- By Lyudmila Ulitskaya

The Funeral Party

  • Title: The Funeral Party
  • Author: Lyudmila Ulitskaya
  • ISBN: 9780575067745
  • Page: 398
  • Format: Hardcover
  • The Funeral Party August In a sweltering New York City apartment a group of Russian migr s gathers round the deathbed of an artist named Alik a charismatic character beloved by them all especially the women who

    August 1991 In a sweltering New York City apartment, a group of Russian migr s gathers round the deathbed of an artist named Alik, a charismatic character beloved by them all, especially the women who take turns nursing him as he fades from this world Their reminiscences of the dying man and of their lives in Russia are punctuated by debates and squabbles Whom did AlikAugust 1991 In a sweltering New York City apartment, a group of Russian migr s gathers round the deathbed of an artist named Alik, a charismatic character beloved by them all, especially the women who take turns nursing him as he fades from this world Their reminiscences of the dying man and of their lives in Russia are punctuated by debates and squabbles Whom did Alik love most Should he be baptized before he dies, as his alcoholic wife, Nina, desperately wishes, or be reconciled to the faith of his birth by a rabbi who happens to be on hand And what will be the meaning for them of the Yeltsin putsch, which is happening across the world in their long lost Moscow but also right before their eyes on CNN This marvelous group of individuals inhabits the first novel by Ludmila Ulitskaya to be published in English, a book that was shortlisted for the Russian Booker Prize and has been praised wherever translated editions have appeared Simultaneously funny and sad, lyrical in its Russian sorrow and devastatingly keen in its observation of character, The Funeral Party introduces to our shores a wonderful writer who captures, wryly and tenderly, our complex thoughts and emotions confronting life and death, love and loss, homeland and exile.

    1 thought on “The Funeral Party

    1. Something unusual occurred to me as I was turning the pages of this novel: I was basking in the simple, unflowery storytelling, relishing the tenderness that the oddly arranged mosaic of characters arose in me, and devouring page after page in spite of having figured out exactly where and when the pieces of the disarranged puzzle of facts, timelines and crisscrossed stories would inevitably converge. Solving the key aspects of the plot didn’t diminish the glee of savoring a book that couldn’ [...]

    2. In The Funeral Party, Ulitskaya wonderfully captures the divided soul of the emigrant, who lives eternally in a state of transition, never able to consolidate a singular identity. Emigrants are strange people. Having grown up among them, I've noticed a high incidence of eccentric, charismatic and strong-minded people. I'm not sure if this is cultural (perhaps Romanians are simply like that), or because fleeing one's home requires that a person be to some extent unhinged, or at least restless, la [...]

    3. I definitely have to report it ☺: Ludmila Ulitskaya’s Funeral Party has stolen my dream – my nightmare, that is. I think I’ve already talked about it elsewhere, this recurrent dream I have in which I find myself stranded in Romania with no money and no job (although sometimes I dream that my former school took pity on me and employed me again), freaking out about my bills, my job and my home in Quebec. Over the years I’ve often dismissed this dream of mine as the embodiment of some lac [...]

    4. *** scroll down for German review **I cried for the last five chapters of this book. I re-read paragraphs, because I was forced, again and again, to stop in the very middle of a sentence to wipe the tears off.I love Russian. This short, laconic language; the ways to construct a sentence comparable only to Latin; the grammatical forms, which are frowned upon in today's German (also in English, but there with a reason, I think), but are still part of the Russian, the proper beautiful Russian of a [...]

    5. Din momentul în care am aflat că Ulițkaia are un roman intitulat ”Înmormântare veselă”, mi s-a pus pata, trebuia să fac rost de el - dar nu l-am mai găsit decât la bibliotecă. Îmi imaginam deja o poveste cu mult umor negru, cu un amestec de cinism, vulgaritate și melancolie, infuzată de pitoreștile tradiții rusești pe care autoarea le pune atât de bine în valoare. Cam așa a și fost, iar cartea mi-a plăcut foarte mult. Ce mai, n-ai cum să nu iubești Rusia din poveștile [...]

    6. Dobro i zanimljivo, kako to Ljudmila Ulicka već zna napraviti, ali ovaj put ipak malo spetljano, s previše likova i kao na brzinu. Ili je to samo moj osjećaj? Uglavnom, nisam oduševljena kao s njezinim ostalim knjigama, ali može se pročitati kao, recimo, zabavno štivo. Ništa drugo. (Možda bih u nekom drugom razdoblju drukčije razmišljala i osjetila, ali sad ne.)

    7. Home. A powerful and multipurpose word. Some argue it is where ever you and yours are, others that it is a place that one can never return to once they have left. This is one of the many complex themes tackled in Ludmila Ulitskaya’s novel The Funeral Party. Manhattan in the summer can be an oppressive place, for a group of Russian immigrants it is made all the more unbearable because they are gathered together to sit by the death bed of a beloved friend, Alik. An artist, friend to all, and par [...]

    8. It's a super-fast read (a few hours), and I read it in a post-election rage so it took me a while to settle into it, but it was enjoyable and impermanent, much like our worthless and short lives which are only made meaningful by the relationships we have in them. Even the gestures we make -- a tape here, a check there -- are small and insignificant, worn out by the repetition of generations, and only cherished by those closest to us.That got dark fast.To be honest, I don't remember much; but it [...]

