I Am Becoming a Woman

You will certainly experience a kind of bittersweet pleasure while plunging into the long-lost reality of a bygone era on the other side of the globe, surrounded by the long changed streets of the once-mighty capital of the Socialist world – reality which now exist only in old retro black and white photos.
Together with the main heroine of this story, the reader enters the so-called “alluring and forbidden adult life” and comprehends its rules, trying to understand how to look like a real woman in the eyes of men she met.

And love, and happiness, and life

The ways in which the reader sometimes finds his book are truly amazing.
I was trying to remember the name of a completely different novel – actually, I intended to find The Kill Artist by Daniel Silva, but I forgot the author’s last name, and the search on the keywords “book” – “Venice” – “killer” unespectedly gave me “Death in Venice” by Thomas Mann, which I preferred to read instead of the book I was looking for initially.

Frankly I did not quite manage to grasp my emotions of Thomas Mann’s prose. On the one hand, everything he writes seems to be quite obvious, well-known and often met. But he expresses it so confidently and skillfully, adding to this a certain amount of quite modern details – well, in fact, what means the last hundred years on the scale of human self-knowledge! – and arranges his thoughts and extremely precise descriptions in such a way that the resulting whole text canvas looks quite convincing to the taste of the sophisticated modern reader.

Thomas Mann, exquisitely as a true master of the word, examined the mechanism of a love feeling, when some force makes a lover want to be near and strive to please the person he loved.  A writer by the name of Aschenbach is confronted with love in its pure undiluted form and in amazement tries to comprehend it. The object of love is a surprisingly handsome boy who does not possess intellectual dignity, at the same time the subject of love – Ashenbach – is an educated refined person prone to introspection.
In this state of love intoxication, Ashenbach becomes especially susceptible to arts that would have seemed vulgar to him before.

Beauty wounds Ashenbach like the arrows of Cupid. And then, unconsciously dreaming of possible reciprocity, Ashenbach is forced to think how outwardly attractive he himself looks to other people. He goes up to his hotel room and looks in the mirror … Indeed, people appreciated and extolled him as a master in literature, but will that be convincing in the boy’s eyes? Since the face that looks at him from the mirror is terrifying from an aesthetic point of view.

While polemicizing to himself with Plato’s theses, Ashenbach admits with bitterness and amazement that poets are lustful in their desire to possess beauty.
Under the influence of love intoxication, the hero’s value system changes. What seemed important before – comfort, the desire to write – suddenly became secondary.
The very scheme of love in the novel is reduced to the extraordinary power of beauty and naturalness over the intellect. As a result, the force of attraction of the intellect to beauty turns out to be destructive, and the intellect literally sacrifices itself for the sake of beauty .

How to stop worrying and get your husband’s attention

After rereading Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn a second time, I wondered: what is this book about?

What can we find in this text, other than a gripping plot, written with the expectation that it will be the basis of the hit thriller movie script?
Perhaps this is just a very well-written thriller – with the invariable principle of any thriller that everything turns out to be not at all what it seems at first – in which, at the same time, the author paid close attention to the psychological reliability of the characters?
Or, on the contrary, can this novel be viewed as a general discussion of married life, which is just “masquerading” as a thriller?

I really like the first part of this story, while the ending evokes feelings of displeasure interspersed with a sense of horror and seems unnatural.
And, in general, I approximately understand why this is happening.

We read the first half of the book about the transformation of a married couple’s relationship during five years of marriage, when a husband and wife go from mutual delight to painful misunderstanding. The author uses a very effective plot composition technique, in which the same events of life together are alternately described firstly from the point of view of a man, and then from the point of view of a woman – I remember that I really liked a similar method many years ago in the film “Françoise ou La vie conjugale” (1964).

This story of a gradual change in the relationship between spouses might seem quite typical for many couples … although later it turns out that it is faked a little.
Sometimes it seems that the author is literally ironically making fun of typical advice for spouses, such as seeking compromises – “never go to bed without making peace”.

The two main characters in the novel are, of course, the husband and the wife mentioned above.
The husband, with pleasure and a little narcissistic, plunges into the abyss of introspection, recalling the details of his own biography and typical traits of his character and, in general, appears in this hypostasis as a rather self-critical fellow. However, by all accounts, he is devilishly charming, as well as witty, erudite and even able to behave quite caringly towards his other half for a while.

As for his wife, in the beginning of the text she looks just beautiful, obedient and being in love one, accepting all the shortcomings of her husband and as if dissolved in her bright feeling of love and forgiveness – that is, in fact, she embodies the ideal of a wife according to all the textbooks of family life.
However, right in the middle of the book, the wife turns out to be not at all as simple as it seems. For example, it turns out that it was she who, at the very beginning of their relationship, stimulated her future husband to “become a superman” and to lead an intellectual life at the limit of his mental capabilities, and it is eaxactly as a result of this process he fell in love with her.
Subsequently, the wife turns out to be a grotesque character, in which the features are unusually hypertrophied, but this is what makes the novel so interesting to read … and at the same time so implausible – in other words, some “surrealistic” events begin.

