Together they provide a thought-provoking exposé of post-perestroika Russia.
WAR. Army problems are currently much debated in Russian society in connection with Chechnya. There is a vast online library of army stories but not many have been printed, as publishers are reluctant to annoy the authorities with exposures of the grave situation in the army, particularly in the Caucasus.
The authors declare their anti-war sentiments but hatred towards “the enemy” bursts out from time to time as men forced to shoot each other from the opposite sides of the frontlines inevitably develop hostile attitudes towards one another. Any war inevitably sows hatred among otherwise peaceful people; such is the message of these stories. Hunger is a constant theme: soldiers suffer from constant malnutrition, so much so that they are even prepared to steal food or obtain it in exchange for munitions with which they are themselves killed afterwards.
PEACE. Women's stories are a sharp contrast to the 'War' section. They immerse you in the world of basic human values such as love, children and family; but also ageing, generation gaps, and violence towards women. Female readers in the West will be surprised to discover many common issues; the setting is different but the problems are essentially the same.
These stories reflect the current stage in the evolution of Russian women’s fiction from near non-existence during the Soviet period, through several stages of vigorous development in the 1990s, to current confident craftsmanship, wide thematic range, and high stylistic standards.