On the Golden Porch

Tat'iana Tolstaia, Author, Ashbel Green, Editor Alfred A. Knopf $17.95 (198p) ISBN 978-0-394-57798-2
Distantly related to Leo Tolstoy, the author is one of the ``hot'' new Soviet writers, and this first collection of 13 stories, which caused an uproar in official literary circles, was an immediate sell-out in Moscow. Tolstaya's range is deliberately narrow, centering around the domestic crises of ``ordinary,'' if eccentric individuals, whom she views with a sardonic eye. In ``Hunting the Wooly Mammoth,'' a predatory woman desperate to marry stalks a successful engineer oblivious to her designs. The wife and mother in ``Fire and Dust'' describes her dream of turning a communal flatmate's quarters into a frilly white bedroom, her disappointing job and a friend who would be pitiable, except for her uncanny ability to bewitch any man within reach. A debonair man who exudes power and wealth in ``The Fakir'' turns out to be a fake--a discriminating shopper (ever important in the country of queues) who sublets his magnificent apartment. Notable for its light touch and uniform high quality, this collection marks Tolstaya as a natural storyteller who sheds fresh light on the contemporary Moscow scene. (Apr.)
Reviewed on: 04/01/1989
Release date: 04/01/1989
Genre: Fiction
Hardcover - 978-0-517-05635-6
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