Belarus’ dictatorship has left its mark on my works, Siarhei Antonau says.
Book series Metro-2033 by the fantasy author from Belarus has become very popular with Russian readers: after a nuclear war the humankind has to leave the land surface and settle down underground, in the metro system. The edition of his stories is huge; one of his books having been held over in Top List of Fantasy Best-Sellers for several months.
Siarhei Antonau lives in a small town of Bykhau in the east of Belarus. Since 2007 he has been engaged in literary activities publishing his works in Russia. The total edition of his books amounts to 250,000 copies. Dark Tunnels, the first book of Metro-2033, was translated into German.
It is the grim job prospects that pushed Mr Antonau to look for his place in the world of letters. “I used to work at a canning factory but after the replacement of its management I had to quit. Then, after I worked only one day at a bread-baking plant, they sent out a very clear signal that I would not ever be employed in Bykhau or Bykhau district,” he said. According to the writer, the local authorities headed off the possibility of getting a job because of his being a member of the Belarusian People’s Front [an opposition party].
His works are a reflection of the political situation in Belarus, Mr Antonau stresses. Anti-communist and anti-Bolshevik feelings are also visible: “My great-grandfathers were persecuted for political reasons; two granfathers were at war: one was mutilated, the other was killed in action”. In his opinion, it is the Bolsheviks who bear responsibility for it. The current state of Belarus, the country which is still ruled by offsprings of the totalitarian system, is eloquent of its living in the past. From the Soviet Union Belarus derived its worst features, the writer states.