The Baffler’s literary editor Anna Summers will be at Harvard Book Store this Monday, Feb. 11, at 7 p.m., to present There Once Lived a Girl Who Seduced Her Sister’s Husband, and He Hanged Himself: Love Stories, by Ludmilla Petrushevskaya. Published this week by Penguin—just in time for Valentine’s Day—these stories were selected, translated, and introduced by Anna, who first encountered them growing up in Moscow. “Ludmilla Petrushevskaya writes instant classics,” said the Daily Beast’s “This Week’s Hot Reads” on Monday. “These are love stories, scored to a totalitarian track that makes the mystery of love ever more murky.”
This new collection follows Petrushevskaya’s celebrated volume of “scary fairy tales,” There Once Lived a Woman Who Tried to Kill Her Neighbor’s Baby, which Anna co-translated and Penguin published on Halloween in 2009. A New York Times bestseller, one of New York magazine’s Ten Best Books of the Year, one of NPR’s Five Best Works of Foreign Fiction, and the winner of the World Fantasy Award, the collection was praised by James Wood in The New Yorker as “A revelation—it is like reading late-Tolstoy fables, with all of the master’s directness and brutal authority. A WONDERFUL BOOK.”
So come to the event, or buy the new collection, and join in the discovery of Russia’s most accomplished and beguiling living writer. “Russia is a land of women Homers, women who tell their stories orally, just like that, without inventing anything,” Petrushevskaya, 74, has said from her home in Moscow. “They’re extraordinarily talented storytellers. I’m just a listener among them.”
Come to the event this Monday, buy the book, listen in.
Happy Valentine’s Day!