Tuesday, October 19, 2010
Scary Fairy Tales
Ludmilla Petrushevskaya's book of Scary Fairy Tales, which includes There Once Was a Woman Who Tried to Kill Her Neighbor's Baby, interests me more. Especially now with Halloween approaching. Excellent review in the NYTimes.
Russians have long been fascinated with the macabre, psychics and false prophets. And, don't forget all those stories of rapacious wolves. I suppose those long winter nights have a lot to do with it. There is a long history of horror and supernatural tales dating back to Aleksey Tolstoy. Perhaps his most famous Gothic work is Vampires: Stories of the Supernatural. Even Gogol's Dead Souls conjures up the dead in its own beguiling way, and Dostoevsky long had a fascination with the dark side in all his characters that at times bordered on the macabre.
I can only imagine that Petrushevskaya draws on this rich tradition in her haunting stories.