There Once Lived a Mother Who Loved Her Children, Until They Moved Back In

Dark, bleak, humorous look at life in Russia where families separate without officially divorcing and live as roommates, backstab spouses and register their extended family to live in their tiny Moscow apartments, try to kill each other with untraceable poison via chocolates, plot ways to save their 7 year old son from the orphanage by pummeling him bloody, hide money from each other and exist on starvation diets. The first novella is the longest, The Time Is Night – a poet raises her grandson while her daughter runs away with a married department director and has a few more babies; the poet-narrator also has to deal with losing her mother’s pension when she’s carted off to the sanitarium, fend off demands for money from her released-from-prison son, beg for work from publishers and give readings of her work. Chocolates with Liqueur is the creepy story of a man who lures his nurse into marriage and after they have children, attempts to kill her with the poison he’s developed (and which he used on his own grandmother and 2 colleagues). Among Friends details the innerworkings and couple-swapping that happen among a group of friends who always meet on Friday nights, a policeman stopping by to monitor their party, ending with the child-abuse that secures her son’s future.