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Érase una vez una mujer que quería matar al bebé de su vecina

3.63  ·  Rating details ·  3,314 ratings  ·  482 reviews
Relatos de extraños y mágicos sucesos en Rusia de hoy.
Paperback, 247 pages
Published 2011 by Atalanta (first published 2009)
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Average rating 3.63  · 
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Start your review of Érase una vez una mujer que quería matar al bebé de su vecina
Ilse
The soul will never return to that former time, that other life. It needs to drag along in this current one, unfortunately. Because it’s the former life that’s always dearest to us. That’s the life coloured by sadness, by love – that’s where we left everything connected to what we call our feelings. Now everything is different: life just carries on, without joy, without tears.

Playing with the familiar beginning of many a fairy tale, the title of Ludmilla Petrushevskaya’s short story collection T
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Cheryl
I grew up listening to West African stories as deliciously weird as these ones, so once I perused my shelves and once again came across this collection by Petrushevskaya, I found myself interrupting my other reads, on a Sunday night, just to revisit these stories. While I don't agree that the collection is a Halloween one, I find that it is daring in its simple majestical and mystical storytelling. These stories include the strange, the surreal, the supernatural, the things that will have you sh ...more
Sandra
Dark and haunting, Petrushevskaya's stories have a deeper meaning to them than you would think at first glance. They might start off as fairy tales, "There once lived ...", but they soon turn less-than-ordinary. There is this strange and surreal feel to them, a certain otherworldly quality, bordering on the supernatural. In them we encounter people struggling through poverty, war, diseases, sadness and death, often experienced through a parallel realm, called Orchards of Unusual Possibilities, s ...more
Ema
Now that's a puzzling title, who almost screams: "Marketing plans!", because there is no story with such title in this collection. There is one story with the idea, yes, but the title is less shocking and more evocative - Revenge. I've learnt my lesson, in that I'll be suspicious of books with flashy titles from now on.
The title of another translation of her stories is even flashier: There Once Lived a Girl Who Seduced Her Sister's Husband, and He Hanged Himself. C'mon!

The stories are grouped
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Lotte
This was actually a pretty big disappointment. It totally sounded like the kind of book I would love (scary Russian fairytales! Yes, please!). Sadly however, the stories got pretty repetitive after a while, it was written in a very cold and distant way throughout and thus, I never felt any sort of connection to any of the characters. Consequently, I was also never actually truly scared by what happened, even though some weird sh*t happens in this book! Just not the kind of weird sh*t I could gra ...more
Christine
The story referred to in the title is the one called "Revenge". It's aptly titled because it is about relationships.

I love this book.

I've only read one short story by Petrushevskaya in another collection. I picked this up over the weekend at a bookstore. I had heard good things about it.

It's nice to know that sometimes the hype is correct.

This book is a collection of Petrushevskaya's more fairy tale genre fiction, so fantasy, magic realism, and fairy tale. It is split into four different section
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Alysia
Jan 04, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Some of these are better than others. Hygiene, The New Robinson Crusoes, The God Poseidon, and Marilena's Secret were the best in my opinion.
Kim Lockhart
May 23, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
If you like your short stories mostly concise and very very psychologically dark, this collection is for you. I thoroughly enjoyed them. Scary Fairy Tales should be a genre. Delightfully unsettling.
Andrew
We in the West love to stare at Russia through our screens -- maybe we watch any of the various collections of Russian news clips that reveal what we presume to be a nation of track-suited and vodka-soaked toxic males and leggy Slavic beauties in five-inch stilettos and crazy driving and Putinist operatives.

