Author: Ilya Boyashov
Title: The Stone Woman
Russia has a female face. But this is not a face of a humble, kind woman. Russia has the face of a Woman of Stone.
Through the literary genre of magical realism Ilay Boyashov tells us the story of what appears to be a simple Russian woman. But appearances can be deceiving. This is the story of a woman who managed to conquer if not the whole world, then at least most of Russia.
From the filthy, revolving environments of a provincial village, the heroine Mashka comes to Moscow where (quite extraordinarily) she rises to the very top of the glamorous world. But this is no way your typical Cinderella story. Far from it. This is the witty and clever satire on the customary reality, which, if we look closer turns out to be quite absurd.
Throughout the book the main heroine changes her stations, her lovers, her influential friends. She appears on the screen and thus captivates the female population of Russia with her arrogant (and so appealing to any woman of no education) nature. In a year or so, she charms the president himself and the American diplomats appeal to her in a time of need. Boyashov has created an entirely unique image of a timeless woman. He describes not the imaginary, not the specific person, but an archetypical image of a Russian woman altogether. An image of a “woman” in the deepest, most intimate meaning of the word.
This is almost a mystical story with many unknowns.
Picasso, Sartre and Dali, each in his own time, fell under the charms of a Russian woman (very similar to the one described in the book). But it seems Boyashov warns those ready to fall under the spell – Beware! The more you get drunk on her magic – the rougher your hangover will be.
Prize for the best publication of 2010. – Publishing Magazine Oktiabr