The heroine of our story, Monka, has a fatal heart condition. So how does the urgency of love and the overwhelming writhing of life still find strength to burn within the bosom of this charming, strange, and funny woman?  And what does it mean, disease of the heart?  And does mysterious Leningrad (St. Petersburg), with its enchanted Obvodny Canal and colorful crowd of crazy, comic, and unforgettable characters, love her back? 

 

The narrative of the novel, which was published in Russian in 1991, is a magical leapfrogging from hospital bed to lovers’ bed. It is an unusual amalgam of high style, existentialist outlook, deep compassion, drive, and humor.  This novel has enjoyed success with its readers and the attention of literary critics.  It was published in Italy, Spain, Finland, Estonia, Germany, and Austria.  It has been reprinted many times in Russia.  The Italian edition was dedicated to Federico Fellini and Guilietta Masina.  This is the novel’s first English language publication.

Art work «Reclining Nude», canvas, oil, 2019. 
Mikhail Shapiro. St. Petersburg

Marina Palei is a gifted and accomplished author whose thirty-year literary career spans various genres.  Her work has been translated into dozens of foreign languages.  Marina comes from St. Petersburg, where she worked as a doctor. She holds degrees from the Medical Academy of St. Petersburg as well as the Moscow Literary Institute.  She is considered an unsurpassed stylist of the Russian language, and a novelist endowed with a powerful existentialist outlook.  Marina has lived in the Netherlands since 1995.  It was there that she was named “The Princess of Style” at the International Prose Festival.  

 

“Marina Palei’s writing emanates a powerful charm, which is neither feminine - patient and submissive -  nor masculine - suppressive and dominant.  This is the force of existentialist recognition.  Palei is an existentialist writer like no other in modern Russian prose.  She is quintessentially existential.”  (Volga Magazine, 1998)

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