Alexander Grin (Александр Грин, August 23, 1880 – July 8, 1932) was a Russian writer, notable for his romantic novels and short stories, mostly set in an unnamed fantasy land with a European or Latin American flavor (Grin's fans often refer to this land as Grinlandia). Most of his writings deal with sea, adventures, and love.
After he joined the Russian army, he became a member of the Socialist-Revolutionary Party, was arrested and spent time in jail for "revolutionary propaganda". His first short story was published in a newspaper in 1906. In the same year he was arrested in Saint Petersburg and sentenced to four years of living in a remote area of Tobolsk guberniya. However, very soon after arriving to Tobolsk, Grin escaped and returned to Petersburg to live illegally. He was again arrested in 1910 and sent to live in Arkhangelsk guberniya. In a small village called Kegostrov, Grin and his first wife Vera Pavlovna Abramova (whom he married in 1910) lived from 1910 to 1912.
In 1912, he returned to Saint Petersburg and divorced his wife. At that time, Grin published mostly short stories; most of his larger works were written after the October revolution and enjoyed significant popularity in the first half of 1920s. In 1921, he married Nina Nikolaevna Grin (1894-1970). In 1924, they moved to Feodosia to live near the sea. In his late days, Grin's romantic visions were in stark conflict with the mainstream Soviet literature; publishers in Moscow and Leningrad refused to consider his romantic writings for publication, and Grin and his wife lived in extreme poverty. Grin suffered from alcoholism and tuberculosis which eventually ruined his health. He died of stomach cancer in 1932 in Stary Krym.
Described by some critics as "adolescent fiction", Grin's works in fact have a universal appeal. Like the authors of fantasy of the second half of 20th century, Grin deals with human desires and emotions in their most pure form. His world is not a fairy tale; it has many things in common with the reality of the early 20th century (such as automobiles and banks), but it's always more romantic and "childish" in the general feel. Populated by sea captains, sailors, scientists, travellers, criminals, extravagant aristocrats, childlike girls, elegant villains, and strong-spirited heroes who always stay true to their dream, Grin's world (often referred to as Grinlandia by Grin's fans) is one of the most attractive and "livable" fantasy worlds in literature. Some of his novels contain an element of magic - not as an established part of his world, but always as a miracle that changes the lives of those who encounter it.
Grin's writings are also notable for their powerful writing style, pretty much unique in the entire Russian literature (though some liken it to the style of Andrey Platonov). Grin's prose is very poetic and descriptive, with strikingly apt metaphors and colorful vocabulary.
Grin's works are almost unknown outside of Russia. Most notable of his novels include: