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Igor' Yefimov (Efimov) Volume Nine of the Kratkaya Literaturnaya Entsiklopediya (Short Literary Encyclopedia), published in 1978, contains the short entry: "Yefimov, Igor Markovich, is a Russian Soviet writer, b. 1937. Graduated from Leningrad Politechnical Institute in 1960, member Union of Writers since 1965, author of the novels Smotrite, Kto Prishel! (Look Who's Here!), Laborantka (Lab Girl), Svergnut Vsyakoye Igo (To Overthrow Every Yoke), children's books, plays, movie, radio and television scripts." That volume of the encyclopedia appeared in the same month that the train carried the "Soviet writer" and his family to the West, crossing the border into Austria.

It was only after he left the USSR that Yefimov could acknowledge that the works of philosophy, Prakticheskaya Metafizika (Practical Metaphysics) and Metapolitika (Metapolitics), that had circulated in Samizdat and had been published in the West under the pseudonym Andrey Moskovit, were his. Settling in America, he soon founded the Hermitage publishing house (in 1981), which published poetry, novels, memoirs, and essays that could not be published in Soviet Russia. Many works of the Russian writers and poets who are well known today were first published by Hermitage: books by Sergei Averintsev, Vasily Aksenov, Fridrikh Gorenstein, Sergei Dovlatov, Lev Losev, Anatoly Naiman, Ernst Neizvestny, Mark Popovsky and others. Yefimov also wrote and published more novels -- Kak Odna Plot' (As One Flesh - 1980), Arkhivy Strashnogo Suda (The Judgement Day Archives -1982, English translation in 1988), Sed'maya Zhena (The Seventh Wife - 1990, English translation in 1994) - as well as a historical investigation of the assassination of President Kennedy (English translation in 1997) and some collections of essays.

After 1991 nearly all of Yefimov's books were published in Russia, now that it was freed from Communists. Three of his new novels - Ne Mir, No Mech (Not Peace, But a Sword-1996), Sud Da Delo (Telling It To The Judge-2001), and Novgorodskii tolmach (An Interpreter from Novgorod-2003) - were first published in the literary journal Zvezda, which also published his new work of philosophy, Stydnaya Tayna Neravenstva (The Shocking Secret of Inequality), as a series of articles. All the critics who have written about Yefimov have noted the philosophical nature of his prose. However, his books also have another characteristic, noted by Yakov Gordin in his foreword to the Russian edition of the novel Arkhivy Strashnogo Suda (The Judgment Day Archives): "The real hero of Yefimov's prose has always been human passion. To put it in other words - will in arousal." Five of Yefimov's books have been published in the US in English translation.

At present (2010), Igor Yefimov lives with his family in Pennsylvania, USA. His e-mail: yefimovim@aol.com

Critical Reaction to Some of Yefimov's Works

Joseph Brodsky:
"Igor Yefimov belongs to the great Russian tradition of philosophical writers in the vein of Herzen The Seventh Wife is a picaresque novel of extraordinary exuberance It is packed with satire, lyricism and action like a movers' van rushing at blaring speed across America and Russia. It beats any movie you've seen (on a cover of English edition)
Lilya Pann (Zvezda, August 1997):
"The Seventh Wife is one of those occasions when a writer who has over the long years of his life hoarded up an enormous 'content' and now has found the perfect 'form' in which to place it . . . It is not every work of that sort that is also going to be an intoxicating read, but everything in this book is just fine, save for the fact that it must eventually end."
Anatoliy Nayman (Novyy Mir, November 1996):
"Yefimov writes his stories and novels in the traditional manner. There is nothing neurotic or illogical or unmotivated in them, no leaps of consciousness . . .I read his Not Peace, But a Sword and found myself enjoying the rare pleasure of balance - of grammar, of thought, of composition."
Andrey Nemzer (Novyy Mir, January 2000):
"The novel Not Peace, But a Sword shows superlative knowledge of far-off realities (material and spiritual alike, not just the 'taste, smell, and color' of a far-off epoch, but also the ideas which it suffered) and extraordinary tact in his use of the word. . ."
Dmitriy Bavilskiy (Russkiy Zhurnal, September 2001):
"Igor Yefimov's Flying Corpse is the main success of this year's magazine season. . . Everything in the novel is drawn into a tight knot that permits one to follow the development of the plot lines with a certain pleasant inevitability, but yet also with unflagging interest. The reader has long ago wearied of waiting for such an intelligent book."
Sergey Dovlatov (Radio Liberty):
"Yefimov's mastery as a writer of prose shows in the dynamic and engaging plot [of the novel The Judgment Day Archives], the bright colors, the vivid and recognizable characters, and the laconic, meaningful dialogue."
World Literature Today.
Reader is favorably impressed in the long run by plot and characters [in The Judgment Day Archives], as well as by realism sometimes bordering on the surreal - not to mention occasional excursions into romanticism
New York Times Book Review
The Judgment Day Archives is about many things other than the K.G.B. versus a beautiful hematologist. It is about power and our fear of our mortality Efimov uses the complicated machinery of his novel to investigate how we are able to live in a difficult time.
Library Journal
This talented Russian's latest work [The Seventh Wife] is a comedy, mystery, adventure, romance, and satire rolled into one and peppered with relentless sly social commentary reminiscent of Bulgakov at his best.
Publishers Weekly
[In The Seventh Wife] Efimov's broad humor keenly depicts people who straddle two cultures [American and Russian], and the inevitable mix-ups that occur when those cultures collide Was a bestseller in Russia.
English Translations:
  • Our Choice And History. New York, 1985. ("".)
  • The Judgment Day Archives. San Francisco, 1988. (" ".)
  • The Seventh Wife. Dallas, 1994. (" ".)
  • Did Castro Kill Kennedy? Miami, 1997. (", , , ".)
  • Five Talents or One? The Shocking Secret of Inequality. Tenafly, USA, 2004. (" ")