A TSU graduate translated Astafyev’s story into Italian
02.08.2019

Annalisa Di Santo, a graduate of the TSU Faculty of Philology, translated into Italian the story by Victor Astafyev, “Boye”. The book was published in 200 copies, and now the second edition of 100 copies is being prepared. This is the first translation of Astafyev’s work into Italian.

Annalisa Di Santo arrived in Tomsk from Italy; in 2013 she graduated from the master's program Russian as a Foreign Language (TSU Faculty of Philology). She studied the work of V.P. Astafyev and wrote a scientific work on his “Tsar-Fish” under the guidance of Tatyana Rybalchenko and Tatyana Bankova, associate professors at the Faculty of Philology. Tatyana Bankova was personally acquainted with the writer.

- When I moved back to Italy, I had to confirm my diploma. I did not want to part with Astafyev and decided to analyze one of the stories from the book “Tsar-Fish”, - said Annalisa Di Santo. - It seemed to me that “Boye” was the most suitable because Astafyev himself decided that this would be the first story, an introduction to the book. This text covers all the topics that are later found in the remaining stories. In addition, there are fewer dialectal units in this story than in others, and the text has an exotic name associated with the language of the small peoples of the north of Russia, so it seemed to me that “Boye” is suitable for familiarizing the Italian people with Astafyev’s language.

The book “Tsar-Fish” by Viktor Astafyev consists of 13 stories about the life of Siberians on the banks of the Yenisei River and the relationship between people and nature. The first story, “Boye”, is about hunters who went to Taimyr to hunt fox, but the venture was a failure – they were in a hut in the middle of the taiga where they had to take care of a sick comrade.


The story in Italian is published as a separate book, which consists of the author's introduction, the text itself (40 pages), and footnotes. It is published by the Italian publishing house Aurora, which specializes in short stories and essays.

- Before publishing the story, I contacted the grandsons of Victor Astafyev about copyright and am very grateful to them,- explained Annalisa Di Santo. - In the introduction, I told readers who Astafyev was, because almost no one in Italy knows this writer; even in Wikipedia there is no article about him in Italian. I also talked about “Tsar-Fish”, its features, what topics the author raises, and what his language is. In the footnotes, I explain the meaning of words with missing equivalents, for example, the vocabulary associated with clothing, hunting, dialectisms, slang expressions, and magic formulas, for example, Buyan Island. I also explain cultural features, for example, railway construction – it is a road that was built by convicts.

The book was well received in Italy. The first edition was bought out in 3 months, and there also were positive articles in magazines and on the Internet, and reviews from bloggers. Annalisa presented “Boye” in Rome, Naples, and in the north of Italy. There were also open readings of the text in Italian with musical accompaniment.

In the future, the TSU graduate plans to publish an illustrated edition with additions and corrections to the translation, and to stage a play based on the story – she is now looking for a director. Now Annalisa is also thinking about translating the remaining stories from “Tsar-Fish”.