Liudmila Ulitskaia’s Literature of Tolerance
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When Liudmila Ulitskaia published The Funeral Party in 1997 the novella received the critical scrutiny warranted by the latest work of an already prominent figure in postSoviet letters. The plot, set in New York in the humid summer of 1991, revolves around the dying artist Alik and the crowd of friends, former and present lovers, and chance acquaintances gathering in his Chelsea loft. Booker Prize laureate Ol'ga Slavnikova misdiagnoses this narrative as an engaging failure: it attempts to achieve the impossible by trying to fill the void left by the deceased.