GRANTA editor Sigrid Rausing writes in the Introduction:
Ludmila Ulitskaya’s piece, ‘Life and Breasts’, is about cancer, but it is also a terse commentary on the present state of Russia. Like many people who lived through Communism, which made the distinction between image and reality a political art form, Ulitskaya’s writing is stubbornly dedicated to real life in all its surprising details:
"My breast is completely absent: there is even a dent. It has been interred in a special burial ground at the Givat Shaul Cemetery. Lesha Kandel buries all the amputated Jewish appendages from his orthopaedic department there. ‘For some reason, Muslims and Christians seem totally unconcerned where their removed organs or body parts lie,’ is what he said.
My left breast is at rest in the land of Israel. Perhaps only a first instalment!"