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The wonderful verve, unflagging verbal invention, and wicked charm that Tatyana Tolstaya brings to the short story have earned her a devoted audience all over the world. Edna O’Brien has called her “an enchantress.” Anita Desai has spoken of her work’s “richness and ardent life.” Stemming from a Russian tradition of heartbreak and humor, mixing harsh realism and disconcerting fantasy with lyrical abandon, Tolstaya is the natural successor to the Bulgakov of The Master and Margarita and the Nabokov of Pnin. In these pages we meet Denisov, who dreams of composing a treatise that will prove the metaphysical impossibility of Australia; Natasha, who searches not only Leningrad but her memory for a great love she knows she once had. Tolstaya’s gift for characterization is unequaled, and again and again she shows how the extraordinary will suddenly erupt in the midst of ordinary life.
This original collects the contents of Tolstaya’s two previously published collections of short fiction, On the Golden Porch and Sleepwalker in a Fog, together with new stories that appear here in English for the first time. It is a necessary introduction to the work of a thrilling and enduring proponent of the short story.
Praise for White Walls:
"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….Beautiful, imaginative and disconcerting, Tolstaya’s Russia is a labyrinth of treasures and horrors.” –Publishers Weekly
“Tolstaya carves indelible people who roam the imagination long after the book is put down.” –Time
"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