LETTER FROM MOSCOW — Nostalghia.com January 25, 2005 Newsbrief

From   :  kirill.galetski@inbox.ru  
To     :  Nostalghia.com
Subject:  Tarkovsky Books by Olga Surkova
Date   :  January 24, 2005 3:01:11 PM MST

Dear Jan Bielawski and Trond Trondsen:

My name is Kirill Galetski.  I am a Moscow-based journalist,
editor and translator.  My full-time occupation is editor at
the Global Services department of the Interfax news agency.

I wanted to let you and the greater Tarkovsky community know
about a couple of exciting book projects on which I'm

Namely, I am translating two books on Tarkovsky by
Netherlands-based Russian film reviewer and historian Olga
Surkova - TARKOVSKY AND I (subtitled Diary of a Girl Scout,
listed in your bibliography) and the newly-published
been officially authorized by Surkova to translate the books
from Russian into English and find an English-language

You probably know that Surkova is a Netherlands-based
Russian film historian who was an assistant and personal
friend of the director and as such, possesses unparalleled
insight into the director's life and work.  She is also the
de facto co-author of SCULPTING IN TIME.

TARKOVSKY AND I is a biographical account of Surkova's
relationship with Tarkovsky brimming with intriguing
information heretofore unavailable in English-language
publications.  The book reflects the social climate around 
Tarkovsky both in Russia and the West, as well as the drama 
of his interaction with various social environments which 
sometimes included such luminaries as Mstislav Rostrapovich 
and Yuri Lyubimov.  The book covers intriguing periods of 
Tarkovsky's life, from the 1983 Cannes Film Festival to his
staging of Modest Mussorgsky's opera BORIS GODUNOV at Covent
Garden, to Tarkovsky's first and only trip to the United
States to attend the Telluride Film Festival in Telluride,
Colorado.  Surkova was right there with him, every step of
the way.  Surkova has decided to rename the book "Tarkovsky
vs.  Tarkovsky" for English-language readers, reflecting
Tarkovsky's conscious, subconscious and unconscious
struggles with himself and his wife Larisa, who was a
mitigating factor in his life about as often as she was a
source of support.

collection of Surkova's formal previously-published and
unpublished writings on Tarkovsky's work, assembled and
collated in chronological order.  These writings include her
eyewitness accounts of Tarkovsky's film shoots, from ANDREI
RUBLYOV to NOSTAGHIA.  In addition to these, there are also
production notes from Tarkovsky's stage productions, that of
his little-known (outside of Russia, anyway) staging of
HAMLET at the Lenkom Theater in Moscow in 1974 and of
course, the opera BORIS GODUNOV in 1983.  The book includes
extensive passages with direct quotes from Tarkovsky,
highlighted in bold type.  Also included are verbatim
transcriptions of numerous taped interviews and even
informal conversations with Tarkovsky Surkova and other
figures, some of which are published for the first time.

Our strategy is to find a U.K.  publisher first, after which
we feel it should be easier to find a U.S.  publisher.  We
have rationalized this strategy through the notion that
there seems to be a slightly more intense interest in
Tarkovsky's work in Europe, some of the events described in
the book would be of greater interest to readers in the U.K.
who remember Tarkovsky's public appearances there and his
staging of the opera BORIS GODUNOV at Covent Garden.  An
U.K.  printing first would also follow the traditional"
pattern of English-language publication of Tarkovsky books.

In looking for a publisher, I've come onto a bit of a
roadblock.  I've found what would be the perfect publisher
for the book - Faber & Faber.  Having published Andrei
Tarkovsky's TIME WITHIN TIME: THE DIARIES and a book of the
director's complete screenplays, as well as a series of
books where directors "speak" for themselves through
editors, e.g.  KIESLOWKSI ON KIESLOWSKI, etc., I thought
would be perfect additions to this series in particular and
to their canon of film-related books in general.  They could
even be published in one volume, titled TARKOVSKY ON

I have offered Faber & Faber the option of publishing this
book first.  Faber & Faber does not take unsolicited
submissions and their website is hermetic, with no contact
details for any individuals.  After a bit of web research, I
wrote to one of their editors, Hannah Griffiths, who also
works as a literary consultant.  She forwarded my e-mail to
Walter Donohue, editor of Faber & Faber's film books and
creator of the Directors on Directors series.  After some
time had passed with no response, I wrote to Donohue
himself.  I have not received any response, despite sending
e-mail several times and leaving two voice-mail messages.

By the time I first wrote Donohue, I had found out from
Surkova that she already has a relationship with Faber &
Faber.  She receives royalty payments on their 1989
reprinting of SCULPTING IN TIME.  I had always wanted to
eschew engaging the services of a literary agent because of
the unquestionable value of the material, and this fact gave
me even more reason to so.  While the submission is probably
mostly unexpected, it is most certainly not unsolicited,
even more so since Surkova had sent Faber & Faber a copy of

To be sure, I am sure that Faber & Faber would be the
perfect home for the book in English and I am not keen on
approaching the publisher's "competitors."

I was wondering if there might be any way you could assist
me in my endeavor to get the book published.  I would like
to make a last-ditch effort to court Faber & Faber, and I
believe that by raising awareness of the books' existence
might facilitate that process.  At the very least, please
post this letter (in full or in part) on your website.

I am probably asking for a lot, but I think that something
along the lines of a letter-writing campaign by site
visitors in favor of the books being published through Faber
& Faber would help (Walter Donohue may be reached at
WalterD@faber.co.uk) convince the decision-makers there of
the value of being the publishers of the book. Postal mail
might actually make for a more powerful statement; the address 

     Walter Donohue,
     c/o Faber & Faber Ltd.,
     3 Queen Square,
     London WC1N 3AU
     United Kingdom

I would also welcome other offers to publish the books.  If
Faber & Faber remain unresponsive or definitively refuse to
even consider publishing the book, then I'll have to
contemplate alternative venues.

Surkova and I also welcome offers to translate the books
into languages other than English, with or without
publishers secured.  Write to me directly for details.

As far as my thoughts on Nostalghia.com, first and foremost
I want to thank you for existing.  As the definitive unified
source of online information on Tarkovsky, you perform an
invaluable service for me and all Tarkovsky aficionados
worldwide.  You keep the memory of Tarkovsky alive in the
world at large, which is an even nobler endeavor in light of
the fact that Tarkovsky has not quite overcome disregard and
obscurity here in Russia.  This is not an exaggeration, as
many young people here do not even know who he is, sad to

Books like those of Surkova preserve the Tarkovsky legacy
and your assistance in disseminating information about them
would be extremely well appreciated by everyone.


Kirill Galetski.

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