K I ve read that has iven me a sense of how World War II affected the whole of the USSR It s all here the Battle for Stalingrad the Siege of Leningrad the evacuation of Moscow and other major cities life in the country the miserable rationing system the sheer sense of deprivation The canvas is huge but Grossman who can describe entire crowds in a brief paragraph never pulls focus so far back that the individual is lost This approach the only one possible seems a refutation of the Communist raison d tre itself One is reminded why so much of the Communist Party agitprop failed It was not only because it was horribly written though in the West even poorly written pulp novels are to a certain extent readable see Philip K Dick et al no it was because agitprop ignored the individual who when he or she did appear was rendered meaningful only to the extent that he or she supported the Trudy group Itoes without saying of course that novels are dependent on characters not crowds Grossman s narrative consists of the following interlarded story lines involving a single extended family the Shaposhnikovs What I will provide here is just the barest outline First there s physicist Viktor Pavlovich Shtrum married to the shrill Lyudmila Nikolaevna Viktor a reat theoretical enius and a Jew undergoes a crisis of conscience How can he possibly support his criminal enocidal state The crisis all but tears him to pieces He s also in love with a colleague s wife so there s ample heartbreak Second is the story of the Battle for Stalingrad before and after the German capitulation Here one Krymov a political commissar and as such like his fellows a perpetual thorn in the side of army officers discovers that no amount of blind alliegiance will ever protect him from the capricious and paranoid hand of Beria s state security apparatus It s a miracle Stalingrad was won Thank God for Lend Lease A third story line deals with the remnant of Red Army soldiers who have remained alive in Nazi death camps after the first terrible year of the war during which three million were captured and killed Fourth is the story of Abarchuk Lyudmila s first husband and his life in the Gulag Even Solzhenitzyn s Gulag Archipelago did not prepare me for the drama here Fifth we have the story of the indecisive Yevgenia Nikolaevna and the harm she causes while vacillating between two men Krymov the husband she s left and her new love Novikov commander of a tank battalion and one of the heroes of Stalingrad There s much of course No summary can do even provisional justice to this 900 pagerGrossman s style is deceptively flat Look at how concisely he describes an entire barrack s full of people one at a time It s masterful Or the way he evokes the moods of the Volga and the apocalyptic cityscape of Stalingrad What was especially interesting to me was how adroitly he switched from one subplot to another while sustaining interest If he has a tendency toward the occassional purplish passage and a penchant for pseudo philosophical musings he makes up for it with the overarching thrust of his narrative Grossman transcends his model I ve never read anything like it Recommended with brio A monumental novel in the Great Russian tradition which has been rightly compared with War and Peace It focuses on the Battle Of Stalingrad But Covers A Science of Stalingrad but covers a Science various prison camps and a concentration camp The list of characters is vast and the dramatis personae in my edition was well used Grossman was a journalist who covered the Battle of Stalingrad from the front l When you consider the steps that had to be taken to smuggle this novel out of the Soviet Union painstakingly photographed page by page on microfilm you cannot but marvel at the determination and e I have to use the M word for this panoramic portrayal of the Soviet experience of World War 2 masterpiece I was moved and uplifted enlightened and devastated and ultimately made into a better person wit empathy and understanding of the hu A confession in three parts I Well I was completely wrong about this book and I am pleased to admit it To nuance that if I was oing to ive it a Goodreads star rating it would be two star maybe
two and a half or 247I was even so unwise to tell a very dear and a half or 247I was even so unwise to tell a very dear that in my opinion it was no than a 20th century rewrite of War and Peace which it is but importantly it emphatically is notI had also imagined that it was about the battle of Stalingrad reading I see that really it is about anti Semitism actually the issue of being Jewish in modern totalitarian states in which number I include on the rounds of laziness the so called nation states which have admittedly increasingly only implicit notions of exclusivity Part 2 chapter 31 treats anti Semitism in detail but it is present throughout in a range of forms notably none of the Jewish characters seem to be observant nor Yiddish speaking while people who use Ukrainian words are pointed out but don t experience prejudiceIt is also an explosively anti soviet book which was banned because it hurt the Soviet regime where it really hurt ie in the Party s claim to have played a uiding role in achieving victory in WWII here even the fighting commissars are just another level of privileged people confusing the command structure and telling tales on the serious soldiers who want to fight effectively and efficiently without massive casualties I now see that Solzhenitsyn was by contrast with Grossman merely a literary Donald Trump or Nigel Farage an exemplar of the politics of the whinging of the relatively privileged citizenIt is rather journalistic less a novel than a series of reports with reoccurring characters and themes but do I imagine that it will live with me like War and Peace no not for an instant and yet it emphatically is not War and Peace and so will find its own place II Let me drain the lass Tion and a concentration camp are stunningly evoked from their darkest to their most poetic momentsJudged so dangerous by the Soviet authorities that the manuscript was immediately confiscated when completed in 1960 Grossman’s masterpiece was finally smuggled into the West and published in Zhizn i sadba Life and Fate a novel Stalingrad 2 Vasily GrossmanLife and Fate is a 1960 novel by Vasily Grossman and is seen as the author s magnum opus Technically it is the second half of the author s conceived two part book under the same title Although the first half the novel For a Just Cause written during the rule of Joseph Stalin and first published in 1952 expresses loyalty to the regime Life and Fate sharply criticizes Stalinism 1999 1377 919 