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White Walls: Collected Stories: The Collected Stories (New York Review Books (Paperback)) Paperback – 29 Jun 2007

5.0 out of 5 stars 1 customer review

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Product details

  • Paperback: 416 pages
  • Publisher: NYRB Classics (29 Jun. 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1590171977
  • ISBN-13: 978-1590171974
  • Product Dimensions: 12.8 x 2.3 x 20.3 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 459,792 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

Review

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"

"Tolstaya demonstrates an impressive range in these 23 stories...Ýthat 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"
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"

" 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 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"

"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 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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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This is an extremely good buy. It incorporates her first book of 13 stories published in 1985 under the title On the Golden Porch, together with eleven other stories up to 2007, the whole collection is entitled White Walls. In the first series the main character is usually someone cheated by what life seemed to offer and failed to deliver, Tolstaya shows an unashamed empathy with them, their situation and its outcome. In the later stories there are more autobiographical fragments of her own early life which are used to illustrate the scene described. It is almost pitless in the unmasking of the selfishness which uses and exploits others especially those with generous or selfless attitudes as in the story Best Beloved. The title White Walls refers to the renovation of a family dacha near Leningrad which involved stripping the paper from the walls. It turned out that there were several layers, in a snese marking decades of occupation. As with the first group of stories, characteristics of Soviet llfe, such as communal flats, public baths, continuing censorship are still there, but are now set in a new context after Perestroika. The satirical strain reaches a peak in the story Limpopo with the organisation of the reception for a delegation from Africa. Her perspectives have been sharpened by periods of teaching in American universities in the 1980s and 1990s and her co-hosting a cultural TV progamme in Russia. Some reviewers in western newspapers have hailed her as the most outstanding writer in the post Soviet period. The stories mostly stand by themselves, but they spring from a literary tradition of satire and fantasy from Gogol, Mikhail Bulgakov and others with which some readers might not be familiar.Read more ›
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: HASH(0x922e17ec) out of 5 stars 3 reviews
14 of 19 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x931d3ab0) out of 5 stars Tolstaya, The Great Enchantress 21 July 2008
By Guttersnipe Das - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
If the literary style genie were to suddenly appear--he's bare-chested, muscled and tattooed like the rest of the genies, but wears spectacles and travels amid a flock of white index cards--I would say to that genie, "I want to be a queer Tatyana Tolstaya."

Tolstaya is the grand enchantress of the More-Is-More School, firing off one inspired rant after another. Her characters launch diatribes on why women should have fur tails, or teeth that receive radio signals. Plot matters less than the gleeful generous fireworks of language. Or the plot is the only plot that matters, namely, `I'm going to find some meaning and/or delight in this world'.

For almost two years now I've been attached to this book; every month I reread a few stories in hopes that they will prove contagious. Most of the stories in magazines so stilted and mannerly in comparison, like a respectable dinner party with white wine and filet of sole, and the whole time you're sitting there wishing it would finish already, so you could do out and carouse. Carouse and cavort is what Tolstaya's stories do--they are parties with dancing and fireworks. The New York Review of Books Classics series has rescued a lot of important books (check out: Walser, Desani, Chaudhuri, Pintorelli, Krudy) but this is one of the very best. And read Tolstaya's novel The Slynx too, but read this one first.
5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x922f775c) out of 5 stars Amazing 20 April 2010
By Lawrence Thursk - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
Fantastic use of language, surprising flights of fancy on every page. Am reading it now and loving it! Definitely one of the best contemporary Russian writers I've come across.
3 of 30 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x9455c960) out of 5 stars Satisfied customer. 15 Oct. 2007
By Bill B. Broughton - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Perfect condition. On time delivery.

However the book represnts one of the most depressing views of mankind I have ever read.
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