Mute Phone Calls: And Other Stories

Ruth Zernova, Author, Ruf' Aleksandrovna Zernova, Author, Helen Reeve, Editor Rutgers University Press $35 (236p) ISBN 978-0-8135-1735-3
Most of Zernova's ( Zhenskie Rasskazy: Women's Stories ) generally autobiographical tales are set in a Soviet Union where one can be robbed of security, family, livelihood or freedom at a moment's notice. Like their creator, all the heroine/narrators are intellectuals, and most have been arrested without cause and sent for several years to prison, away from their small children. Bringing to their ordeals intelligence, decency and introspection, they emerge with uncommon perception and a reflective, melancholy appreciation of life. With quirky bravado, the protagonist in ``Elizabeth Arden'' keeps her appointment for a facial with her cosmetician, although each is haunted by nightmarish fears of secret police surveillance. In ``Kuzka's Mother'' labor camp inmates demonstrate pathos, courage and staggering adaptability. A middle-aged couple in ``A Long, Long Summer'' takes delight in the children who play beneath their windows, recapturing the years they missed their own children when both were imprisoned. A sensitive collection that brings a sturdy message of hope. Reeve teaches at Connecticut College. (Nov.)
Reviewed on: 11/04/1991
Release date: 10/01/1991
Paperback - 236 pages - 978-0-8135-1736-0
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