White Walls by Tatyana Tolstaya
Collected Stories (New York Review Books)

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Synopsis

A New York Review Books Original

“Tolstaya carves indelible people who roam the imagination long after the book is put down.” –Time

Tatyana Tolstaya’s short stories—with their unpredictable fairy-tale plots, appealingly eccentric characters, and stylistic abundance and flair—established her in the 1980s as one of modern Russia’s finest writers. Since then her work has been translated throughout the world. Edna O’Brien has called Tolstaya “an enchantress.” Anita Desai has spoken of her work’s “richness and ardent life.” Mixing heartbreak and humor, dizzying flights of fantasy and plunging descents to earth, Tolstaya is the natural successor in a great Russian literary lineage that includes Gogol, Yuri Olesha, Bulgakov, and Nabokov.

White Walls is the most comprehensive collection of Tolstaya’s short fiction to be published in English so far. It presents the contents of her two previous collections, On the Golden Porch and Sleepwalker in a Fog, along with several previously uncollected stories. Tolstaya writes of lonely children and lost love, of philosophers of the absurd and poets working as janitors, of angels and halfwits. She shows how the extraordinary will suddenly erupt in the midst of ordinary life, as she explores the human condition with a matchless combination of unbound imagination and unapologetic sympathy.
 

About Tatyana Tolstaya

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Born in Leningrad, Tatyana Tolstaya comes from an old Russian family that includes the writers Leo and Alexei Tolstoy. She studied at Leningrad State University and then moved to Moscow, where she continues to live. She is also the author of Pushkin's Children: Writings on Russia and Russians.Jamey Gambrell is a writer on Russian art and culture. Her translations include Marina Tsvetaeva's Earthly Signs: Moscow Diaries 1917-1922 and Vladimir Sorokin's Ice, published by NYRB Classics on December 2006.Antonina W. Bouis's most recent translation from the Russian is Edvard Radzinsky's Alexander II: The Last Great Tsar.
 
Published April 17, 2007 by NYRB Classics. 404 pages
Genres: Literature & Fiction. Fiction

Unrated Critic Reviews for White Walls

Kirkus Reviews

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The best expression of this theme is the marvelous “Fire and Dust.” Newly married Rimma sees “enormous happiness” in her future as she contrasts her life with that of Pipka, a crazy disaster-prone bohemian, but somehow Rimma’s life crumbles into an empty marriage while Pipka lands on her feet.

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Publishers Weekly

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Angels, imaginary friends, near-saints, shades and über-ogres fall to Earth among ordinary Russians and routinely succeed in whetting the imagination in this sparkling collection from Tolstoy's great-grandniece, a longtime New Yorker fiction contributor.

Feb 05 2007 | Read Full Review of White Walls: Collected Storie...

Entertainment Weekly

In the title story, a modern woman who owns a dacha outside Petersburg strips away its strata of wallpaper, destroying even the newspapers — ''brittle as layers of time'' — that the previous owner had glued to the wood: ''I tore the last traces of Mikhail Avgustovich from the walls that he had h...

Apr 13 2007 | Read Full Review of White Walls: Collected Storie...

Bestsellersworld

Tatyana Tolstaya's short stories--with their unpredictable fairy-tale plots, appealingly eccentric characters, and stylistic abundance and flair--established her in the 1980s as one of modern Russia's finest writers.

Apr 17 2007 | Read Full Review of White Walls: Collected Storie...

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The New York Review of Books

Edna O’Brien has called Tolstaya “an enchantress.” Anita Desai has spoken of her work’s “richness and ardent life.” Mixing heartbreak and humor, dizzying flights of fantasy and plunging descents to earth, Tolstaya is the natural successor in a great Russian literary lineage that includes Gogol, Y...

Apr 17 2007 | Read Full Review of White Walls: Collected Storie...

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