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Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group, Spring 2019

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    9781524732783 Electronic book text, Reflowable, , EPUB 9781524732776 Hardback, $34.95 CAD 9780525589105 Downloadable audio file, $23 CAD
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    Distributor: Penguin Random House Availability: Available On Sale Date:Feb 19, 2019 Carton Quantity:24
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Aetherial Worlds
By (author): Tatyana Tolstaya
9780525434184 Paperback, Trade English General Trade FICTION / Short Stories Feb 19, 2019
$22.00 CAD
Active 5.14 x 7.94 x 0.67 in | 0.48 lb 256 pages Vintage
From one of modern Russia’s finest writers: a spellbinding collection of eighteen stories, her first to be translated into English in more than twenty years

Ordinary realities and yearnings to transcend them lead to miraculous otherworlds in this dazzling collection of stories. A woman’s deceased father appears in her dreams with clues about the afterlife; a Russian professor in a small American town constructs elaborate fantasies during her cigarette break; a man falls in love with a marble statue as his marriage falls apart; a child glimpses heaven through a stained-glass window. With the emotional insight of Chekhov, the surreal satire of Gogol, and a unique blend of humor and poetry all her own, Tolstaya transmutes the quotidian into aetherial alternatives. These tales, about politics, identity, love, and loss, cut to the core of the Russian psyche, even as they lay bare human universals. Tolstaya’s characters—seekers all—are daydreaming children, lonely adults, dislocated foreigners in unfamiliar lands. Whether contemplating the strategic complexities of delivering telegrams in Leningrad or the meditative melancholy of holiday aspic, vibrant inner lives and the grim elements of existence are registered in equally sharp detail in a starkly bleak but sympathetic vision of life on earth.

Publication History: Knopf hardcover, March 2018

TATYANA TOLSTAYA lives in Moscow. For twelve years, she was the cohost of The School for Scandal, a popular talk show on Russian television covering culture and politics. She is also the cofounder of a creative writing academy there. She has written for The New York Review of Books and The New Yorker. Five of her books, including her novel The Slynx, have been translated into English.

Translated by Anya Migdal.

Author Residence: Moscow

Author Hometown: St. Petersburg

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“Marvelously vivid. . . . Tolstaya’s vision reveals the world as a complex system of real and unreal realms . . . floodlit by flashes of transcendence.” The New York Times Book Review

“Beautiful. . . . The best of Tolstaya’s stories trace [the] intersection of imagination and memory, where the two become something greater by not being merely one or the other.” The New Yorker

“Resplendent. . . . Playful and poetic . . . Memory fuses with wonder, and wonder with worship.” —The Wall Street Journal

“Grimly hilarious. . . . Divinely quotable. . . . Everything in this generous writer’s hands is vivid and alive.” —Joy Williams, Bookforum

“Masterful. . . . A collection of dark, funny folkloric tales.” —The Paris Review

“Call off the search for Tatyana Tolstaya’s origins among the Russian greats: There's no one like her anywhere, then or now. She is a writer of breathtaking originality, boldness and importance.” —Thomas McGuane, author of Cloudbursts

“Tolstaya’s writing is so good that it cuts through the surface directly to the universal workings of the human heart.” —BookPage

“Praised by Nobel laureate Joseph Brodsky as ‘the most original, tactile, luminous voice in Russian prose,’ Tolstaya, two decades on, is all that and more in this edgy, brash, slyly surreal, and mordantly funny short story collection. . . . Tolstaya’s daring, masterful stories, crisply translated, glint and whirl with extraordinary dimension and force.” —Booklist

“These uniformly masterful stories reject any attempt at easy categorization, resulting in a profound, surprising, and rich experience. . . . While the works blend fantasy and fact, often within the same story, what unites them all is Tolstaya’s singular and assured voice, capable of beautiful specificity.” —Publishers Weekly (starred review)

“Elegant, lyrical tales woven with melancholy and world-weariness—but also with a curious optimism. A gem.” —Kirkus Reviews (starred)

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