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I Can’t Play the Harpsichord: A Micro-Interview with Alexei Bayer

Alexei Bayer’s story “An Excursion” appears in the Spring 2011 issue of KR, now available here.

Kenyon Review: What’s one book, contemporary or otherwise, that you wish you had written?

Alexei Bayer: Dangerous Liaisons by Cholderos de Laclos. It might have lost some of its luster, however, since I’d have to write it in Russian or English. My French is poor.

KR: Have classroom experiences (as a teacher, as a student) figured largely in your development as a writer?

AB: Yes. They taught me to avoid classrooms at all cost.

KR: What advice would you give yourself five years ago?

AB: The same as today. Try not to be afraid.

KR: Of all the things you could be doing, why do you write?

AB: I can’t play the harpsichord.


Alexei Bayer was born in Moscow and lives in New York. His short stories have appeared in New England Review and Readings/Chtenia, among other journals. A collection titled Eurotrash was published in a Russian translation in 2004. He translates Russian literature into English and writes fiction, as well as articles on economics, business and finance, in both languages.