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Maidenhair is composed of three main storylines: an interpreter listening to the stories of refugees, the letters he sends to his son, and the diaries of a Russian opera singer in the early 1900s. An instant classic of Russian literature, it was a finalist for the Best Translated Book Award.
throws Artaxerxes from his horse, and confusion and flight ensues immediately in his suite, but the king rises to his feet and with his few escorts climbs a neighboring hill and from there follows the course of battle in safety. Meanwhile Cyrus, who has fallen into the thick of the foe, is carried off farther and farther by his fiery horse. It is already growing dark, and his enemies do not recognize him, his friends are searching everywhere, and he, proud of his victory and full of bold ardor,
gets into his Blériot, which really does look like a butterfly. The plane taxis and lifts its wheels off the field for a moment, but alights immediately, tipping onto its right wing. To console the audience, they announce that the tickets are valid for another demonstration in a few days, when the propeller and wing are repaired. The flight doesn’t work a week later either. After barely taking off, the aviator falls back to earth again, and he leaves town ignominiously, carting away the broken
childhood that there wasn’t a God, so for him, that schoolboy who agonized over his pimples, early hirsuteness, and dislike and fear of death, it was very important to find Him. Or something resembling Him. Here the class was dying of boredom and Galpetra was nattering on about how God had been thought up by clerics to make it easier to confuse naïve, uneducated people, that Judgment Day had been invented in order to permit people to sin themselves but forbid others, and everything she was
a child, did you and your parents ever take the Rossiya across the Black Sea and in the most unexpected places—for instance, in the overhead fans—suddenly notice “Adolf Hitler” in embossed Gothic letters? Answer: Yes, I did. Question: Your son, when visitors came over, did he crawl under the table out of boredom and start removing everyone’s slippers, and did their feet feel around blindly over the parquet? Answer: Yes, he did. Question: Your mother, when she was buried, they put a slip of paper
was a depression on the grave. Pressing me close, as we stood there in front of the clay that had subsided into my father, my mama said, “Well, now you don’t have a papa anymore.” As if up until that moment I had. Why is it you can never remember anything when you should? So many things happened, but I don’t know what’s important to tell. Question: Tell me about something else. Did you like to read? Answer: Yes. One book had pictures of what man is made of: five small nails showed how much