“Katya is rolling, koshoshmatitsya”: the story of one ungrown girl and other grown children

There are books that, like litmus paper, determine your crippling. Novel laureate of the "Lyceum" Eugene Nekrasova "Kalechin-Malechin" of these.

Evgenia Nekrasov. Kalichina-Malechin. M .: AST, Edited by Elena Shubina, 2018.
Evgenia Nekrasov. Kalichina-Malechin. M .: AST, Edited by Elena Shubina, 2018.

What is this book about

This is a story about the ten-year-old Kate, who lives in the turbidity of joyless gray everyday life. She wakes up when her parents have already left to catch the train that takes them to work in the Gulliver city; eating something sluggish; feeds the portfolio with textbooks; He goes to school, where he is looking forward to the end of the lesson, and after coming home, he is waiting for the moment of the evening, when the parents return, and dad will begin to ominously check the diary.

Katya is constantly waiting for punishment, saying to herself: “Katya is rolling and wagging. Katia rolls over. " She constantly repeats these words to hide inside herself, to survive the pain of blows, physical or psychological kicks, jabs and insults. At school, Katya is harassed both by students and teachers, calling them names, ignoring or laughing at the girl. At home, Katya is not noticed: her parents are too tired after work, her father watches TV, her mother plays computer, Katya is invisible to them. Their only interactions with her daughter are also very offensive and painful: every night before going to bed, Kate's mom combs her long hair, painfully tearing tangles and reacting to Kati's painful okey, angry “Don't think it up!”, And her father, checking the diary, screams and hits Kate. No hugs and no kind words. The girl's life is gray, ridiculous and meaningless.

The reader understands the whole gulf of Katina’s anxiety and longing when Katya quarrels with the only “friend” Lara, who has become a friend only because they sit at the same desk. Katya accidentally breaks Larin's phone, and in return, she calls the girl some awful words. And now Katya is afraid that Lara’s mother would call her parents. In order to delay the punishment, in the evening the girl goes to the courtyard to ride on an icy hill. It would seem that Katya can finally become a child, play and laugh, but no - she constantly thinks about the inevitable, she is scared and anxious. And suddenly she hears: "Katenka, go home." And some other girl runs and, smiling, jumps into Dad's arms. And Katya stays on the hill until dark. As a result, frozen and lonely, she slowly trudges into a gray under-renovated apartment. No kind words. No Katya nowhere.

This is just one turn in the life of the ten-year-old Katya. There will be other stories, one of which, the most terrible, is with red mittens not tied. For an unfulfilled task of labor, the classroom wants to transfer Katya to a school for the mentally retarded. This is the end. Katya can be taken away by her only desire - to quickly turn from non-grown to grown-up and finally to find freedom. Well, what freedom, if you went to school for idiots? And then the girl makes a terrible conscious choice - decides to commit suicide. She toils, walks around the apartment, choosing the method, as a result, turns all the burners on the stove and opens the oven. And here, exactly in the middle of the novel, appears Kikimora, a terrible creature with chicken skin and a nose-squiggle, who loves to eat live mice and is capable of destroying the unborn baby with a glance. The careless monster saves the girl from death and at first makes a lot of disgusting acts, bringing Katya more problems, but as a result, in a strange way helps the girl.

Illustration of Olesya Gonserovskaya
Illustration of Olesya Gonserovskaya

How is it done

Roman Eugene Nekrasova written in a strange, as if broken language. Little Kate does not always understand the words, so she eats them and transforms them into something else, giving a new meaning: “Kate noticed on the embossed side of the fence an inscription in black paint“ oh is alive ”, which meant its imminent termination”. That is, the fence seems to be talking to Katya with this black-and-red “oh, alive,” although the girl understands that if they write on the fences, it means they are not really needed by anyone: perhaps they will be repainted or completely broken.

Actually, this is not only the case with the fence - numerous objects come to life under the girl's gaze: spots on the ceiling or a mountain of plates and pans. And here’s another thing: “a waterfall has plum”, “the light has clicked”, “she began to feed the backpack with textbooks”. It is not surprising that a creature consisting of lost things comes to the aid of Kate: a cell phone, her mother’s scarf, a razor or a small light bulb from a refrigerator. Katya is so unhappy and lonely that objects become for her creatures that you can take care of. Katya cares for Kikimora as if for a child: she wraps old things in her so that she does not freeze in the frost, dances with her, plays and even combs, only gently and carefully, because she knows what it is like when it hurts.

And all this careful interaction occurs only in the second part of the book. And in the first - there is an increase in anxiety. Yevgenia Nekrasova turns out to show the full depth of depressive or any other anxiety disorder: when you are always afraid and constantly waiting for punishment, blow, step; when tenderness, hugs and caresses simply do not exist in this world. Conflict resolution occurs only in the second part of the text.

