Medea and her children

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Schocken Books, 2002 - Fiction - 312 pages
2 Reviews
Medea Georgievna Sinoply Mendez is an iconic figure in her Crimean village, the last remaining pureblooded Greek in a family that has lived on that coast for centuries. Looking like "a portrait Goya had omitted to paint" in the widow's black she has worn since the death of her husband–a jolly Jewish dentist–many years before, the childless Medea is the touchstone of a large family of nieces and nephews who, together with their spouses, children, and friends, gather each spring and summer at her home.

Ageless and unflappable, Medea greets each successive wave of visitors with calm warmth and welcome, and observes with interest their romantic entanglements, disappointments, conflicts, and passions. There are her nieces (the seductive and light-hearted Nike and the shy yet passionate Masha); her nephew Georgii (who shares Medea's devotion to the Crimea); and their friends, including Valerii Butonov, a circus performer turned sports trainer who has been pursued by women since he put on his first trousers. Herself unfailingly loyal and faithful, Medea watches her nieces and nephews fall in and out of marriages and affairs. These shifting currents of erotic attraction and competition intertwine with the dramatic saga of a family surviving the upheavals that characterized Soviet life in the twentieth century, as viewed through Medea's memories of the Russian Revolution and the two world wars, her parents' early deaths, and her own late marriage. Ludmila Ulitskaya, one of contemporary Russia's greatest novelists, weaves the stories of the sprawling Sinoply family into a brilliantly detailed and richly textured tapestry.

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LibraryThing Review

User Review  - sbsolter - LibraryThing

Most of the way through this book I mildly enjoyed it, although I was not strongly drawn in. The stories of various family members of the sprawling Sinolpy family are told in separate chapters, almost ... Read full review

LibraryThing Review

User Review  - Lady_Lazarus - LibraryThing

As I had heard so many praises concerning this novel, I was a bit disappointed. I was waiting for more Russian history, but got something resembling a (tragic) love story. (Tragic in parenthesis as I ... Read full review


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About the author (2002)

Ludmila Ulitskaya’s fiction has been published in many countries, including Russia, France, and Germany; Medea and Her Children is her second novel to be published in America. She lives in Moscow.

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