Sonechka

A Novella and Stories

By Ludmila Ulitskaya; Arch Tait (Translator)
(Schocken Books Inc, Hardcover, 9780805241952, 242pp.)

Publication Date: May 3, 2005

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Description

The Los Angeles Times said of Ludmila Ulitskaya’s The Funeral Party, “In America we have friends, family, lovers, and parents–four kinds of love. Could it really be that in Russia they have more? Ludmila Ulitskaya makes it seem so.” In Sonechka: A Novella and Stories, Ulitskaya brings us tales of these other loves in her richly lyrical prose, populated with captivating and unusual characters.

In “Queen of Spades,” Anna, a successful ophthalmologic surgeon in her sixties; her daughter, Katya; and Katya’s teenage daughter and young son live in constant terror of Anna’s mother, a domineering, autocratic, aging former beauty queen. In “Angel,” a closeted middle-aged professor marries an uneducated charwoman for love of her young son, raising the child in his image. In “The Orlov-Sokolovs,” perfectly matched young lovers are pulled apart by the Soviet academic bureaucracy. And in the stunning novella “Sonechka,” the heroine, a bookworm turned muse turned mother, reveals a love and loyalty at once astounding in its generosity and grotesque in its pathos.

In these stories, love and life are lived under the radar of oppression, in want of material comfort, in obeisance to or matter-of-fact rejection of the pervasive restrictions of Soviet rule. If living well is the best revenge, then Ludmila Ulitskaya’s characters, in choosing to embrace the unique gifts that their lives bring them, are small heroes of the quotidian, their stories as funny and tender as they are brilliantly told.




About the Author
Ludmila Ulitskaya is one of Russia's most popular and renowned literary figures. A former scientist and the director of Moscow's Hebrew Repertory Theater, she is the author of thirteen works of fiction, three tales for children, and six plays that have been staged by a number of theaters in Russia and Germany. She has won Russia's Booker Prize and has been nominated for the International Man Booker Prize. A strong advocate for freedom of expression, she recently published a volume of her correspondence with the imprisoned Russian businessman Mikhail Khodorkovsky.

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