Who wrote these weird short stories?
December 11, 2007 3:02 PM   Subscribe

Please help me locate a collection of Russian/Eastern Bloc short stories. I read this book when I was kid because it belonged to my parents and I want to read it again. If not the book, I'd like to find the two most memorable stories. One concerns a snowman and the other is a reflection on life while falling out of a window to one's death. Details inside...

1. Local officials observe children building a snowman in a public square. The officials think that the children are creating offensive caricatures of them in the snow. They are sort of right.

2. A man is pushed/jumps/accidentally falls out of a window of a tall building. As he falls, he looks into the windows of the building's tenants and reconsiders the decision to fall. He sort of sees a love story play out, from innocent lovers in bed to betrayal and infidelity in the end. By the end of it, he decides he does want to fall and chooses to smash his head against the pavement.

One more thing I remember: a story possibly titled something like "Matryoshka's* House." The part I remember is a vivid description of the walls. The layers of wallpaper over the many years have stuck together and pulled away from the wall itself. Roaches (or maybe it was rats) scuttle around in the space in between and the author describes being able to see the movement of their bodies under the wallpaper. This image has stuck with me for many, many years.

Now that I've summarized these stories, I realize I was a weird kid.

I believe that the stories were contemporary, or at least contemporary when they were published. (However, I could be totally wrong.) I think this may have been a textbook of my mom's from college, so nothing in there could've been published later than the early 70's.

The google is failing me and I know there are lit majors here...

*Petryoishkavov's. Glastnostolavt's. Whatever. Something long and Russian-sounding.
posted by thewrongparty to Writing & Language (3 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
Your last one sounds like a solzhenitsyn short story.
posted by londongeezer at 5:07 PM on December 11, 2007

Best answer: Matryona's Place, 1963
posted by londongeezer at 5:17 PM on December 11, 2007

Response by poster: Thanks! I will see if it lives up to what I remember reading when I was 12. I hope someone chimes in with the other two as well. I am having no luck googling "+Political allegory +snowman."
posted by thewrongparty at 6:22 PM on December 11, 2007

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