People I Wanted To Be | Granta

People I Wanted To Be

Gina Ochsner

From the Russian couple haunted by the ghosts of children they never had, to the man who buys a mynah bird in the hope of saving his marriage, these are people who feel that their lives are loose skins they’ve not quite grown into and perhaps won’t ever fit. The world they inhabit is one of half-forgotten dreams and unwhispered yearning. And yet each of them is about to embark upon a journey in which inspiration is found in the most unlikely places, reality is catapulted to the edge of the possible, and even the blackest despair can be illuminated by small, improbable miracles.

  • Published: 13/07/2006
  • Paperback
  • ISBN: 9781846270086
  • 130x20mm, 224 pages

Fantastical yet deeply human and intriguing stories

Erica Wagner, The Times

Gina Ochsner's exquisite new collection can be consumed in a sitting or two ... Highly recommended

Daily Mail

A beautiful, sensitive, frank book with a moving sense of the fragility of people's lives

Time Out

The Author

Born in 1970, Gina Ochsner has worked as a dog-walker, a substitute teacher, and in a shop selling cheese and puppets, and now lives in western Oregon with her husband and four children. Her collection of stories People I Wanted to Be was published to wide acclaim in 2005 and The Russian Dreambook of Colour and Flight was longlisted for the Orange Prize.

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From the Same Author

The Russian Dreambook of Colour and Flight

In her very dusty provincial museum of fake exhibits lovingly crafted from cardboard, wire and glue, Tanya dreams of Russian art’s long colours and wonders when Yuri will stop fishing long enough to notice how she adores him, while she tries the zero-one-zero diet in order to meet Aeroflot’s maximum waist requirements for trainee cabin crew. When her boss at the museum gives her the vast responsibility of cultivating some potential benefactors from America, and persuading them to give their money to the very needy All-Russian All-Cosmopolitan City Museum, Tanya finds herself involuntarily enlisting all her neighbours in the scheme. But their shared hopes of riches and dreams of escape start to rot. And the rounded corpse of Mircha in the courtyard refuses to decompose, as the snow turns it into a hill, and its spirit takes flight around the apartments, dispensing more advice than anyone desires, goading the men, annoying the women, in a block where too many mothers and fathers are missing and too many memories lie stagnant on old battlefields.