Reading List: Anush Vardanyan


Anush Vardanyan, writer, screenwriter, film director.

Known for Wax, a novel and 72 hours, a feature film.

What would you write in your own obituary?

Finally, I have departed!

What? If not a writer?

Astronomy or Archaeology. Either far up or deep down.

Do you read paper or electronic? One book at a time or simultaneously? Morning or night?

Electronic, paper, on my iPhone. In the morning, in the afternoon, at night, in the metro, in the queue to see a state official, in the bus between New York and Philadelphia – anywhere, anyhow, on any possible reader, as far as there is an intolerable urge to read.

But sometimes, I just don’t want…

What books are on your bedside table?

Genevian novellas (“Nouvelles genevoises”) by Rodolphe Töpffer, poems by Jean Cocteau and Island of Solitude by Jonathan Frazen.

What’s the last great book you read?

Undoubtedly The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt. I don’t only adore her works but I am truly thankful to her for her love towards the classical structure of a novel. In the times when a book is called a “product” and its content – “a text”, Ms Tartt writes novels in its old-fashioned and wonderful sense, interweaving destinies and knitting a delicate canvas out of words, meanings, leitmotifs and fears. Art as a devastator and art as a savior – this is the pendulum on which the reader is swaying along with the characters of Tartt’s books. I love all three novels by this writer, and can give long talks about them, but the last one I read and was impresses is The Goldfinch.

Who is your favorite overlooked writer?

Gaspard of the Night: Fantasies in the Manner of Rembrandt and Callot (“Gaspard de la nuit: Fantaisies à la manière de Rembrandt et de Callot”) by Aloysius Bertrand is the only book by the author, and it was published by his friend after his early death. Incredibly tender and poetic texts, which are considered to be poetry in prose had been the first samples of genre which was later called prose poetry.

What’s the best book you’ve ever received as a gift?

My father gave me as a gift a wonderful edition of The Canterbury Tales by Geoffrey Chaucer with wonderful illustrations done in middle ages. Whatever happens in my life, I can never get rid of these elegant two volumes, because I think that both Chaucer and his prominent publisher are gifts to the humanity.

What kind of reader were you as a child? Which childhood books and authors stick with you most?

At the early childhood, it was The Wizard of Oz. This books revealed the joy of reading and most importantly the need to read, because if you don’t read further you won’t know what happened next. At 11, I broke my leg and stayed at hope for a couple of months – this is the period of the complete work by Jack London. All 14 violet volumes. I suppose this author played a principle role in the formation of my views.