he internationally lauded author of The Dream Life of Sukhanov (Penguin, 2007) now delivers FORTY ROOMS, in which our protagonist must decide whether she is truly content in life - now in paperback.
Totally original in conception and execution, FORTY ROOMS is mysterious, withholding, and, ultimately, emotionally devastating. Grushin is dealing with issues of women's identity, of women's choices, in a way no modern novel has explored so deeply.
The much-loved child of a late marriage, our protagonist is nearing five when the novel opens. Her parents are Moscow intelligentsia and the apartment rings with the voices of their friends as they argue about poetry and life late into the night. The child understands only a bit of this. For her, these people are gods and mermaids, people of myths and fairy tales. We follow this child as she reaches adolescence, leaves home for America, discovers sexual happiness and love.
But her hunger for adventure and her longing to be a great poet take the back seat when she runs into a college classmate. He is sure of his aims, protective of her, and, as an added inducement, a great cook - they drift into love and marriage. What follows are the decades of births and deaths, the celebrations and material accumulations - until one day, her children grown and gone, her husband absent, she finds herself alone except for the ghosts of her youth.
Compelling and complex, FORTY ROOMS is also deeply affecting, its ending shattering but true. We know that Mrs. Caldwell (for that is the only name by which we know her) has died. Was it a life well lived? Quite likely. A life complete? Does such a life ever really exist? Life is, after all, full of trade-offs and choices. Who is to say the path was not well-taken? It is this ambiguity that is at the core of this provocative novel.
Año de publicación:2016