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    Boris Akunin

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    (Grigory Chkhartishvili)
    May 20, 1956 —

    In the late 1990s, a literary storm swept through Russia. An unknown writer, Boris Akunin, had written a series of mystery novels about detective Erast Fandorin.

    The triumph was immense: millions of copies were sold; each of the novels was re-published multiple times; movies were made; Fandorin became a national hero; and Boris Akunin...

    No one was quite sure who Boris Akunin was.

    But this was not a mystery that went unsolved. Akunin revealed himself to be Grigory Chkhartishvili (try saying that three times fast), an academic mostly known for his Japanese translations ("Akunin" comes from a Japanese word for "villain"). As the shvili ending suggests, the author is actually Georgian (the country, not the US state).

    Of course, on this website we are not concerned with anyone's Georgian origins, be they from the country or from the state. So even though Akunin is Georgian on his father's side, but his mother was... yes, of course, a Jew!

    So there you have it. The most popular writer in all of Russia, whose next book is eagerly awaited by millions, who is often praised for giving Russia not only its new literary hero, but its new literary identity is a... Halachical Jew.

    How is that for a solved mystery?

    Verdict: Jew.

    December 2, 2009

    See Also

    Sergei Dovlatov

    Samuil Marshak

    Vladimir Nabokov

    Boris Pasternak

    Alexander Pushkin
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