It's a vision that as far as I can tell is not 100 percent wrong, but it belies the fact that this all comes from something much darker and older. And this is what Petrushevskaya taps into --
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Jaanaki
Oct 30, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is a collection of nineteen short stories that reflect the agony, suffering and helplessness of the ordinary Russian citizen ,especially women in the past decades.
🌹🌹🌹🌹🌹🌹🌹🌹🌹🌹🌹🌹
To understand Ludmilla's writing ,it is crucial to understand her native country ,Russia and it's people .This is a harsh country with a history of harsh governments ,harsh weathers ,harsh famines and harsh revolutions and people who have managed to survive through it all .Ludmilla ,herself, never had it easy .She grew
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Cody Sexton
Ludmilla Petrushevskaya, is a virtual unknown here in the States but a very big deal in her native Russia.
Many of these stories fit roughly into a category of literature that Franco-Bulgarian structuralist Tzvetan Todorov calls the Fantastic—simply put: texts that cause the reader to hesitate between natural and supernatural explanations for the events described, much like Henry James' The Turn of the Screw.
The fantastic can be present in works where the reader experiences hesitation about wheth
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sologdin
Recommended for those at the center of the universe, in absolute and utter darkness, along among the stars.
El
Dec 24, 2009 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I actually did not intend to read this all in one sitting, but it happened for better or for worse. These nineteen stories (or "fairy tales") are comfortably short reads. They all are mystical and dark, with some undertones of Edgar Allan Poe and Anton Chekhov. I picked up on the Chekhov primarily because of the whole Russian Connection thing, but also because I just finished The Portable Chekhov. I mean, it's sort of hard to miss now.

These are the kinds of stories I like - totally bizarre, not
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Stephen Durrant
Jan 25, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book is subtitled "Scary Fairy Tales." Well, perhaps. But I did not find Petrushevskaya's wonderful collection of stories particularly scary, nor do I feel comfortable with the term "fairy tales." In fact, the closest I can come in my own lexicon for a term to describe this collection is from classical Chinese: 志怪 zhiguai. Loosely translated, this meas something like "accounts of the bizarre" and refers to a genre of Chinese stories that became particularly popular during the Six Dynasties ...more
Missy (myweereads)
“It's no secret, of course, that souls sometimes die within a person and are replaced by others — especially with age.”

There Once Lived A Woman Who Tried To Kill Her Neighbour’s Baby - Scary Fairy Tales by Ludmilla Petrushevskaya is a collection of the most bizarre tales which will surprise you in many ways. The stories in this collection cover all kinds of themes like vanishings, nightmares, apparitions, mysterious ailments and supernatural haunts.

I came across this book whilst browsing in the
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Roshani Chokshi
Satisfying gallows humor and deftly macabre, but I wanted a little more magic.
Madly Jane
REREADING

A major force in Russian literature. These are fables and fairy tales and so well written, I can't think of an American writer that really does better with this kind of fiction, which is of course, great literature, but also using the fairy tale mode. The author is writing cautionary tales that sting, but sometimes she attempts to quiet the struggling mind. These are moral tales.

This is about life and our struggles. Read them and weep or cry for joy that you are alive and able to read
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Mauoijenn
This book is wacky, wild and very blunt short creepy stories that YOU JUST HAVE TO READ! I enjoyed these very much and look forward to reading more of this author.
Dinah
I don't have much to say beyond a resounding "meh." Maybe I wasn't trying hard enough to find the moral in each story, which I thought was the point of fairy tales? Or maybe the sensibility was just too foreign, and the drama of the plots eluded me. Or maybe these were just dark stories, and mediocre. I'm thinking something was probably lost in translation, both linguistic and cultural. Disappointing.
Aubrey
2.5/5

I spent most of this book thinking of other books, which didn't work out to its favor within such a short span. Now, I've read a lot of horror, but that mostly happened back when I was young and impressionable, and the spine tingling sort of thing I prefer these days is the terror provoked by inescapable sociopolitical realities, sometimes subtle, sometimes not so much. A perfect example of the building subtlety to an inescapable crescendo was my recently read Scenes from Village Life by Oz
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Caterina
Of the most depressing things I 've ever read.
Hafizz Nasri
Mar 04, 2019 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: ebook
The strangest tales of quirky dark-horror of life and death. I love Song of the Eastern Slavs part cause it was intriguing and arose my curiosity, twisted ending and enthralling narratives. The other parts was okay but it plays with my understanding a lot-- the story-telling was a bit here and there, quite a chaos. The descriptiveness somehow a bit draggy and too dramatic but I appreciate the chilling goosebumps it gave me sometimes. Apart of Song of the Eastern Slavs part, I don't really fancy ...more
Imi
English Title: There Once Lived a Woman Who Tried to Kill Her Neighbor's Baby: Scary Fairy Tales

