According to the English translators of this book Keith Gessen and Anna Summers, Ludmilla’s writing style can best be explained from a subtitle she used in one of her earlier works called “The Possibilities of Menippea”. According to ancient Greek mythology, Menippus visited Hades and since then the satirical genre named after him has often been said to include visits to the literal or social underworld. These visits are called nekyia, a night journey, after Homer’s term in the “Odyssey”. Classic nekyia describe travels to the underworld and dialogues with the dead. In Homer’s Odyssey, for example, Odysseus must first drink human blood before talking with the dead. Modern nekyia include Lewis Caroll's “Alice in Wonderland” and Henry James' “The Turn of the Screw”. Modern nekyia typically involve extraordinary situations involving near death experiences and borderline states where both reality and time are ambiguous.
Ludmilla’s work was heavily scrutinized during the days of Communist Russia. It took the collapse of the Soviet Union before all of her work could be widely circulated.
The following critique of the book sums the book up perfectly.
“Blending the miraculous with the macabre, and leavened by a mischievous gallows humor, these bewitching tales are like nothing being written in Russia-or anywhere else in the world-today.”