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A Will & a Way

ISBN 5-7172-0029-3
240 pages, illustrated

In this collection of Russian women's writing
a new note of resolution and humour is heard.

Sample writing Maria Arbatova My Teachers

"Thanks to Glas many of the new Russian writers are now available to the Western reader." — The New Yorker

"This thought-provoking and often funny collection of women's writing has something for everyone's taste. It is arguably the finest edition of Glas to date." — The Moscow Times

"Glas 13 provides a fascinating cross-section of the writing talented women are producing in Russia today." — The Moscow Tribune

The heroines range from a wide-eyed child to a 95-year-old sculptress in love with a man sixty years her junior, a noblewoman adrift in Moscow to an old lady forgotten in an abandoned village, from a gynaecologist to a fairytale princess. Meet the women writers of Russia in the 1990s, Maria Arbatova, Ludmilla Petrushevskaya, Dina Rubina, Larissa Miller, Irina Muravyova, Nina Gabrielyan, and Irina Polyanskaya as they write about women unflinchingly facing up to a world of illness, old age, death, madness, and men.

See also Larissa Miller's autobiographical narrative Dim and Distant Days; Irina Muravyova's novel The Nomadic Soul; Nina Gabrielyan's stories Master of the Grass.


Maria Arbatova, born in 1957, is a dramatist, novellist, essayist and a leading activist in the feminist movement in Russia.
She has 14 plays to her credit, some of which have also been staged in the USA, England and Germany as well as in Russia. Arbatova is a leading feminist in Russia. My Teachers is an excerpt from her autobiographical novel summing up the first forty years of the Arbatova's life from her hippy childhood to the presidential advisor on women's issues. A victim of polio she was left lame for life but as a way of self-assertion this beautiful woman made numerous love conquests and a brilliant career as a public figure. Arbatova dissects her education at the hands of malevolent or lecherous teachers who grade capriciously and persecute their students, failing them if they refuse their sexual advances. Dysfunctional families and deficient educational systems are exposed with wit and humor.
Written in a dynamic, colorful style, Arbatova's book is a forceful protest against the sexist world Russian women have to live in.

"Erica Jong of Russian literature" — The Moscow Times

"Arbatova's two selections are reason enough to read this collection of Glas." — WORLD LITERATURE TODAY

Irina Polianskaya, born in 1952 in the Urals, is an actress by training and later graduated from the Literary Institute in Moscow. She has been widely published in literary journals, has several books to her credit, and has been included in many collections of Russian women's writing published in translation abroad.
Polyanskaya's fiction draws heavily on her biography. Published books: Mitigating Circumstances, The Messenger, The Pure Zone, Passing Through the Shadow, her latest book, is a novel about psychological and social blindness causing various human tragedies and fatal misunderstandings. It was short-listed for the Booker Prize in 1997.

"Her prose shows a special sensitivity to the significance of a given moment or gesture, conveyed via metaphore." — Prof. Helena Goscillo

Ludmila Petrushevskaya, born in 1938, a Muscovite, was originally known as a dramatist. Her sombre and unusual plays were highly popular among dissident-minded intellectuals in the 1970s and 80s.
In 1992 her novel The Time Night was short-listed for the Russian Booker Prize and later translated into many languages and included in college courses as one of the best novels of the 20th century. It was followed by a collection of short stories and monologues, Immortal Love, also translated into many languages.
Today Petrushevskaya's plays are produced around the world while her stories have been published in more than 20 countries. Petrushevskaya was awarded the prestigious Pushkin Prize by the Toepfer Foundation in Germany. She has also received prizes from the leading literary journals in Russia.
The Time Night, published by Northwestern University Press, is her magnum opus, describing the life of three women — a poetess struggling to make ends meet, her wayward daughter and her senile mother.
In this collection we offer three tales for adults, her favorite genre of the latest years.

"Told in an intimate, loose, over-the-back-fence style, this is an alternately funny and desperate book — a welcome introduction to a strong talent." — Kirkus Review

"The Time Night is one of the most powerful books on poverty that has ever been written." — Amazon.com

"One of the finest living Russian writers... Her signature black humor and matter-of-fact prose result in an insightful and sympathetic portrait of a family in crisis." — Publishers Weekly

"The writing is beautifully controlled and the spirit large... She deserves a wide readership." — TLS

"Petrushevskaya takes the reader on an unforgettable journey into the domestic hell where there is too little of everything: too little food, too little space, too little love. The Time Night provides a memorable glimpse into the dark side of life. Written in a stark, naturalistic style, the book brings the reader face to face with the harsh reality of life in Russia. It is not often a pleasant site, but it is one well worth the trouble." — The Moscow Times

Nina Gabrielyan, born in 1953, an Armenian living in Moscow, writes poetry and prose in beautiful Russian. She is a famous activist in the emerging feminist movement in Russia.
Typically for this author, in her story "The Lilac Dressing Gown" an intense young girl takes refuge in her imagination and never more effectively than when she sneaks into her mother's wardrobe and puts on her lilac dressing gown.

"The reader is immediately infected with Gabrielyan's happy amazement at the wonders of the world which she sees everywhere. Moving from the real into the surreal she invites the reader to accompany her into these two realities, which eventually turn out to be one and the same where the magic and the mundane merge, a reality that may at times be tragic and ridiculous but is invariably exciting." — NLO

Dina Rubina was born in 1953 in Tashkent (Central Asia), where she graduated from a special school for musically gifted children and then the conservatory with a major in piano.
Rubina's first story was published when she was sixteen, in the popular mass-circulation magazine Yunost (Youth).
In 1988, Rubina and her family emigrated to Israel.
In 1991, she was awarded the Arie Dulchik Prize for Literature, and in 1993 her novella Within Thy Gates was nominated for the Russian Booker Prize.

"Rubina creates a fictional world permeated by a sense of human tolerance and sympathy in the face of inevitable error, frailty, and conflict." — Helena Goscilo, in Dictionary of Russian Women Writers

"Truth is everywhere, and the artist spends his whole life digging for it like a prospector, grain by grain...." This quote from the novel could be the epigraph to Upper Maslovka, a story of a complex love-hate relationship between a strong-willed 95-year-old sculptress with an exceptional zest for life and a misfit stage director 50 years her junior. As the story unfolds you realize that the iron old lady is not attached to her room-mate as an adopted relative but she is actually passionately in love with him as a man. They fight almost all the time but remain inseparable and psychologically dependent on each other. In the end the old woman dies of pneumonia, despite the man's heroic efforts to save her life, thus leaving him disoriented and without a purpose in life. His social impotence is shown as a result of social circumstances and is in sharp contrast to the irrepressible vitality of his octogenarian girl friend. The novel offers an interesting insight into Moscow's artistic mileu (Upper Maslovka Street is famous for its artists' studios) as well as into an artist's psychology. The old lady's brilliant and biting wit sums up people and events around her making the novel entertaining and informative reading.