White Walls: Collected Stories: The Collected Stories (New York Review Books) (New York Review Books (Paperback))

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9781590171974: White Walls: Collected Stories: The Collected Stories (New York Review Books) (New York Review Books (Paperback))
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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.

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Review:

"Tolstaya's voice is utterly her own, incorporating comic exaggeration, sly satire, bursts of lyricism and whimsy to intoxicating effect." --National Post (Canada)

"Tolstaya demonstrates an impressive range in these 23 stories...[that encompass] political satire, flights of surrealism and realistic urban and domestic dramas, nearly all set in the Soviet era...Children, old folks and the struggling in-betweens-Tolstaya sees into all their hearts. Remarkable" -Kirkus


Tolstaya has a wholly distinctive voice, a quirky yet lyrical voice that blurs the line between poetry and prose, visionary magic and plain, old-fashioned description....She is an enormously gifted writer.

Michiko Kakutani, The New York TimesTolstaya offsets layers of exquisitely constructed language with the colloquial and the idiomatic and in a similar way layers the commonplace with the supernatural. The creation of a brilliant jumble of motley metaphors is her gift - not plot, trajectory, or the arc of a story, but the plunge into the middle of dazzling verbiage, her bright universe." -The Boston Phoenix

Praise for Tolstaya:

Tolstaya is "considered by many critics and writers to be the foremost writer of her generation, a miniaturist whose stories combine the linguistic stardust of Vladimir Nabokov and the emotional wisdom of Anton Chekhov."- --The Washington Post

About the Author:

Tatyana Tolstaya was born in Leningrad in 1951 to an aristocratic family that includes the writers Leo and Alexei Tolstoy. After completing a degree in classics at Leningrad State University, Tolstaya worked for several years at a Moscow publishing house. In the mid-1980s, she began publishing short stories in literary magazines and her first story collection established her as one of the foremost writers of the Gorbachev era. She spent much of the late Eighties and Nineties living in the United States and teaching at several universities. Known for her acerbic essays on contemporary Russian life, Tolstaya has also been the co-host of the Russian cultural interview television program School for Scandal. Both her novel, The Slynx and her collection of stories, White Walls, are published by NYRB Classics.

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