Born in Leningrad, Tatyana Tolstaya comes from an old Russian family that includes the writers Leo and Alexei Tolstoy. She studied at Leningrad State University and then moved to Moscow, where she continues to live. She is also the author of Pushkins Children: Writings on Russia and Russians.
A New York Review Books Original
Jamey Gambrell is a writer on Russian art and culture. Her translations include Marina Tsvetaeva's Earthly Signs: Moscow Diaries 19171922 and Vladimir Sorokin's Ice, published by NYRB Classics on December 2006.
Antonina W. Bouis's most recent translation from the Russian is Edvard Radzinsky's Alexander II: The Last Great Tsar.
Tolstaya carves indelible people who roam the imagination long after the book is put down. Time
Tatyana Tolstayas short storieswith their unpredictable fairy-tale plots, appealingly eccentric characters, and stylistic abundance and flairestablished her in the 1980s as one of modern Russias finest writers. Since then her work has been translated throughout the world. Edna OBrien has called Tolstaya an enchantress. Anita Desai has spoken of her works richness and ardent life. Mixing heartbreak and humor, dizzying flights of fantasy and plunging descents to earth, Tolstaya is the natural successor in a great Russian literary lineage that includes Gogol, Yuri Olesha, Bulgakov, and Nabokov.White Walls
is the most comprehensive collection of Tolstayas short fiction to be published in English so far. It presents the contents of her two previous collections, On the Golden Porch
and Sleepwalker in a Fog
, along with several previously uncollected stories. Tolstaya writes of lonely children and lost love, of philosophers of the absurd and poets working as janitors, of angels and halfwits. She shows how the extraordinary will suddenly erupt in the midst of ordinary life, as she explores the human condition with a matchless combination of unbound imagination and unapologetic sympathy.