The story “Citizen Komarova Finds Love” by Ekaterina Sedia was published for the first time in 2009.
Countess Komarova, the only survivor of her family, lost everything she owned during the revolution, when the red cavalry appropriated her mansion. Now just Citizen Komarova, she survives working as a clerk in a consignment shop in the suburbs of the small town of N. living in a room above the shop. A strange customer is the only distraction from boredom and the memories of her past.
Ekaterina Sedia is known in particular for her stories inspired by the literary tradition described by “Russian soul” with philosophical and religious elements. “Citizen Komarova finds love” is an example of this type which can be classified as fantasy but with this author labels are often restrictive.
The story follows the attempts of former Countess Komarova to survive after losing her family’s properties following the Russian revolution. Forced to work as a clerk in a consignment shop, she spends a lot of time thinking about her past. These memories give us a way to know the protagonist and her situation.
Something in Citizen Komarova’s life changes when a cavalryman comes to the shop to pawn a few objects. That’s a consignment shop that can sell items on behalf of its clients but usually they’re not paid straight away. However, when she offers him a copper he accepts and gives her four horseshoes.
It seems an isolated meeting but after some time the cavalryman returns to the shop carrying other items in exchange for some other coppers. The story suddenly becomes focused on the relationship that develops between the man and Citizen Komarova. Eventually the man explains why he keeps coming back and the ending is suitable for a basically sad story.
“Citizen Komarova finds love” is a tale of emotions that are not exactly cheerful. There is the melancholy of the protagonist for a past that was somehow deleted of which only some memories remain. The cavalryman Vasily Kropotkin is definitely not Prince Charming and the ending is sad so the story is intense but it can’t be read to rejoice. You can find it also in the anthology of the same name.