Sonechka by Ludmila Ulitskaya
A Novella and Stories

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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.

From the Hardcover edition.

About Ludmila Ulitskaya

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LUDMILA ULITSKAYA was born in the Urals. Shortly before perestroika she became Repertory Director of the Hebrew Theatre of Moscow. She is the author of fourteen fiction books, three children's books and six plays. She is Russia's bestselling novelist.
Published December 18, 2007 by Schocken. 257 pages
Genres: Literature & Fiction. Fiction

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even when her elderly husband takes up with the canny Polish girl Jasia, and finds new life painting her, Sonechka acts nobly, shining with “a quiet joy of literary perfection.” In “Zurich,” Ulitskaya yanks her reader into the brutal exigencies of modern-day Russian economics as 30-year-old Lida,...

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Suite 101

political spin, greed for gold, and worship of royalty.

Dec 21 2009 | Read Full Review of Sonechka: A Novella and Stories

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