Time: Night

Overview

Anna Andrianova is a trite poet and disastrous parent living at the margin of a disintegrating Soviet culture. Despite heading a household of females—her mother; her daughter, Alyona; and Alyona's illegitimate children—Anna stubbornly subscribes to the Russian myth of traditional motherhood. Challenging that myth is Alyona, a woman of appallingly bad judgment who both needs Anna and hates her. Anna's voyage into the Soviet utopia's underbelly is a testimony to the dire fate of the mother/martyr under Communist ...
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Overview

Anna Andrianova is a trite poet and disastrous parent living at the margin of a disintegrating Soviet culture. Despite heading a household of females—her mother; her daughter, Alyona; and Alyona's illegitimate children—Anna stubbornly subscribes to the Russian myth of traditional motherhood. Challenging that myth is Alyona, a woman of appallingly bad judgment who both needs Anna and hates her. Anna's voyage into the Soviet utopia's underbelly is a testimony to the dire fate of the mother/martyr under Communist rule, yet the journey is undertaken with warped humor and sarcasm—the expression of Anna's desperation and the source of her strength as well. Published in Russia in 1992, The Time: Night serves as a fascinating and hilarious counterbalance to the sanctimonious depictions of Soviet society in its final years.


About the Author:
Ludmilla Prtrushevskaya was born in 1938 and is considered one of the most prominent dramatists in contemporary Russian theater. She is the author of the collection Immortal Love: Stories and the plays Cinzano and Three Girls in Blue.

Sally Laird translated Voices of Russian Literature: Interviews with Ten Contemporary Writers and Petrushevskaya's Immortal Love: Stories.

Presented in the form of scribbled notes written by one Anna Andrianovna in the solitary, desolate, and consoling hours of the night, this extraordinarily intense novel juxtaposes Anna's dreams and despair with startling wit and sublety, resulting in a revelation of modern Russian life that offers a brilliant illumination of the knot of love and fury that binds a family together.

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Editorial Reviews

Lesley Chamberlain
The writing is beautifully controlled and the spirit large .... She deserves a wide readership.
—(Times Literary Supplement)
Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Since she appeared on the Russian literary scene in the 1970s, Petrushevskaya has produced a steady outpouring of short stories and plays; today, she is generally considered to be one of the finest living Russian writers. This novel, the first of her works to appear in America, portrays the gritty, day-to-day life of ordinary Russians. The loosely structured narrative consists of a manuscript written by the now deceased Anna Andrianovna, a minor poet, interspersed with diary entries by Anna's feckless daughter, Alyona. Anna is desperately trying to hold on to her small apartment in Moscow while fending off the relentless demands of her two grown children and their families. Andrei, her son, is a petty crook recently released from prison; out of work and unable to free himself from a bad crowd, he constantly hits up his mother for money and threatens to move back home. Meanwhile, Alyona, who has a knack for involving herself with unsuitable men and getting pregnant, alternates between living at home and, after dumping her children with Anna, simply disappearing. And then there's Anna's senile mother, who clearly belongs in an institution. Petrushevskaya focuses on Anna's increasingly desperate situation and her conflicted feelings about her role as a mother, a daughter, a woman and a poet. While the facts of the story are relentlessly depressing, the author's signature black humor and matter-of-fact prose result in an insightful and sympathetic portrait of a family in crisis. (Sept.)
Library Journal
Awakened in the middle of the night, Soviet poet Anna Andrianovna pours out her grief in scribbled notes at the kitchen table. Anna is a women on the edge, a mother and grandmother scraping out a miserable existence in Moscow as she struggles to provide food and shelter for her extended family, most of whom abuse her kindness, ignore her advice, and shrink from her gestures of love. Anna's story moves at a breathless pace, becoming nearly incoherent as dawn approaches. The book's strength lies in Anna's character and the terrible irony with which she describes her daily life and frustrating attempts to understand the people she loves, with so little hope of reciprocation. This wry American debut, shortlisted for the Russian Booker Prize, is highly recommended for all fiction collections.-Sister M. Anna Falbo, Villa Maria Coll. Lib., Buffalo, N.Y.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780810118003
  • Publisher: Northwestern University Press
  • Publication date: 10/28/2000
  • Series: Fiction/Women's Studies Series
  • Edition description: Translated
  • Pages: 155
  • Sales rank: 1,405,045
  • Product dimensions: 4.38 (w) x 7.25 (h) x 0.50 (d)

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