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There Once Lived a Woman Who Tried to Kill Her Neighbor's Baby: Scary Fairy Tales
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There Once Lived a Woman Who Tried to Kill Her Neighbor's Baby: Scary Fairy Tales

3.64  ·  Rating details ·  2,994 ratings  ·  437 reviews
The literary event of Halloween: a book of otherworldly power from Russia's preeminent contemporary fiction writer

Vanishings and apparitions, nightmares and twists of fate, mysterious ailments and supernatural interventions haunt these stories by the Russian master Ludmilla Petrushevskaya, heir to the spellbinding tradition of Gogol and Poe. Blending the miraculous with th
Paperback, 206 pages
Published September 29th 2009 by Penguin Books Ltd (first published 2009)
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3.64  · 
Rating details
 ·  2,994 ratings  ·  437 reviews

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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
João Carlos

Liudmila Petrushévskaia (n. 1938)

Nascida em Moscovo Liudmila Petrushévskaia (n. 1938) é uma das escritoras contemporâneas mais conceituada na Rússia. Com apenas duas obras editadas em Portugal pela Relógio DÁgua a “Hora: Noite” (2011) e o livro de contos “A Mulher Que Tentou Matar o Bebé da Vizinha” (2012), Liudmila Petrushévskaia tem sido premiada nos Estados Unidos da América e na Europa Ocidental.
No livro “A Mulher Que Tentou Matar o Bebé da Vizinha” são reunidos dezanove contos, de excelent
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
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
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
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
Dec 05, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: n-russia, g-contos, 5e
Havendo a possibilidade de reencarnar, já não quero ser um felino mas sim uma escritora como Ludmilla Petrushevskaya...
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
Book Wyrm
Nov 30, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: slav-authors
Apparently Petrushevskaya was (basically) banned in Russia for being extremely pessimistic and bleak, and good God this book will not fill you with joy and sunshine (the title's a warning, not a joke). Instead you'll find state corruption, human misery, ghosts, messed up unnatural phenomena and alcoholic wise men. There's very little outsmarting of pixies or cannibal witches to achieve your happily ever afters in these upside down, modern Russian fairy tales.
I praise the hell out of the author f
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.
Oct 30, 2018 rated it really liked it
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
Feb 17, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: n-russia

Lyudmila Stefanovna Petrushevskaya - Людмила Стефановна Петрушевская; nasceu, em Moscovo, a 26 de Maio de 1938.

Só depois de 1986, com a Perestroika, é que Petrushevskaya passou a ser publicada na Rússia. Até esta data os seus originais ficaram “engavetados” por conta da censura do governo soviético.
Lyudmila tem uma prosa áspera, incómoda e envolvente, mas é também possível encontrar algum humor e um íntimo “dark”.
Muitas das histórias são fantásticas, contêm elementos místicos e alegóricos, mas s
Dec 24, 2009 rated it really liked it
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
Stephen Durrant
Jan 25, 2010 rated it really liked it
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
Cody Sexton
Jun 03, 2018 rated it it was ok
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
Roshani Chokshi
Satisfying gallows humor and deftly macabre, but I wanted a little more magic.
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
Madly Jane

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
Mauoijenn ~ *Mouthy Jenn* ~
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.
Miss Bookiverse
Das war leider so gar nicht meins. Zum einen sind die Geschichten unheimlich redundant (ich habe aufgehört zu zählen, wie oft die Hauptfigur sich am Ende als Geist/bereits tot herausstellt), zum anderen ist der Schreibstil sehr holprig und wirr. Mag vielleicht an er Übersetzung liegen, aber ich glaube an vielen Stellen ist es auch gewollt und einfach nicht mein Ding. Meistens kam für mich keine Nähe zu den Figuren auf und inhaltlich habe ich mich am Ende oft gefragt, was das jetzt sollte. Es mus ...more
Ksenia Anske
Oct 15, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
Now this is real horror, the quiet type that sneaks up on you and consumes you whole. And you weep. You don't cry, you weep. Such is the power of each and every one of these stories. Human grief and pain and love and hope, told so simply yet hitting you so hard. (By the way, some of the stories will make you weep with laughter.) My hat off. This is but the work of a genius. Where have you been all my life, Ludmilla?
Aug 01, 2010 rated it it was ok
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.
Santiago Eximeno
Una obra maestra. "Higiene" o "Los nuevos Robinson" son algunos de los mejores relatos que he leído en mi vida.
Of the most depressing things I 've ever read.
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
Guadalupe Campos
Lo más parecido a los sueños de una noche de fiebre que puede dar la literatura, probablemente.
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
Ryan Mishap
Jan 24, 2010 rated it liked it
Shelves: short-stories
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
Kai Coates
Oct 23, 2015 rated it it was amazing
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
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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
“It's no secret, of course, that souls sometimes die within a person and are replaced by others — especially with age.” 25 likes
“It was in a dream, though, that it happened, and dreams don’t count.” 7 likes
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