Ludmila Ulitskaya and the Art of Tolerance

Elizabeth A. Skomp and Benjamin M. Sutcliffe. Univ. of Wisconsin, $55 trade paper (268p) ISBN 978-0-299-30414-0
Professors Skomp and Sutcliffe's study of Russian author Ludmila Ulitskaya's novels and short stories is an in-depth and dense look at contemporary literature. Drawing on current events and past history, the authors address criticisms of Ulitskaya's popularity, her decision to position herself as part of the intelligentsia, and the limitations to the inclusiveness of her advocacy for people disenfranchised in modern Russia, such as LGBT residents. They also offer close readings of her work, with its themes of the body, the state, morality, and family. Ulitskaya comes across as shrewd and complicated. While the enormous popularity of her work seems to trouble Ulitskaya, who harbors suspicions of the literary marketplace, the authors argue that her success is integral to her literary significance. Readers with only a casual level of knowledge of Russian literature and history will struggle through this book. It's best suited for the confirmed fan or student of Russian literature, history, or Ulitskaya herself. (June)
Reviewed on: 05/04/2015
Release date: 06/01/2015
Genre: Nonfiction
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