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The Funeral Party


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About the Author

Ludmila Ulitskaya was born in Russia and was trained as a geneticist. Her novels and short stories have been published in Russia, France, Germany, and elsewhere; The Funeral Party is her American debut. She lives in Moscow.


Beautiful, lyrical prose is the hallmark of this novel, which relates Alik's last days, spent in his stifling New York apartment. Like most of his friends, Alik is a Russian migr who loves America. To him, everyday life on the street is "living theater," and the subway system is a masterpiece. Opinions on love, religion, life, death, and homeland vs. exile flow among his friends, wife, and lovers, who always gather at his apartment. Alik is a charismatic, well-liked artist who is dying of a mysterious disease that makes his muscles useless. His death is peaceful, and the funeral is cathartic for all who attend. Russian author Ulitskaya (Sonechka and Other Stories) lives in Moscow but spends a good deal of time in New York City. Her short, eloquent novel is recommended for all larger libraries.DLisa Rohrbaugh, East Palestine Memorial P.L., OH Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.

The oddly matched protagonists in this award-winning Russian author's lively American debut are connected through their love for the artist Alik, a Russian ‚migr‚ keeling merrily toward death. Alik's loved ones gather at his cramped, stiflingly hot downtown Manhattan apartment, each trying to reconcile their memories with their moral obligations to the dying man. His neurotic wife, Nina, is desperate for Alik to be baptized; Maika, the 15-year-old daughter of his ex-lover, Irina, is upset that no one understands Alik's jokes now that the man is sick.Ulitskaya uses the loved ones' varying emigration experiences to underscore their attempts to respect one another's places in Alik's life and at his deathbed. One friend, for example, cannot get his impressive medical credentials certified in the U.S., while another not only passed his exams in record time but took advantage of advances in Western technology and found work in a cutting-edge field of medicineÄstill, both live in poverty. Irina, a former circus acrobat, performed at night for "rich idiots," using her earnings to graduate from law school, while Nina, a former model, now finds nothing for herself to do in the U.S. besides tend to Alik and drink. Ulitskaya is adept at capturing the subtle nuances of thought and experience, expressing both human spirit and flaws without false sentimentality. Her characters are fully realized, rendered in extraordinary detail. (Jan. 17) Copyright 2000 Cahners Business Information.

"Ludmila Ulitskaya arrives here not just as a shrewd novelist, but as a wise and evocative artist. . . . [THE FUNERAL PARTY is] quickly paced, quirkily observed and full of delicate surprises."
--Carlin Romano in the Philadelphia Inquirer, 3/4/01

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