Jamey Gambrell writes on Russian art and culture.
Tatyana Tolstaya---"the most original, tactile, luminous voice in Russian prose today," according to Joseph Brodsky---worked at various publishing jobs after graduating from Leningrad University and appeared on the Moscow literary scene in 1983 with the favorably received story "Loves Me, Loves Me Not." Her first collection, On the Golden Porch (1988), proved extremely popular. Soon afterward she came to the United States on the first of a series of visiting university appointments and has plunged actively into cultural life in this country: She writes for the New York Review of Books, the New Republic, The New Yorker, and other magazines, as well as for publications in Russia. Her forte is the short story, her writing distinguished by exuberance, a talent for description, a comic sensibility, and more than a touch of the surreal. For one reviewer, "the discrepancy between fondest desires and disappointing reality" lies at the core of her writing, which is "a fiction of vast possibility, propelled not by plot, but by a narrative voice that imaginatively conveys the ambiguities of her characters' inner lives" (Baltimore Morning Sun). Sleepwalker in a Fog (1991) is her second book.