'There Once Lived a Girl Who Seduced Her Sister's Husband, and He Hanged Himself: Love Stories' by Ludmilla Petrushevskaya, translated by Anna Summers

January 29

The title itself is a miniature short story, full of the bleakness and pathos one might expect from one of Russia's best living writers. She's certainly a master of the minimally counterintuitive, a/k/a the story just outrageous enough to be true, like "The Fountain House," from an earlier collection called There Once Lived a Woman Who Tried to Kill Her Neighbor's Baby. That tale, which appeared in The New Yorker, concerns a father so vexed by his daughter's death that he rescues her from the morgue and pleads with the doctors to put her in intensive care, where they eventually do bring her back from the grave. Penguin, 192 pp., $15

'See Now Then' by Jamaica Kincaid

February 5

Some writers mean to rehabilitate the careers of earlier ones through their new work, partially as fans and partially as evangelists. I suspect that Jonathan Lethem is partially responsible for the Philip K. Dick renaissance. For her part, Jamaica Kincaid has taken Gertrude Stein as her career's guiding light, having written several biographies and "autobiographies" of her own loved ones. Ten years after the enigmatic Mr. Potter, Kincaid's narrator rambles through the saga of the Sweets, a family living in New England, as their relationships disintegrate. In quintessentially Steinian fashion, says Mrs. Sweet, "The present will be a now then, and the past is now then, and the future will be a now then." FSG, 192 pp., $23

DANCE

Edited by Elizabeth Zimmer

'The Nutcracker' (various)

November 23 through January 6

Ah, Christmas. Stay out of stores and off the Internet, and instead take your money and your loved ones to a culture palace and wallow in Tchaikovsky. We face a barrage of Nutcrackers: The pick of the crop is Alexei Ratmansky's mildly scary, beautifully designed one, exquisitely performed by American Ballet Theatre, at the BAM Howard Gilman Opera House (December 7 through January 6). A miniature, Art Nouveau version for the younger set, choreographed by Keith Michael for New York Theatre Ballet runs December 7 through 22 at Florence Gould Hall. The granddaddy of them all, New York City Ballet's The Nutcracker by George Balanchine, runs at Lincoln Center November 23 through December 30. A novelty version, Dances Patrelle's Yorkville Nutcracker, sets its celebration in Olde New York, mixing NYCB principals with local students (December 6 through 9). Brooklyn Academy of Music, 30 Lafayette Avenue, Brooklyn, bam.org Florence Gould Hall, 55 East 59th Street, nytb.org New York City Ballet, 20 Lincoln Center, nycballet.com Dances Patrelle, the Kaye Playhouse at Hunter College, dancespatrelle.org

Tere O'Connor

November 27 through December 1

The philosopher king of downtown dance and mentor to emerging artists brings two new works to New York Live Arts. On his blog, O'Connor discusses his process: "I develop material from multiple unrelated sources down divergent pathways as a way of entering the realm of consciousness where nothing aspires to order. I then bring these ideas/materials together by placing them in close temporal proximity." Sounds perfect for the week after Thanksgiving. New York Live Arts, 219 West 19th Street, newyorklivearts.org

Streb

November 29 through December 23

If you missed them at the summer Olympics, never fear: Williamsburg's own Streb opens the doors of its Streb Laboratory for Action Mechanics (S.L.A.M.) for Forces! The Movical. A theater of "flight and impact, physics and courage," it glorifies the kind of roughhousing that frightened your mother. With music by David Van Tieghem, a book by Fela's Jim Lewis, Elizabeth Streb's customary daredevil moves, and a lot of heavy equipment. Streb Lab for Action Mechanics, 51 North 1st Street, Brooklyn, streb.org

Doug Elkins

December 5 through 8

What happens when a mad fusion B-boy, raised on street dancing and finished at the Purchase conservatory, grows up? Simply a flowering of his classically trained, pop-addled sensibility, already defined by the legendary Fräulein Maria, a notorious take on The Sound of Music. For this four-nights-only program, Elkins re-imagines his 1990 mash-up of Shakespeare's Othello and the music of Motown in Mo(or)town/Redux, a quartet for dancers who can evoke both Limón technique and the fleetest break dancing. Baryshnikov Arts Center, 450 West 37th Street, bacnyc.org

Les Ballets Trockadero de Monte Carlo

December 18 through January 6

You think a performance featuring hairy-chested men in tutus and size-13 pointe shoes is inappropriate holiday fare? Think again. This two-week, two-program run at the Joyce both parodies and worships the tropes and clichés of classical technique, making festive fun of such warhorses as The Dying Swan, Paquita, Swan Lake, and, in Go for Barocco, master choreographer George Balanchine. The Joyce Theater, 175 Eighth Avenue, joyce.org

FILM

Edited by Aaron Hillis

'Home for the Holidays'

December 15 through 20

Bored by Ralphie shooting his eye out and Clarence getting his wings? BAM spikes the eggnog with a hodgepodge of less-than-jolly Christmas gems, kicked off by Joe Dante's sly horror-comedy Gremlins. Also stuffed in the stocking are 1974's proto-slasher Silent Night Bloody Night (co-starring John Carradine and a bevy of Warhol superstars), John Waters' Female Trouble, Kubrick's orgy-licious Eyes Wide Shut, John Huston's The Dead, and Minelli's musical Meet Me in St. Louis. Brooklyn Academy of Music, 30 Lafayette Avenue, Brooklyn, bam.org

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