In the second half of the novel the reader is forcibly immersed in such purely american themes as reflections on the power of public opinion, lawyers, paparazzi, cops, popular TV shows, phrases from movies, talk show hosts…
In general, I can’t say this text give rise to any interesting literary thoughts and associations in me, although – to be honest – reading was extremely interesting.

Serious Relationship

It is only in our youth that we are so selflessly and completely indulging to fun and are so hopelessly feeling alone, fearfully thinking about our uncertain future.

Serious Relationship is  a book that describes with maximum fidelity the experience of searching for the most comfortable partner in entertainment and, possibly, in the future, a partner in more serious relations during the dramatic events in the history of Russia in the early 90s of the last century. The heroine analyzes her momentary desires, her feelings about communicating with men and trying to find the most suitable relationship format for her.

As soon as I met someone, I became curious how soon he would leave me. After that I was feeling alone still being together with him. And finally I was already worried about the fact that we had broken up.

This is the true real life story. These events not only just could have happened at this very time and in this very country, but they indeed have happened in reality, and the author seeks to describe these raw experiences with the greatest objectivity and unvarnished.

This is the second book in The Unbearable Longing of the Flesh series.

And Don’t You Cry Tonight

And when one day he took possession of my body, I even burst into tears. Naturally, he did not know how to respond to this.

I was even scared a little by my crying during making love…
After thinking about this a little bit, I decided that, perhaps, at the moment when the man was taking possession of me, I still felt like a raped little girl. But in general, it was exactly a kind of male violence against me what attracted me in sex. Or, perhaps, my tears were associated with the exchange of energy between bodies that occurred during copulation.

During our intimacy, I felt the full significance of what was happening and outdid myself in expressing passion … Although in fact, my passion was not at all caused by the personality of my sexual partner. My strong emotions were simply the result of the thoughts about my unhappy life. It was a kind of despair over the fact that, despite all the efforts, it seemed again I didn’t succeed. For me, sex was always a sacrament, a complete harmony and a fusion, but if this did not happen in the way I had expected, then I was inevitably upset. Therefore, in bed, I involuntarily started playing a performance of excess of feelings, and, as it sometimes does, I myself believed in this performance too.

It was quote from “Serious Relations” (The Unbearable Longing of the Flesh Book 2).

You may buy the book here on amazon:
https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B08MC1GQLL/

Helpline

“By the time you read these words, I probably will be gone…”
In the middle of the night I wake up. I’m shaking. With a tearful grimace, I am trying to sink back into the dream saving me from reality at least for a while.

Mom, mom, don’t call me. Don’t come into my room. I do not want to eat. I’m not going anywhere today. I will lie like this under the covers, with my face turned to the wall, and sobbing. Let the tears choke me. I want to cry out all my tears.


The helpline is 999-99-33. I’ll call, this is my last hope.
Once I overheard this number and wrote it down by inertia. And now the moment has come to use it.


“Girl, and did you have such a situation… When, on the contrary, you had to tell someone you didn’t need him? Although you knew you were hurting him by saying this? ” a professional psychologist asks me.
She is calm. She is completely calm.
“I have … ” I’m starting to remember.


A woman on the other end waits patiently. This is her job.
“Well, now you see, girl! So you also had such a situation! And now you’ve kind of changed roles. So that…”
So that… Don’t worry! Be happy!


Someone, – it seems, it was Alex – said in such cases you needed to take several pils of demerol at once, and then it would all be over.
I will be lying on the bed, crying and imagining I will call him from the telephone box, say I will kill myself, and then take out the pills brought in advance and swallow it.”

It was quote from “Serious Relations” (The Unbearable Longing of the Flesh Book 2)

You may buy the book here on amazon:
https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B08MC1GQLL/

How not to be considered an old maid

Gradually, I really came to consider myself as an old maid.
Although previously the time factor did not pressure me, and I only wanted to have fun, now I really had to think about having a steady boyfriend. It occurred to me that if I was still alone, then something was wrong with me. Perhaps I was ugly, and over time I became additionally old and evil. In my behavior I started noticing such features of the classic old maid as irritability and suspicion.
My body started to get old and my feelings, awaiting a man I could love, still remained unused.
If I saw couples in love on the street, then I got into bad mood.
I started avoiding people who might ask me if I had already married or not… From now on, a girl of my age needed to get married in order just to increase self-esteem.

