The Girl From the Metropol Hotel

The Girl From the Metropol Hotel

Growing up in Communist Russia

Book - 2017
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Finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award for Autobiography

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
Publisher: New York, New York : Penguin Books, [2017]
Copyright Date: ©2017
ISBN: 9780143129974
Branch Call Number: 891.784403 Petru
Characteristics: xix, 149 pages : illustrations ; 20 cm


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Nov 15, 2017

The strength of the human spirit can be almost unbelievable at times. Hard to know how people can survive this type of childhood, but she did and she thrived. Very short little book made up of vignettes from the author's childhood in the USSR during the war years and into the 50's and 60's as a young adult.

Sep 01, 2017

Delightful memoir.

May 11, 2017

This is not the sort of book I generally read, but read the review on the BBC. Excellent. Clearly conveys her childhood, which would seem to an outsider to be incredibly miserable (and I'm sure she also thought that at times). But she manages to stay in touch with being a child, and how normal these events seemed to her at the time. Not just enjoyable and fascinating, but also gives a picture into Russia. (Thank you, KCLS, for ordering when I requested!)

JCLAngelicaR Mar 30, 2017

If you think that life is unfair to you and it's just too much to take, read this miniature in size but enormous in impact memoir. Ludmilla Petrushevskaya was born in the Soviet Union into a family of "the enemies of the people" a few years before the World War II. She had to endure the stigma attached to the status from the very beginning of her life. In her upbeat narrative that alternates from the first to the third person, Petrushevskaya manages to describe almost indescribable episodes from her childhood and youth. The hardships of her life almost destroyed her body but tempered her spirit. She has produced literary masterpieces that finally received a well-deserved recognition in Russia and worldwide. A heart wrenching but hugely inspiring read.

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