Through the Wall (Penguin Mini Modern Classics) Paperback – 15 Feb 2011
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About the Author
Ludmilla Petrushevskaya was born in Moscow in 1938 and is the only indisputable canonical writer currently writing in Russian today. She is the author of more than fifteen collections of prose, among them the short novel The Time: Night, shortlisted for the Russian Booker Prize in 1992, and Svoi Krug, a modern classic about the 1980's Soviet intelligentsia. Petrushevskaya is equally important as a playwright: since the 1980s her numerous plays have been staged by the best Russian theater companies. In 2002, Petrushevskaya received Russia's most prestigious literary prize, The Triumph, for lifetime achievement. She lives in Moscow.
Top customer reviews
Babies and parenthood seems to be the biggest theme to the book. `Through The Wall' itself features Alexander's time in hospital and the things he can hear through the wall behind his bed. First a couple and then soon a family both have a profound affect on Alexander especially when there is a new born child in the latter case. Sounds like I am being vague, but it's a very short tale and one out of the whole collection that I am still trying to piece together. `The Father' tells of a man who has lost his children, though you wonder if he had any in the first place, until a woman tells him that he must venture by train to the `Fortieth Kilometer' which leads him to a mysterious wood and possibly all the answers.
`The Cabbage-Patch Mother' marks a slight change in the stories and here the collection becomes slightly more surreal and fairytale like, even though all the tales start with `once there was a man/woman'. We read of a woman who finds her baby `Droplet' in a cabbage patch (which made me think of the old saying which I am sure it was inspired by) yet her daughter will never grow and doctors will not treat her. As the tale unwinds, involving a mysterious hermit, we hear of the mother's previous failed pregnancies and I wondered if this was at heart what the story was about, a mother's fears during pregnancy and the turbulence afterwards? Maybe I am reading too much into it as I did with the longest tale `Marilena's Secret' (which is rather a romp about twins who are turned into one giant fat woman at the hand of a wicked wizard they reject) and how it looks at the outer person and the inner personality?
I was wondering if this would be a rather feminist collection (not that that would have mattered) but from writing in both sexes, and the final tale `Anna and Maria' is written by a man who can only work magic on people he doesn't love, which when his wife starts to die he tries to cheat, proves with `The Father' that she can write women and men just as well. This is a wonderful surreal, dark, gripping and often thought provoking selection. You could look deeply into every tale in this collection if I am honest or you could simply just read them for the enjoyment. It's not wonder I now want to read much more of her novels now is it?