I had just finished Galina Scherbakova's The Story of Ustinia Sobakina, Who Did Not Exist, which only took me a few hours, just like in the good old days. I would have preferred not to have read another book by her, even despite her praiseworthy writing skills and her cultural status. Scherbakova's work is too sentimental, if not nostalgic, and therefore qualifies to be called a "chick novel" (of the upper literary echelons, mind you), capable of having quite the depressing effect on its reader.
(As a slight tangent - I would also file Ulitskaja's work into the same category, and ironically enough, I will probably be reading yet another one of hers soon enough. )
Scherbakova needs to be dug out from beneath the pile of linguistic, no, convention-based uselessness.
I shall avoid going into detail in regards to the ways this chick novel compilation resonated with me, because I maintain my refusal to make this any more personal than it needs to be. (I'm sure a few slip-ups will occur here and there for shock value alone!) I just wanted to comment on a short part that stood out. Of course, almost every piece of literature contains such sections, and their number is directly proportional to the quality of the work.
The section of interest described the fading thoughts of an elderly dementia-ridden woman who was left to die in the middle of nowhere by her own loving daughter and then picked up by some local farmers. One of such prolonged thoughts was based on her feelings of empathy, if not pity for God. This notion automatically invoked Byzantine idea of the humanizing of Christ for the layity in the visual culture. Here, however, the woman felt pity for God the Father (an image of the Ancient of Days from, say, a medieval Macedonian church, is very appropriate).
She pictured Him faced with the grand problem of creating Man in his own image, yet out of Nothing. The difficulty of the endeavor was magnified by the fact that God, the Ancient of Days, began sculpting Man out of wet clay, and so she felt pity for this Old Man, because it must have been extremely difficult creating all those little creases that people's hands have and their nails. This is why, she thought, God had decided to give people the ability to reproduce themselves (not as a result of the "original sin"!), rather than having to recreate the task Himself over and over again.
Silly demented old woman.