The Girl from the Metropol Hotel : Growing Up in Communist Russia
Overview - The prizewinning memoir of one of the world's great writers, about coming of age as an enemy of the people and finding her voice in Stalinist Russia Born across the street from the Kremlin in the opulent Metropol Hotel--the setting of the New York Times bestselling novel A Gentleman in Moscow by Amor Towles--Ludmilla Petrushevskaya grew up in a family of Bolshevik intellectuals who were reduced in the wake of the Russian Revolution to waiting in bread lines. Read more...
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More About The Girl from the Metropol Hotel by Ludmilla Petrushevskaya; Anna Summers
The prizewinning memoir of one of the world's great writers, about coming of age as an enemy of the people and finding her voice in Stalinist Russia
Born across the street from the Kremlin in the opulent Metropol Hotel--the setting of the New York Times
bestselling novel A Gentleman in Moscow
by Amor Towles--Ludmilla Petrushevskaya grew up in a family of Bolshevik intellectuals who were reduced in the wake of the Russian Revolution to waiting in bread lines. In The Girl from the Metropol Hotel
, her prizewinning memoir, she recounts her childhood of extreme deprivation--of wandering the streets like a young Edith Piaf, singing for alms, and living by her wits like Oliver Twist, a diminutive figure far removed from the heights she would attain as an internationally celebrated writer. As she unravels the threads of her itinerant upbringing--of feigned orphandom, of sleeping in freight cars and beneath the dining tables of communal apartments, of the fugitive pleasures of scraps of food--we see, both in her remarkable lack of self-pity and in the two dozen photographs throughout the text, her feral instinct and the crucible in which her gift for giving voice to a nation of survivors was forged.
"From heartrending facts Petrushevskaya concocts a humorous and lyrical account of the toughest childhood and youth imaginable. . . . It belongs] alongside the classic stories of humanity's beloved plucky child heroes: Edith Piaf, Charlie Chaplin, the Artful Dodger, Gavroche, David Copperfield. . . . The child is irresistible and so is the adult narrator who creates a poignant portrait from the rags and riches of her memory." --Anna Summers, from the Introduction
Publishers Weekly Reviews
Publishers Weekly® Reviews
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In this memoir, acclaimed novelist Petrushevskaya (There Once Lived a Woman Who Tried to Kill Her Neighbors Baby) recounts her impoverished Moscow childhood with a blend of dark humor and clipped, piercing realism. She was born in 1938 to a family of Bolshevik intellectuals who lived in Moscows preeminent Metropol Hotel. Petrushevskaya, along with her mother, aunt, and grandmother, soon had to flee the city for Kuibyshev in 1941, when the family was deemed enemies of the people. Leaving Moscow on a cattle car at the start of the war was downright luxurious compared to the near-starvation that Petrushevskaya and her family suffered for years to come, with Petrushevskaya taking to begging on the street, often pretending to be an orphan or disabled. But despite the hardships she endured, her impish spirit flourished and she ran around the streets, shoeless but never beaten down. After returning to Moscow at age nine, a wild child, she was sent to a series of summer camps in an effort to civilize her (they were not entirely successful); despite mediocre grades in college, she still managed to squeak by with a degree in journalism. The definition of incorrigible and indomitable, both on the page and in her life, Petrushevskaya shows that even in the harshest of circumstances, spirited determination can prevail. (Feb.)