The first book of short stories by Tatiana Tolstoy, one of the most famous contemporary writers “On the Golden Porch Seated.” Appeared in 1987 and was very warmly received by readers and critics. After exactly ten years, the collection of her stories “You Love – Do not Love” comes out, which also immediately attracts readers’ attention.
What is so attractive prose of this writer?
T. Tolstoy’s stories leave a surprising impression of contact with a fairy tale. This author invites us to plunge into the fantasy world of fantasy, in which a person “transforms the world beyond recognition” (“Fakir”) by “waving his hand, moving his eyebrows.” This prose requires a slow immersion and creates a special poetic mood.
The themes of T. Tolstoy’s stories differ in variety and, undoubtedly, will attract the attention of a wide range of readers.
So, one of the problems of her works is a dream
in a confrontation with reality, the problem of true and false existence (“Rendezvous with a bird”, “Fire and dust”, “Fakir”, “Peter”).
Tolstoy raises a difficult question about the justification of the human sacrifice in all its manifestations – in love, in the family, in work, in creativity. About this – the stories “Sonia”, “The most beloved”, “Poet and Muse”.
In her works the theme of the orphanhood and loneliness of man in the world of misunderstanding and cruelty (“Sleep peacefully, son”, “Night”, “The flame of heaven”) sounds. Heroes are in search of their place in the world (“Circle”, “
The writer also explores the problem of a person’s relationship to time, the connection of the past with the present and the future (“You love – you do not love”, “You sat on the golden porch.”, “A month out of the mist”, “Sweetheart”).
In her stories, Tolstaya offers the reader a “catalog
of memories” about the past, from which a whole childhood image emerges – nostalgic, distant, illusory. This image “all is impregnated with the mysterious, sad, magical, noisy in the branches, wavering in the dark water” (“Rendezvous with the bird”).
So, from her stories we learn that “under the bed, closer to the steppe – everyone knows – lies the Serpent: in laced boots, a cap, gloves, motorcycle goggles, and in his hand a hook.” (“You Love – You Do not Love”). We remember that as a child, “we had winter, winter, winter, mumps and measles, floods and warts, and a Christmas tree burning with mandarins.” (“They sat on a golden porch.”). We see how in a plate of rice porridge “a melting island of oil floats in the sticky Sargasso Sea” (“Rendezvous with a bird”).
Reading this book confronts the reader with a multitude of very different problems, requires an answer to serious philosophical questions.
For example, what kind of life is real, real, but complicated, like that of Pipka, or created in dreams, but comfortable, like Rimma’s from the story “Fire and dust”? What has great value in this life – pragmatism and sober calculation of Nina (“The Poet and the Muse”) or the blind sacrifice of Sonya from the story of the same name? What kind of love is genuine: the “simple and everyday” love of Zhenya (“The most beloved”), the caring love of Nina (Poet and Muse) or the calculating love of Zoe who does not want to “love without guarantees” (“Hunting for a mammoth”)?
In Tolstoy’s prose, all the classical values of life are reinterpreted or mocked. For example, in the stories “Hunting for a mammoth”, “Poet and Muse” the author ironically over traditional family values. Through the images of Zhenya (“Most Beloved”) and Sonya from the story of the same name, the idea of a human sacrifice is questioned. “Fire and dust” is a vivid example of mockery of the natural human desire for comfort and material well-being.
Thus, the work of T. Tolstoy is close to the tradition of postmodernism with its idea of a new interpretation of the content of classical literature.
P. Chekhov, V. V. Nabokov, I. A. Bunin, A. N. Tolstoy, etc. At the same time, Tolstaya does not borrow ideas and does not copy the style of these writers, but encapsulates the content of their work in a modern form. This feature of the creative manner of T. Tolstoy was directly reflected in this collection.
The language of this book is also unusual and, undoubtedly, will not leave the reader indifferent. In the stories presented in the collection, the traditional Tolstoy principle of “linking associations”, “stringing images” is manifested. We observe how one fleeting impression, an accidental episode of life, is caused by a whole stream of associations, which is filled with new details and semantic nuances: “Tosca moved closer to Ignatyev, waved her ghostly sleeve – sailed the ships in a string. verandah at the governor’s house (cigarettes, liqueurs, hand-made parrots) .Sleep children sleepily in the cabins, little trusting boys. In the impenetrable darkness, with a soft splash, a flock of ships flies away, and are smoothed to the warmth smooth surface “narrow lancet traces” (“Pure leaf”).
The prose of this amazing author leaves the reader with the impression of an extraordinary volume of the world. It is full of sounds, colors, smells and sensations. And if “there was no science in the world that would study the smell of a night garden, a swarm of sea foam, the dark glitter of ocean pearls and the thumping of a lonely heart” (“A month passed from the mist”), Tolstoy’s work is such a science that she offers comprehend and its reader.
If you are imbued with images of this unusual writer, you will definitely succeed!