    9. Meu funeral russo As narrativas da russa Ludmila Ulitskaya se materializam numa fissura entre o residual da União Soviética e o emergente da (nova) Rússia. A questão, então, que seus romances tentam investigar é: o que é o hegemônico? Isso fica bem claro nas quase 600 páginas de THE BIG GREEN TENT, lançado em inglês no final do ano passado, um romance monumental que acompanha o desmantelamento da União Soviética. Sua primeira obra lançada em inglês THE FUNERAL PARTY (Trad. Cathy P [...]

    10. The lugubrious lilt of this novella packs an unexpected thump. The kinesis of said wallop must derive from that which is difficult(if not opposed) to translate. I have been accused by family and friends alike of possessing a Slavic soul. I remain undecided about such designations, but I understood the ache at the core of this book.

    11. I got exactly zero anything from reading this book. I challenge any of my friends to ask me about it one year from now, and I'll buy you any beer you want if I even remember that I read it. In fact, I finished it yesterday, and I think I already forgot most of it. I'm going to do some research and see if I missed something really important about it, but barring that, I wouldn't waste my time.

    12. As a Russian immigrant, Alik is dying in his little room in New York, his friends and past lovers all gather around him to spend the last days in his irresistible company. Alik is a true cosmopolite, charming and knowledgeable, whose personality draws everyone around him even when his body is not capable to move around anymore.This little book is about love in all its forms; the love of life and all the little things in it, the love of art and knowledge, and finally the love of women. At 150 pag [...]

    13. In the hothouse of an art studio in New York, a Russian emigré lives his final days immobilized by a nervous system affliction, surrounded by an entourage of friends embodying the variety of the Russian immigrant experience. It's a short story, as he rapidly fades, but over the length of its 150-odd pages, The Funeral Party reveals the complexities of relationship within this cast of characters and their bonds to the dying artist, Alik. This is a very accomplished capsule of the human condition [...]

    14. I'm always fascinated by the use of point of view in many modern Russian novels. Though the flowing point of views and crowd of characters makes for a difficult read sometimes, it clearly simulates the life of Russian immigrants loosely connected by nationality . . . represented in this book, I think, by a dying man.

    15. I found this an easy-to-read but not especially compelling look at the Russian immigrant experience in the U.S. (or in NYC, anyway). I read it immediately after finishing Imbolo Mbue's "Behold the Dreamers," another "immigrant novel" that I found very engaging, so perhaps it suffered in comparison. Not bad, but nothing worth writing a longer GoodReads review about.

    16. Nothing "wrong" with this book, but I found myself uninvolved and unmoved as I read through its 150-odd pages. Perhaps because I'm not Russian? Not an immigrant? Maybe there's something specific and evocative about this story that I don't appreciate?

    17. A story of Russian immigrants in New York, as they sit by the death bed of their dying friend . They pass the time reminiscing about their love for their friend and their own pasts. At just over 150 pages, this short book packs a solid emotional punch. It was an absolutely beautiful read. The author brilliantly told a powerful tale with just the right amount of words. I sometimes find in books under 200 pages, that a story is rushed or missing something, but this was perfect- a complete, quiet, [...]

    18. An unusual book both for its setting and subject matter and style. Alik is dying and the book covers his last days and death at his loft apartment in New York. Himself a Russian emigré artist, he is surrounded by fellow emigrés - mainly women with whom he has been involved in one way or another - but also occasional visitors, such as the Paraguayan musicians from the street below. His magnetic personality infuses the atmosphere and explains the attraction to the swirling crowd of visitors, abo [...]

    19. A beautiful heart wrenching story of death. As Alik is on his death bed we are treated to all the immigrants from Russia who have built a life around him. The feeling of family (though not blood relatives) and love is strong in the simple writing.

    20. A kaleidoscope of Russian emigres and other gathered in a sweltering NY loft to experience the passing of Alik, an artist who impacted them all.I liked the "relay race" narrative technique - passing the story from character to character at fast pace, using each to vary the perspective.

    21. Original and funny. But who but Russians can deal with 15 people in one page plus their various terms of endearment?

    22. Too slim of a book in scope and message to mean much to meeasy to read, but feels like a couple of acts of a play to me--a much larger play that I missed the meaning of.

    23. Forsaking my traditional reading material of crime, I picked up a copy of the Funeral Party, and thoroughly enjoyed it. Alik, a Russian émigré is dying in his in New York apartment, surrounded by his Russian émigré friends. Despite the slimness of this book Ulitskaya managed to spin a web of interconnecting relationships. I especially enjoyed the translation of this novel. I’m not sure if the turn of phrase came from the original Russian, but this book is indeed ‘a miracle with fur!’

    24. I still haven’t quite decided whether the title of this novel is an oxymoron or a clever play on words. The Funeral Party is about the last days of an artist in a New York apartment, and he spends it in the company of an extraordinary collection of characters. So there is a party of people, but also a party atmosphere, because that’s the way these people are.Like his friends, Alik is a Russian émigré who abandoned his homeland for a better life in America. He loves America and so do they e [...]

    25. "The Funeral Party" was a fun book to read. The social atmosphere of the characters in the novel was fascinating to me. By the time I got to the end, I still could not tell about 75% of the characters apart, but I feel as if that did not hinder my ability to understand the book. The main characters all had their own easily-identifiable back-stories, so they were easy to differentiate. The central premise of the book, a dying man surrounded by loved ones in his last few days, is a fresh take on t [...]

    26. I was highly prejudiced against reading Ulitskaya - contemporary popular woman-writer made me think of love novels and "yellow" literature. BUT then I came across her activity as Russian PEN member and started to get interested in her, still cautious about her writing. a week later I received two of her books as a gift.Well, my prejudices were gone after the first pages. I could not put the book down, even though it was sometimes hard for me to put up with the womanish sensibility of the writing [...]

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