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THERE ONCE LIVED A GIRL WHO SEDUCED HER SISTER’S HUSBAND, AND HE HANGED HIMSELF
Translated with an Introduction by Anna Summers
Advance Praise for THERE ONCE LIVED A GIRL…
“Think Chekhov writing from a female perspective. . . . Petrushevskaya’s short stories transform the mundane into the near surreal, pausing only to wink at the absurdity of it all.” —Kirkus Reviews
“Full of meaningful, finely crafted detail, this story collection set in Russia manages to tackle the grimmest of situations head-on with compassion and a great deal of warmth.”—Publishers Weekly
“Arresting…Incantatory…Timeless and troubling…”—The New York Times Book Review
“The fact that Ludmilla Petrushevskaya is Russia’s premier writer of fiction today proves that the literary tradition that produced Dostoyevsky, Gogol, and Babel is alive and well.”—The Daily Beast
“A revelation—like reading late-Tolstoy fables, with all of the master’s directness and brutal authority, but set in an alternative reality which has a just-recognizable Soviet bleakness.”—The New Yorker
Coming for Valentine’s Day, the acclaimed contemporary Russian writer Ludmilla Petrushevskaya returns with THERE ONCE LIVED A GIRL WHO SEDUCED HER SISTER’S HUSBAND, AND HE HANGED HIMSELF: Love Stories—translated with an introduction by Anna Summers (A Penguin Books Original; On-sale: January 29, 2013; $15.00; 978-0-14-312152-7). Petrushevskaya’s last collection of scary fairy tales, There Once Lived a Woman Who Tried to Kill Her Neighbor’s Baby, was a the New York Times bestseller, winner of a World Fantasy Award and one of New York magazine’s Ten Best Books of the Year and NPR’s Five Best Works of Foreign Fiction. James Wood, in The New Yorker, called it “a revelation—like reading late-Tolstoy fables, with all of the master’s directness and brutal authority.”
In this new collection, Petrushevskaya—who has also been compared to Chekhov, Beckett, Poe, Angela Carter, and even Stephen King—demonstrates how much can be said about human connection with so few words. These realist tales of women looking for love are the stories that she is best known for in Russia.
THERE ONCE LIVED A GIRL… is made up of seventeen fables of marriage, courtship, sex, and love: the office one-night stand that creates a baby; the awkward tryst in a communal apartment; the responsible father chased away from his family by an insane and jealous wife; and the unremarkable and predictable souls who find they have drifted inevitably into union. Romance, violence, infidelity, tenderness—Petrushevskaya has compiled all of those great narrative traditions into an elegant and macabre collection of stories that show just why she is Russia’s preeminent contemporary fiction writer.
LUDMILLA PETRUSHEVSKAYA was born in 1938 in Moscow, where she still lives. She is the author of more than fifteen volumes of prose, including the short novel The Time: Night, shortlisted for the Russian Booker Prize in 1992, and Svoi Krug, a modern classic about the 1980s Soviet intelligentsia. The progenitor of the women’s fiction movement in modern Russian letters, she is also a playwright whose work has been staged by leading theater companies all over the world. In 2002 she received Russia’s most prestigious prize, The Triumph, for lifetime achievement.
ANNA SUMMERS is the co-editor and co-translator of Ludmilla Petrushevskaya’s There
Once Lived a Woman Who Tried to Kill Her Neighbor’s Baby and literary editor of The Baffler. Born in Moscow, she now lives in Cambridge, Massachusetts.