by Lyudmila Ulitskaya
translated from the Russian by Richard Pevear and Larissa Volkhonsky
from the April 3, 2023 issue of The New Yorker
This week we get a new story from Lyudmila Ulitskaya, author of The Big Green Tent and Jacob’s Ladder. I like her work a lot, so I’m hopeful we will keep getting more of them translated into English. Especially if they start with these kinds of sad truths:
By the time life was brought to perfection, old age had arrived.
This story is about Alisa, a woman who “belonged to the rare breed of people who know with perfect certainty what they want and what they don’t want under any circumstances.
I’m curious to see what Alisa is like. I’m also curious if we’ll be getting more of her work translated by Pevear and Volkhonsky. Her two novels referenced above were both translated by Polly Gannon, who did a great job. Her only other appearance in The New Yorker, “The Fugitive,” was translated by Bela Shayevich.
Anyway, I hope you’re having a great week, and I’d love to hear whether or not you liked “Alisa.” Please feel very welcome to comment below.