There once lived a girl who seduced her sister’s husband and he hanged himself
Lyudmila Petrushevskaya (Author)
Anna Summers (Translator)
Pub Date: Jan 29 2013
This is a collection of short stories about love, different kinds of love. Because not all love is what the movies make us believe it is. Sometimes it’s great, sometimes it’s unrequited and at times it can just make you feel miserable or more lonely than ever before. This book definitely delves into the sadder spectrum of emotions and situations that come with love. All the stories take place in Russia while most people are struggling financially.
I expected to love this book a lot more than I thought I would. I enjoy good short stories from time to time, but these are definitely not at the top of my favourites list. Overall I think that the author sometimes just wanted to put in too many events into one short story which made the whole thing superficial. It just lacked depth for me to absolutely love it. Often I really loved the story that was forming, I just didn’t not get enough information to be really pulled into the story.
The biggest disappointment for me was that the story which the title was based on just wasn’t a story. It was a list for the most part, just a summation of what happened after the last point. And just when it started getting better, it dipped back down again. I had expected a really good story there, and was just let down big time. There was just too much storyline in most of the stories especially considering how short they were.
It’s very hard to discuss the characters in this book. Every character is just with us for a very short time, but confusingly certain names were used more than once. I admit, sometimes this had me puzzled about whether this was a new storyline, or just a second short story about a previous character. (It was a new story every time). Sometimes I did feel a connection with the characters, but definitely not in every story. But I guess it’s very hard to put a lot of character in just a couple of pages, especially considering that the focus was clearly on the situation rather than the people in them. Or that’s how it seemed to me in any case.
These stories were generally speaking not of a happy variety. But it was great at showing that love isn’t a singularly happy thing in some people’s lives. It also seemed pretty normal for these people to have affairs apparently. But it was interesting to see affairs from different points of view, naturally it was in different short stories.
In short, this was not as good as I expected it to be, but it was far from bad. If short stories about the less fun side of love appeal to you, definitely give it a chance!