I can't say I'd recommend this collection as a whole, but there are a few gems that are well worth a read. There are a lot of stories crammed in, as most are very short, but many also focus on very similar themes and events, which meant either that each story was rather predictable or that, if you read them one after another, it's very easy to get them confused. I tried to read the whole collection sl
...more
Ryan Mishap
I'm not sure what to say about this....

I like the creepy atmosphere and otherworldly intrusions into our world that are described in these short stories, but can't help but feel that something was lost in translation.

I am fairly intuitive and able to synthesize stories cogently so that I can render short explanations of them that make quick sense, but I am unable to do so here. I can't help but feel like I am missing something in almost every story here. Whether this is due to a failure on my p
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Kai Coates
Oct 23, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The subtitle is "Scary Fairy Tales", but I felt it would be more accurate to say "Ghost Stories". Petrushevskaya's stories are more a chronicle of despair than actual frightening stories and ghosts and the afterlife appear frequently. I was very pleasantly surprised by this collection, having never read any of her work before. My favorites were "Hygiene," "The New Robinson Crusoes," "The Miracle," "My Love," and "There's Someone in the House." Although thematically similar, Petrushevskaya manage ...more
Danielle N
Feb 18, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Russian fairy tales & folklore.
This was a fascinating and haunting collection of what I would be tempted to describe as almost supernatural and beautifully eccentric fairy tales. Each story conceals a brilliant, while sometimes subtle twist that reveals a deeper meaning or moral lesson. While I often struggle with anthologies, Petrushevskaya successfully takes the stage here and owns it, delivering something truly unique. Elements of magical realism mixed in with dismal and bleak settings and scenarios deliver a somewhat othe ...more
ems
petrushevskaya's a living legend so i put off reading her stuff, thinking it might be too dense or symbolic or blah blah NOPE. NOT THE CASE AT ALL. I AM IN LOVE.*

*just don't read any of these before sleep or during an existential crisis
Philipp
Not the biggest fan of this - a collection of short stories around four 'themes', mostly dark fantasy tales. My problem is thatmany of the tales are too predictable. Often on the second page you think 'I bet this character killed herself and this is actually limbo', or, 'I bet this guy is a ghost', only to be proven right 3 pages later.

All stories have a somewhat Russia-under-Putin bent with corruption and random, invisible, state violence often playing a role, as in


She worked in a kindergarten
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Cynthia
Oct 07, 2009 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Petrushevskaya creates a world of aloneness. Even in the presence of others there is isolation, hopelessness. Survival is the highest good for which to strive. Mental and physical weakness is evil because it can destroy the individual and their companions. The settings and happenings are fantastic or worse, just real enough to tilt into horror. ALL the characters are classic unreliable narrators OR are their perceptions rawly real? The ground is always shifting underfoot....your heart slithers a ...more
Aurora
Mar 28, 2016 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
In these surreal and bleak urban myths from soviet and post soviet Russia we meet the titular woman who tries to kill her neighbor's baby; a father who wants to bring his daughter back to life; a family struggling to survive after a mysterious plagues hits the city; twin ballerinas cursed by an evil magician; and a woman who's convinced there's someone in her house and goes about fighting this invasion in an odd and unexpected way.

I was a little disappointed by this collection. I wanted to like
...more
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Ludmilla Stefanovna Petrushevskaya (Russian: Людмила Стефановна Петрушевская) (born 26 May 1938) is a Russian writer, novelist and playwright.

Her works include the novels The Time Night (1992) and The Number One, both short-listed for the Russian Booker Prize, and Immortal Love, a collection of short stories and monologues. Since the late 1980s her plays, stories and novels have been published in
...more

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