Novels

"Fall under its charms, I dare you.” 

Gregory Maguire, author of Wicked

AVAILABLE JANUARY 12, 2021

THE CHARMED WIFE

And they lived happily ever after ... didn't they?

A sophisticated literary fairy tale for the twenty-first century, The Charmed Wife picks up the familiar Cinderella story thirteen years after her fairy-tale wedding. Since then, things have gone badly wrong, and her life is very far from perfect. Distraught, she seeks help from the Witch who, for a price, will sell her a murderous spell. Yet nothing here is quite what it seems.

 

Endlessly surprising, wildly inventive, and decidedly modern, The Charmed Wife weaves together time and place, fantasy and reality, to conjure a world unlike any other. As we unravel the mysteries of Cinderella’s past, then follow her into a new life she will make for herself, the twists and turns of the magical, dark, swiftly shifting paths will take us deep into the heart of what makes us unique, of romance and marriage, and of the very nature of storytelling.

FORTY ROOMS

Forty rooms. Forty pocket-size passion plays. Forty choices.

We know the protagonist only by her married name—Mrs. Caldwell—though we first meet her when she is not yet five, a precocious child of Moscow intellectuals whose apartment echoes with the voices of friends as they argue late into the night about art and history. We watch her grow into a young woman full of hopes and plans, all of life an adventure waiting to happen: she dreams of conversing with gods, of roaming the world free and unencumbered, of becoming an immortal poet. We follow her as she crosses an ocean—and then builds a life drastically different from any she ever imagined.
 
Childhood promise. Youthful ambition. Adult compromise. When do the building blocks of life start boxing us in? Is one person’s tragedy another’s fulfillment? Mysterious and withholding, provocative and compelling, Forty Rooms forces us to recognize that a life is made up of many crossroads and few directional signals.
 

See what critics say here.

"Utterly brilliant." - Library Journal

"A novel to savor." - Kirkus Reviews

ALSO AVAILABLE IN AUDIOBOOK

Narrator: Christa Lewis

THE LINE

The line: the universal symbol of scarcity and bureaucracy that exists wherever petty officials are let loose to abuse their powers.

The line begins to form on the whispered rumor that a famous exiled composer is returning to Moscow to conduct his last symphony. Tickets will be limited. Nameless faces join the line, jostling for preferred position. But as time passes and the seasons change and the ticket kiosk remains shuttered, these anonymous souls take on individual shape. Unlikely friendships are forged, long-buried memories spring to life, and a year-long wait is rewarded with unexpected acts of kindness that ease the bleakness of harshly lived lives. A disparate gaggle of strangers evolves into a community of friends united in their desire to experience music they have never been allowed to hear.
 

Inspired by the real-life episode of Igor Stravinsky's return to Russia in 1962, The Line is a transformative novel that speaks to the endurance of the human spirit even as it explores the ways in which we love-and what we do for love.

THE DREAM LIFE OF SUKHANOV

Once he created art. Now he censors it.

At fifty-six, Anatoly Sukhanov has everything a man could want. Nearly twenty-five years ago, he traded his precarious existence as a brilliant underground artist for the perks and comforts of a high-ranking Soviet apparatchik. But a series of increasingly bizarre events transforms Sukhanov's perfect world into a nightmare. Buried dreams return to haunt him, long-repressed figures from his past surface to torment him, new political alignments threaten to undo him, and his once loving family and loyal comrades grow distant. As he stumbles through the dark corridors of memory, his life begins to unravel, and he finds himself losing everything he sold his soul to gain.

Set during the waning days of the Soviet Union and told in dream sequences that may be real and in real time that may be nightmare, The Dream Life of Sukhanov plays with voice, time, and reality in an often surreal exploration of betrayal and its consequences. 

"Extraordinary . . . Breathes new life into American literary fiction."

- Jonathan Yardley, The Washington Post

PERFORMED ON BBC RADIO 4,

"BOOK AT BEDTIME"

See what critics say here.

SELECT SHORT WORKS

FICTION

"The Blooming," BBC Radio 4, February 2020

"An Errand in the Country," The Hingston & Olsen Short Story Advent Calendar, December 2019

"How Timothy Miller Got a Puppy," Washingtonian Magazine, December 2017

 

"A Bagful of Stories," BBC Radio 4, April 2014

 

"Father Time," BBC Radio 4, March 2014 

"A Family Visit," BBC Radio 4, March 2014

"The Homecoming," BBC Radio 4, July 2010

"Exile," Granta 97: Best of Young American Novelists 2 , Spring 2007

"The Daughter of Kadmos," 
Partisan Review, Summer 2002

"Seven Variations of the Theme of Untied Shoelaces," 
The Massachusetts Review, Spring 2002

"The Last Offering," 
Artful Dodge, 2002

"And the Third Glass," 
Confrontation, Fall/Winter 2001/2002

"The Night before Christmas," 
Art Times, December 2000

"At Thirteen Minutes to Three," 
artisan: a journal of craft, December 1999

"The Stamp Fever,"
 Green Mountains Review, Fall/Winter 1998/1999

"Spiders Did It," 
Tampa Review, Fall/Winter 1998/1999

"Spiders Did It," 
Happy, 1998

NON-FICTION

"Portrait of the Artist as a Complete Jerk: 'The Italian Teacher,' by Tom Rachman," The New York Times, April 11, 2018

"'The Romanovs: 1613-1918,' by Simon Sebag Montefiore," The New York Times, May 16, 2016

 

"'Stalin's Daughter,' by Rosemary Sullivan," The New York Times, June 12, 2015

"Flowers in Moscow," 
The Wall Street Journal, 5 April 2010

"Once Upon a Life," 
The Observer, 28 March 2010

"Daddy dearest," 
The Guardian, 13 December 2008

"Portrait of My Father," 
Granta 104: Fathers, Winter 2008

"Book Review: The Stolen Prince by Hugh Barnes," 
Farafina, November 2007

"A Russian Anne Frank: Review of 'I Want to Live: The Diary of a Young Girl in Stalin's Russia,' by Nina Lugovskaya," 
The Daily Mail, August 18, 2006.

"The African Chameleon: Review of 'The Stolen Prince: Gannibal, Adopted Son of Peter the Great, Great-Grandfather of Alexander Pushkin, and Europe's First Black Intellectual,' by Hugh Barnes," 
The Moscow Times, July 14, 2006

"Not Silenced: Review of 'Anna of All the Russias: The Life of Anna Akhmatova,' by Elaine Feinstein," 
The New York Times, March 19, 2006

"Red Square," 
Vogue UK, February 2006

"In the Shade of a Cranberry Tree," 
Michigan Quarterly Review, Spring 2004

 
 
 
 
 

© 2020 by Olga Grushin