THERE ONCE LIVED A GIRL WHO SEDUCED HER SISTER’S HUSBAND, AND HE HANGED HIMSELF
This was a departure from anything I had known or thought I could be comfortable with. This collection of short stories are united by their geographic location in Russia and the painful and sad circumstances of those individuals Ludmilla Petrushevskaya writes about.
The title says it all but don’t let it throw you off track these are love stories just from a different set of eyes, setting and time. Once I was able to adjust my eyes just like when a room is flooded with light I was able to take it all in.
Beautifully tragic but masterfully written is how I think of these stories. Lines of propriety when it comes to themselves and others simply does not exist. Just a sliver of happiness or love is what these characters are seeking without the hope of happy endings.
Once several stories in, I began to become fully emerged in Petrushevskaya’s Russia and then I was able to simply respect the time, place and the writing which makes the despair more palatable. The human spirit wants what it wants even if the very basic essentials of existence and humanity are missing.
If you have read Petrushevskaya’s prior collection of scary fairy tales, There Once Lived a Woman Who Tried to Kill Her Neighbor’s Baby, a New York Times bestseller it would seem you already know what an unusual treat you are in for. Any student of world literature, Russian literature, short story fans or just brilliant writing should not pass up this collection no matter how dark they are on the surface.
I have a copy of this book to share with one of you, thanks to Penguin Books. Please leave a comment below to be entered. Contest ends, Sunday, February 24th. Winner will be chosen randomly.