksana Vasyakina “Rana”. The heroine’s mother is dying of cancer, and to bury her ashes, she travels home to Siberia, thinking about what it means for her to be a woman, a lesbian, a poetess and, finally, a daughter. The novel has the same narrative relaxation inherent in canonical autofiction: the plot line here is interspersed with flashbacks, essays and poems. “I understood that there was no point in going to the giant with my book. Firstly, the giants most likely would not have taken the manuscript, and secondly, if they had taken it, the book would have lost its niche and no one would have found out about it, ”says Vasyakina.

Poet, lesbian and feminist Oksana Vasyakina wrote a book about her mother’s death and her identity – it turned out fascinating and scary

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