Customer Reviews for

There Once Lived a Girl Who Seduced Her Sister's Husband, and He Hanged Himself: Love Stories

Average Rating 4
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  • Posted January 29, 2013

    I was not familiar with Ms. Petrushevskaya prior to receiving th

    I was not familiar with Ms. Petrushevskaya prior to receiving this book, but reading her stories was like hanging out with a Russian Eudora Welty. She captured the gritty and dark quality of life in her country during a time filled with angst, worry, and poverty. Many of these stories are very humorous and easy to relate to, but there are other tales that are sad, heartbreaking, and poignant. Judging from the forward, it would appear that her own life was full of those things and that like so many of us, she writes about what she knows.
    One of my favorite stories was called The Goddess Parker. The plot revolves around a male school teacher called A.A. He is looking for privacy but finds himself becoming friendly with an old woman named Alvetina. Through Alvetina, he meets the most important woman in his life and almost loses her. It is a simple story--one we've even heard before--but it's told in such a way that you can't help but want to read it just one more time.
    Another story that stood out for me was The Fall. It's about a woman who is the bell of the ball and attracts men by just the way she tosses her hair. Through the use of her feminine wiles, we see her carry on a passionate love affair that both she and the reader know will end badly, but like a car wreck, you just can't seem to look away from it. It feels all too real.
    Maybe that's the thing about Ms. Petrushevskaya's stories: they feel like people you know. Their highs, their lows--she does an excellent job of drawing the reader in to her world. That quality is what kept me reading each story.
    By the way, these are short tales. I read the whole book in one sitting, but they are engaging enough to read in small spurts, too. The paperback goes on sale today at Amazon!

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted March 19, 2013

    A Thousand Personalities

    A collection of quick introductions and even quicker closures. The stories bring in characters with such brief introductions but Ludmilla amazes me with her ability to make that person known to me with but a single sentence about them. This is not a novel that spends the whole novel explaining the nature of each character, but instead it is quick and agile interplay between so many people at once. And from a Russian perspective! With each short story I read in this book, I come out knowing everyone in the neighborhood. But I cannot give it five stars; only four. Sometimes I need a little slower of a story; that is to say, with more explanation. I'd love the stories to last a little longer.

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  • Posted March 12, 2013

    more from this reviewer

    The first thing that you will notice is that these are not the p

    The first thing that you will notice is that these are not the pretty fables on which little girls dreams are made: these are tales rich with detail and description about love stories of the real world.  Convenience, anger, arrangement, apathy and even unrequited loves are detailed with direct and detailed language, dark humor and ridiculously twisted circumstances.  A new introduction to the Russian sense of storytelling, in which a happy ending is often little more than fantasy and the author is not obligated to fill your head with fantastical dreams.  

    Sometimes shocking, certainly more dark and depressing than the secondary title of Love Stories would indicate, Petrushevskaya has a talent for spare and emotionally powerful language that creates visceral reactions to the story, often before the end.  Seventeen entries, each with a tale of the love they see to tell, faerie tales with the hopefulness and wishes, but without the overlay of happy, joyful fantasy but the cold hard reality of real life. 

    It’s a book that makes you think, effortlessly combining the macabre with the mundane forcing readers to look at the darker side of human nature, it’s there; now deal with it. 

    I received an eBook copy from the publisher via NetGalley for purpose of honest review. I was not compensated for this review: all conclusions are my own responsibility. 

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 5, 2013

    I dont get it?

    What is it talking about? I got so confused and I haven't even read the book!!!!!!!
    What the crap...
    Not a good read I dont think...

    0 out of 8 people found this review helpful.

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