In anxiety disorder, which is accompanied by a state of cognitive dissonance, experts advise listening to the music of Mozart. His works are a musical conflict resolved at the end of the play. Listening to this music, we go through the stages of reconciliation of internal differences. The situation is the same with the novel “Kalechina-Malechin” - it has a conditional two-part structure and contributes to the resolution of internal conflicts only in the case of reading the work from beginning to end in one session.

Evgeniya Nekrasova
Evgeniya Nekrasova

What can be compared

Due to the fact that objects come to life in the novel and kitchen Kikimora is available, it is compared with magical realism or a fairy tale. However, the book is so complex in its scope of coverage that it is possible to put other texts abreast with “Kalechina” only conditionally. This is evidenced by Sergey Orobiy ( “Textura” ): “The conditional Sanaev, the conditional Lindgren, and the conditional Kungurtsev are heard here — but Kalechina-Malechin is not one of them”. Mikhail Wiesel ( “The Year of Literature” ) compares Nekrasova’s “Kalecheniu-Malechin” with another controversial novel, The Days of Savelia by Gregory the Servant. But as we understand, it is not an option to compare one difficult-to-determine object with another difficult-to-define object.

Dmitry Bykov ( “Interlocutor” ) recalls, surprisingly, Platonov, but immediately stipulates: “Nekrasov is his direct heir, not in the sense of style (only epigonism would be possible here, but not in it), but in the sense of this Plato’s longing filling the world. " Galina Yuzefovich ( Medusa ) looks deeper into the darkness and chthon that screaming around Kalechin and claims that Nekrasova’s novel “is in practice located in the spacious gap between Roman Senchin’s household dummy and Dmitry Gorchev’s or Yury Mamleev’s mystic horror”.

One thing is noteworthy here - critics fluctuate between works for children, conditionally adolescent prose, and books designed for an adult reader. And this is the uniqueness of "Kalechin". The novel was originally written for teenagers, he spent several years in children's publishing houses, and as a result came out in the “Elena Shubina Editorial Office”, which is the leading publisher of works in Russian. And the prose published here is absolutely not childish and not at all teenage.

In the process of reading "Kalechin" two works came to my mind, and both of them are for children. The first is, of course, the most famous novel about school bullying, The Effigy by Vladimir Zheleznikov, first published almost 40 years ago, in 1981. And the second is the short 1967 animated film Mitten, where the girl desperately wants to have a pet and her red mitten on an elastic band suddenly turns into a dog. That desire for longing for a friend, the desire to share joy and tenderness with someone is present both in the little heroine from the animated film “Mitten” and in Kate from “Kalechina-Maleechina”. Lonely disliked children, using their own imagination to turn things into their friends.


Why read this

Roman Eugene Nekrasova really raises many difficult topics, still covered with silence in our patriarchal country: schooling (classmates and teachers), physical violence in the family (father beats and screams), suicide (Katya tries to commit suicide twice), sexual violence (terrible uncle Jura), somewhere on the periphery of the text looms the topic of gender equality (Katya imagines herself to be a boy, assuming that she would live better, because boys are more allowed).

The text is imbued with a concentrate of violence, fear and guilt. Katya always feels guilty: no one ever protects her, everyone pushes her, beat her and call her names, and with time she thinks that this is what she needs. In her daily schedule, there are only two intervals of respite — this is the time after school until the parents arrive, and the night when no one will touch you, when you can finally find peace of mind simply by looking at the ceiling.

Kikimora, suddenly appeared in Katya's life - who is she? Perhaps a creature from fairy-tale fantasies, in which Katya leaves to hide from real life. Or a monster born of paranoid-schizophrenic delirium. Or maybe Kikimora is the personification of violence, the very dark part of Katia, which she had first tucked in, took advantage of the creature's insolence, and then tore it away from herself. Indeed, in the end, the girl did not like the consequences - a bitten boy or a stolen wallet - and she unconsciously abandoned her, leaving the house and running to the store for goodies, and after becoming a laughing child who got involved in the construction of a snow fortress with the neighboring kids in the yard?

Evgenia Nekrasov in her text through the story of the ungrown Katie illustrates the stories of many grown people. Many adults live like a ten-year-old Katya. And what is perhaps the most important thing in this novel is the ability of readers to see themselves and their lives; the ability to call myself by answering honestly the question "Who am I?"; the ability to wake up from faceless gray days; the ability to speak, what you really want and what you dream; the ability to act correctly, the ability to think about their actions; the ability to create and, at least through creativity, to break the mystical circle of one’s lonely existence among people. What the reader’s view focuses on in this text determines his life. To put it more simply, “Kalechina-Malechin” is such a novel test about accepting oneself and one’s self. And of course, this is a text about violence and about our ability not only to get rid of him, giving up the toxic relationship, but also to eradicate it in ourselves - to separate the chuckling chthonic Kikimora, make friends with her and let go.

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