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Ludmila Ulitskaya


a novel, 160 pp.
ISBN 5-7172-0038-2

Translated by Arch Tait

"There has never been a heroine in literature who were less heroic while at the same time being so striking and psychologically precise." — Gallimard

"Ulitskaya magically rehabilitates the genre of psychological drama so much abused during the Soviet period of Russian literature. In her intelligent narratives human dignity triumphs against all odds over misery and oppression."
— Zinovy Zinik, BBC World Service

Sonechka was shortlisted for the Booker Russian Novel Prize and has been enthusiastically received in French, German and Italian translations. It has been awarded the Penne Prize in Italy and the Medici Prize for foreign fiction in France.

Sonechka has a rare talent, perhaps even a genius, for reading. Her receptiveness to the printed word is so great that fictional heroes seem no less real than the sentient beings around her, and she is as convinced by the luminous suffering of Natasha Rostova at the bedside of the dying Prince Andrey in War and Peace as by the anguish of her own sister whose four-year-old daughter drowns in a well.
At the age of twenty-seven she is discovered, working in the basement of a remote library, by internationally renowned artist Robert Victorovich, exiled to Siberia during the Stalin terror. When in Robert's old age a new romance invades their marriage, Sonechka reveals unexpected reserves of womanly insight and strength.

"Ulitskaya's fresh, delicately sensual writing, full of the joys and pitfalls of every day, is a world away from gloomy, fear-driven reflections on the plight of human beings under the Soviet heel. Sonechka, twisting and turning unexpectedly among a small group of sympathetically drawn characters and across the generations, is in the end a tribute to the civilizing, humanly sustaining power of reading. With Ulitskaya, contemporary Russian fiction rediscovers a consoling and universal normality." — Lesley CHAMBERLAIN