A woman finds herself filling a pit in the forest in the middle of the night; a family lock each other in their bedrooms to battle a strange plague; a wizard punishes two beautiful ballerinas by turning them into one hugely fat circus performer; a colonel is warned not to lift the veil from his dead wife's face; and a distraught father brings his daughter back to life by eating human hearts in his dreams.
In these blackly comic tales of revenge, disturbing deaths and haunting melancholy, Ludmilla Petrushevskaya blends miracles and madness in the darkest of modern fairy tales.
'Gave me nightmares ... These stories work the boundary states of consciousness like a tongue works an aching tooth'
'A revelation - like reading late-Tolstoy fables set in an alternative reality'
this short and rather extraordinary book of "Scary Fairy Tales" [...] succeed - in many cases quite hauntingly.
An entrancing collection of tales, as humane and unsentimental as Chekhov, as grim and funny as Beckett, as dark and unsettling as Poe.
Penguin has given this book instant promotion to 'modern classic' status and it's easy to see why. It is an extraordinary collection of jet-black tales by one of Russian's foremost writers, which has understandably inspired comparisons with Tolstoy. Beat that.