The winner of the Russian Booker Prize 2009 â€śThe Time of Womenâ€ť is now brought to the attention of English-reading audience worldwide.
Online PR News – 01-August-2012 – London, England – Glagoslav Publications presents the English translation of Elena Chizhova's book The Time of Women, which weaves together the personal and historical struggles of mothers, daughters, grandmothers, and women who become sisters through circumstance, in â€śa secret culture of resistance and remembrance.â€ť
The Russian Booker Prize winning novel â€śThe Time of Womenâ€ť tells the story of three old women raising a small mute girl, Suzanna, in a communal apartment in the Soviet Union of the 1960s. Memories of hardship in first cataclysmic half of the century, as well as the loss of their own children, have receded in the background of everyday worries â€“ such as how to preserve flour from one season to the next, or how to afford a wool suit for the 7-year-old girl. Here the author gives priority of voice to the grandmothers who, having lost their families in the World War II siege of Leningrad, quietly tell their stories to the future writer during confidential conversations at home. Chizhova uses these scraps of stories to form the base of her narrative, voicing the terrible facts of the siege in contrast to official versions from Soviet books.
Antonina, a factory worker and single mother, gets a room in a communal apartment that she and her little girl share with three elderly women. All have lost their families and become â€śgranniesâ€ť to little Suzanna. She responds to their stories about the Revolution, the early days of the Soviet Union, and the blockade and starvation of World War II by drawing beautiful pictures, but she remains mute. If the authorities find out she will be taken from her home and sent to an institution. When Antonina falls desperately ill, the grannies are faced with the reality of losing the little girl they love â€“ unless a stepfather can be found before it is too late. And in this â€śtime of womenâ€ť, what they need is just a bit of kindness and cooperation from a man.
Chizhovaâ€™s book is not completely autobiographical â€“ the writer has reproduced what may be called family historical heritage: â€śIn some sense, I write about my childhood. I did not attend a kindergarten; my mother and grandmother always talked about the siege as they experienced it, and how my grandfather and grandmother died. This was the background of my childhood, and I canâ€™t say it shocked me. I felt that it was the normâ€ť.
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