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Bettie's Books

A Stuga On the Cusp of the Orust Riviera, tucked away next to a hobbit hole in the woods.

Subtly Worded and Other Stories

Subtly Worded - Robert Chandler, Teffi, Teffi, Anne Marie Jackson
bookshelves: spring-2015, radio-4, shortstory-shortstories-novellas, slavic, translation, under-50-ratings
Recommended to ☯Bettie☯ by: Laura
Recommended for: BBC Radio Listeners
Read from April 11 to 18, 2015



Description: Teffi's genius with the short form made her a literary star in pre-revolutionary Russia, beloved by Tsar Nicholas II and Vladimir Lenin alike. These stories, taken from the whole of her career, show the full range of her gifts. Extremely funny-a wry, scathing observer of society-she is also capable, as capable even as Chekhov, of miraculous subtlety and depth of character.

There are stories here from her own life (as a child, going to meet Tolstoy to plead for the life of War and Peace's Prince Bolkonsky, or, much later, her strange, charged meetings with the already-legendary Rasputin). There are stories of émigré society, its members held together by mutual repulsion. There are stories of people misunderstanding each other or misrepresenting themselves. And throughout there is a sly, sardonic wit and a deep, compelling intelligence.

1. In Marquita, translated by Robert Chandler, the shy chanteuse and single mother puts more passion into her date with a wealthy Tartar. Does her new approach succeed? Reader Hattie Morahan

2. The Hat...

3. ...and My First Tolstoy. Two tales, translated by Anne Marie Jackson, that deal crisply with the vanities of fashion and literary homage. Cautionary tales both!

4. In Heart of a Valkyrie, translated by Anne Marie Jackson, the husband does little as his wife works all hours. The neighbours laugh at him, until a remarkable 'change' takes place..