The Girl from the Metropol Hotel by Ludmilla Petrushevskaya
Growing Up in Communist Russia

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...maybe she plans to expand her memoir in a second volume. I hope so, and hope that her next book is as well published, and as gracefully translated, as this one.
-National Post arts

Synopsis

The prizewinning memoir of one of the world’s great writers, about coming of age as an enemy of the people and finding her voice in Stalinist Russia
 
Born across the street from the Kremlin in the opulent Metropol Hotel—the setting of the New York Times bestselling novel A Gentleman in Moscow by Amor Towles—Ludmilla Petrushevskaya grew up in a family of Bolshevik intellectuals who were reduced in the wake of the Russian Revolution to waiting in bread lines. In The Girl from the Metropol Hotel, her prizewinning memoir, she recounts her childhood of extreme deprivation—of wandering the streets like a young Edith Piaf, singing for alms, and living by her wits like Oliver Twist, a diminutive figure far removed from the heights she would attain as an internationally celebrated writer. As she unravels the threads of her itinerant upbringing—of feigned orphandom, of sleeping in freight cars and beneath the dining tables of communal apartments, of the fugitive pleasures of scraps of food—we see, both in her remarkable lack of self-pity and in the two dozen photographs throughout the text, her feral instinct and the crucible in which her gift for giving voice to a nation of survivors was forged.

“From heartrending facts Petrushevskaya concocts a humorous and lyrical account of the toughest childhood and youth imaginable. . . . It [belongs] alongside the classic stories of humanity’s beloved plucky child heroes: Edith Piaf, Charlie Chaplin, the Artful Dodger, Gavroche, David Copperfield. . . . The child is irresistible and so is the adult narrator who creates a poignant portrait from the rags and riches of her memory.” —Anna Summers, from the Introduction
 

About Ludmilla Petrushevskaya

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Ludmilla Petrushevskaya has published stories in the New Yorker, Harper's Magazine, and n + 1. Born in 1938, she is one of Russia's most celebrated contemporary authors. She lives in Moscow. Anna Summers is the coeditor and co-translator of Ludmilla Petrushevskaya's There Once Lived a Woman Who Tried to Kill Her Neighbor's Baby and the literary editor of the Baffler. Born in Moscow, she now lives in Cambridge, Massachusetts.
 
Published February 7, 2017 by Penguin Books. 174 pages
Genres: Biographies & Memoirs, History, Travel. Non-fiction
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Critic reviews for The Girl from the Metropol Hotel
All: 2 | Positive: 2 | Negative: 0

NY Times

Good
Reviewed by ILYA KAMINSKY on Feb 09 2017

Ultimately, the girl emerges not only uncrushed but one of Russia’s best, and most beloved, contemporary authors, which brings to mind Auden’s famous words about Yeats: “Mad Ireland hurt him into poetry.” This memoir shows us how Soviet life hurt Ludmilla Petrushevskaya into crystalline prose.

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National Post arts

Good
Reviewed by Robert Fulford on Feb 27 2017

...maybe she plans to expand her memoir in a second volume. I hope so, and hope that her next book is as well published, and as gracefully translated, as this one.

Read Full Review of The Girl from the Metropol Ho... | See more reviews from National Post arts

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