It was quote from “Serious Relations” (The Unbearable Longing of the Flesh Book 2).

You may buy the book here on amazon:

The autumn sun that did not warm…

However, there was one friend Lenka whom I was hanging out with.
I remember once she invited me to her place.

The September sun that did not warm… Precisely such kind of sun was shining as she brought me from her city apartment to the garden of her country house.
The garden was rich with sun and covered in fallen apples – signs of the inevitable wilting of nature.
We were picking apples. We satisfied our hunger with hastily cooked potatoes and canned fish.
The country house was completely at our disposal, we felt there as sovereign owners.
Her naive admiration for her “vast” possessions was transferred also me while she was galloping and frolicking, like a child, jumping on springy beds and climbing trees…
Having agreed to share this simple leisure with her, I found myself to have a strange feeling that both boredom and a desire to get away quickly were inevitably taking hold of me.
At that time, I had already tasted all the charm of merging and unity with a man, all the exciting and sweet abyss of this game, and therefore I could no longer seek sincerely to harmony in communication with my girl friends.

It was quote from “Serious Relations” (The Unbearable Longing of the Flesh Book 2).

You may buy the book here on amazon:

How to find a right guy?

“In the search for the man of my dreams, I used the special parties called “dating balls”. Such events for youth were organized by the company called “The Scarlet Sails”, which rented assembly halls of universities and houses of culture from time to time on Saturday evenings.

Usually, before going to such a disco, I used first to go somewhere to have a little drink to get in the mood. Once I managed to go into one of the “nest of vipers” as Vlad used to put it, just near the October Field metro station. There I came to the attention of some dudes who started expressing signs of approval to me. These guys turned to have come from Sochi city.

Feeling that I was being watched, to keep my face, I ordered a little more vodka than that was needed, and, of course, there were no snacks, and this led to sad consequences… In one of the periods between memory lapses, I suddenly found myself standing in the street in front of some kind of entrance of the house where they were trying to make me enter into. As I understood, these dudes were renting an apartment somewhere nearby, and at the sight of my sociable behavior – in fact, I just wanted to show that I was really cool in my ability to drink, and there was absolutely nothing personal in it – they had the idea to drag me in there…

As a result, I got off with a black eye, but the degree of intoxication was too great to go to some disco after this, and I went to the side of my home instead and as soon as I reached my bed, I fell right to sleep at once. “

It was quote from “Serious Relations” (The Unbearable Longing of the Flesh Book 2).

You may buy the book here on amazon:

Door to the Garden of Eden in the gray city

I met books in my life that I often re-read as a teenager and about which then I remembered all my life with a warm feeling, amazed at my own emotions while reading. In fairness, I will note that the available choice for reading was by no means as rich as it is today, but still we saw on the bookshelves the spines with titles that had passed, in the opinion of competent persons, all kinds of censorship, both in terms of quality and for ideological reasons. For example, the “door in the wall” from the story of the same name by H.G. Wells became a completely archetypal concept for me for the rest of my life – I must say that in childhood and adolescence, the bright image of a door entwined with wild grapes and capable of hiding in the space of an ordinary-looking gray city, invariably excited my imagination.
Just now I re-read this short story, and my expectations were not disappointed, and this time – I was touched again – however, this time it was more from my own memories, not allowing the ice of stinging criticism to penetrate my soul.
This time, the described Garden of Eden unexpectedly reminded me of a visit to Rodini Park in the city of Rhodes … In general, this entire subconscious memory mechanism is truly amazing, because, to be honest, I cannot say that I remember visiting this park so frequently or that it was the most interesting park in my life … Apparently, a certain majesty and serenity, which gives this place its venerable age – really, the park erased at the end of the 5th century BC, and thete are pointers to the mausoleum of Ptolemy, – has affected. Indeed, centuries pass ater centuries, and the park still stands in the same place, indifferent to the passage of time and even more so to people with their vain concerns.

I have found that this story, with its thought of the amazing places lost in rather familiar space so close to us, has influenced my entire life.
The Wallace’s school games with an attempt first to get lost and then find the right path reminded me of our childhood fun with space, which my girl friends and Iused to play in the vicinity of our house, about which I write in my book “I Am Becoming a Woman”


“We had such fun with Tanya: being impressed by the intricacies of the streets, we used to hit the road with the intention of getting lost. We were satisfied when, after having strayed among the streets and having time to be seriously scared, we suddenly found our house on the wrong side from where we left.”

The way his household greeted unkindly Wallace after his returning home echoes this fragment of “I am becoming a woman”.


“Then it turned out that they were looking for us at this time – we had gone as far away from home as never before … But this was a necessary feature of any more or less interesting activity: a reckoning in the form of censure from parents was to come inevitably.”