Friday, January 31, 2020

Russian Names in The Immortality Game

I only have one review in Amazon France, and it's a bad one. Two stars. That's fine; it's what that person felt when they read the book, and I appreciate that they read it. I just don't like one thing that was central to their dislike--the reader complained that the Russians in my book use diminutive names, suggesting that they would only be using the formal of first name and patronymic. He seemed to be suggesting that I didn't know enough about Russia and Russians.

I have lived in Russia and other Soviet-sphere countries for 13 years. I had a lot of experience with Russians, speaking not just to me but with each other. Yes, I saw the situations where they used the formal first name with patronymic. I've seen the occasions where my Russian wife of 24 years will use the formal. I do understand when it is generally used. It wasn't the case of the situations set in my story.

I am sure there are work places where colleagues use the formal addresses. Probably in such places as the police force, hospitals perhaps, etc. In the places that I witnessed, even at the embassy, everyone was closer to one another and they used the diminutives, not the formal. That was what I was expressing in my story. These scientists had been working closely with one another for decades. They were beyond the point of using the formal names with each other.

I'm sorry this reader felt the way he did about my book, but I disagree with him that I used the language of names wrong.