Lyudmila Ulitskaya has become one of the most popular authors in Russia. Located between mass culture and experimental, or "high" literature, her works exemplify contemporary belles-lettres. Her novels, novellas, and short stories are written in the traditionalist manner and tell the stories of ordinary people who find their happiness and the significance of life not in social service but in the sphere of private existence. Ulitskaya actualizes Russian classical tradition by focusing on traditional concepts of guilt and faith, and the meaning of life and consciousness. Yet, she constantly innovates this tradition by describing characters whose lives vacillate between normality and insanity and between the real and the imaginary - characters whose acts of generosity and meekness invite the reader to question certain customary assumptions about human behavior.