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Discovering America

Tatyana Tolstaya, 1 June 1989

... Russia – isn’t that somewhere east of Boston?’ asked the American airport official. In a sense, she was quite right: if you think about it, the whole world lies east of Boston. That’s why I love Americans. They take me back to the beautiful lost world of my sons’ childhood, when every question made one feel a solid, knowledgeable grown-up person, though weighed down with the sad and shameful experience of cynicism, deceit, habitual untruth, insoluble moral problems, with the burden of Europe’s bloody history, and also with the awareness of one’s own mortality – experience from which one would like to protect one’s children ...

Big Thinks

Patricia Beer, 20 August 1992

Sleepwalker in a Fog 
by Tatyana Tolstaya, translated by Jamey Gambrell.
Virago, 192 pp., £13.99, April 1992, 1 85381 305 2
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... Tatyana Tolstaya’s collection of short stories, On the golden Porch, published in Britain in 1989, was received with hysterical enthusiasm. Some rather silly things were said, like ‘Tolstaya writes.’ Some rather lazy comparisons were made too: she was likened to every Russian writer one can call to mind, with the exception, as far as I know, of Tolstoy ...

Russian Women

Penelope Fitzgerald, 1 June 1989

On the Golden Porch 
by Tatyana Tolstaya, translated by Antonia Bouis.
Virago, 199 pp., £12.95, May 1989, 1 85381 078 9
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Balancing Acts: Contemporary Stories by Russian Women 
edited by Helena Goscilo.
Indiana, 337 pp., $39.95, April 1989, 0 253 31134 9
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... Tatyana Nikitichna, her publishers keep reassuring us, is ‘descended from the Tolstoys’ – that’s to say, from Aleksey Tolstoy, not the one who wrote nonsense verse (with two cousins) under the name of Kuzma Prutkof, but the one who wrote The Road to Calvary. But none of this has any bearing on her brilliant success ...

Aphrodite bends over Stalin

John Lloyd, 4 April 1996

... is worth more than all the days of Solzhenitsyn on TV.’ In the New York Review of Books, Tatyana Tolstaya repeated the rumour that Solzhenitsyn had paid to have his show put on and cast doubt on the reality of the cancer which formed the subject-matter of Cancer Ward. Not long after the appearance of these two articles, the show was killed ...

Deconstructing Europe

J.G.A. Pocock, 19 December 1991

... oceanic proportions beyond the common markets in which post-modernism can flourish. Early in 1991, Tatyana Tolstaya drew attention to such a region in western Eurasia not far beyond Europe: ‘in the West the sense of history has weakened or completely vanished; the West does not live in history, it lives in civilisation (by which I mean the ...

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