9644353102 1386 9789644483660 20 1941 4 12Grossman stands in the tradition of the Russian novelists of the nineteenth century His characters like Dostoevsky s engage in reat philosophical debates and the structure of Life and Fate is loosely based on that of Tolstoy s War and Peace Ideologically however the model to which Grossman admitted to feeling closest was Chekhov who brought into Russian literature a new kind of humanism based on the ideas of freedom and loving kindness Tzvetan TodorovGrossman during the Second Word War a war correspondent for Krasnaya ZvezdaThe translator Robert Chandler has contributed a useful Introduction oing through biographical info on Grossman 1905 1964 critical judgements of the book and Grossman s writings in BOSH!: The Cookbook: Simple Recipes. Amazing Food. All Plants. general and the history of the writing and suppressed publication of the novel Grossman had delivered the novel to officials in 1960 clearly believing it could be published Apparently it was read by several higher ups some of whom thought it was veryood but ultimately judged by one that it could only be published perhaps in two or three hundred years It was considered subversive enough that everything the authorities could Confessions of an Air Ambulance Doctor get their hands one was confiscated right down to the writer s typewriter ribbon It was not published at all until 1980 in the West using microfilm of the entire novel that had been smuggled out of the Soviet Union and was finally published in Russia in 1988It s sometimes called Stalingrad 2 but that s certainly not any indication that 1 needs to be read first I d never heard of 1 For a Just Cause until reading about it in Chandler s introduction where he writes that Life and Fateis better seen as a separate novel that includes many of the same characters It is important not only as literature but also as history we have no complete picture of Stalinist Russia The power of other dissident writers Shalamov Solzhenitsyn Nadezhda Mandelstam derives from their position as outsiders Grossman s power derives at least in part from his intimate knowledge of every level of Soviet society In Life and Fate Grossman achieves what many other Soviet writers struggled but failed to achieve a portrait of an entire ageThe novel consists of three parts each composed of 60 70 fairly shorts chapters One or chapters comprise what might be termed a single scene though some scenes can be found which run in non consecutive chapters Scenes defined in this way are set in a German concentration camp a Russian labor camp a journey to theas chamber the Lubyanka prison a German fighter suadron a Russian tank corps and several locations in StalingradThe story is built around the Shaposhnikov family and their acuaintances and takes place mostly during the Second World War conflagration between Germany and Russia There are some historical figures in the novel but aside from Stalin and Hitler they are all officers in one army or the other When these appear Grossman is obviously presenting a historical scene meant to be reasonably accurate when fictional characters touch the outskirts of these scenes we move into obviously historical fiction much as Tolstoy s War and Peace is constructed Like Tolstoy Grossman fashions scenes in Life and Fate which carry the narrative along from the perspective of the enemy German point of view A very long book but I found it a comparatively fast read The third person narrative which I found a bit dry in places uses uite a bit of dialogue both normal and inner dialogue thoughts of the characters If you have any interest in the Eastern Front particularly in the Battle of Stalingrad or a story of the Stalin era this is a Russian novel you might like Previous review Ancestral Passions The Leakey Family and the uest for Humankind s BeginningsRandom review The Marriage of Cadmus and HarmonyNext review The Open Society and Its EnemiesPrevious library review Complete Poems Anna AkhmatovaNext library review August 1914 Both epic in scope and intimate in detail this powerhouse novel had me riveted from the very beginning The prose style is spare yet luminous Many have mentioned Chekhov as model for the writing style and that feels right to me There are some truly haunting scenes in this book But it s the constant juxtaposition of the tragic and the comic the Mr. Jelly's Business grand and the banal thatives this novel its true heft When I first learned that Vasily Grossman s model for this novel was War and Peace I thought he was setting his sights astronomically not to say unattainably high There are huge differences between the two books of course Remember Tolstoy s lovely modulated long sentences Grossman doesn t even try to compete on that level By contrast his language tends toward the so called Soviet realism of the day This was a style in which many of the Party hacks also wrote The difference between those scribblers and Grossman is the fact that he told the truth Nor is there anything in Life and Fate to compare with Tolstoy s fantastic scenes of the nobility There s no crystal or caviar no six horse barouches
no perfumed d colletage no placid landscapes and of course no even remotely like Field Marshal Kutuzov perfumed d colletage placid landscapes and of course no character even remotely like Field Marshal Kutuzov when he hears of the retreating French mutters to himself I shall make them eat horse meat Late in Life and Fate however when the Germans encircled at Stalingrad were hacking away at a frozen horse this reader could think of nothing elseThis is the first boo. THE ORIGINAL TRANSLATION BY ROBERT CHANDLER UPDATED AND REVISEDThe twentieth century War and Peace a broad portrait of an age and a searing vision of Stalinist Russia Life and Fate is also the story of a family the Shaposhnikovs whose lives in the army the ulag a physics institute a power sta.
Vasily Grossman ✓ 0 read & downloadNd roll up my sleeves I don t know And specifically I don t know what kind of achievement Life and Fate is Firstly a very basic problem if you rab a copy and hold it before you it s ok take your time I am not Gökyüzü Mavi Kaldı going anywhere what you have is not what the author intended Grossman died in 1964 The MSS down to his typewriter ribbons had been taken from him by the KGB in 1960 and it remains with them and now Iuess lays in some FSB storage facility however somehow two MSes emerged and were microfilmed these microfilms were smuggled out of the USSR and constructed into a text published in 1980 This reconstruction has been translated in my edition missing sections are marked with an ellipses How complete the version current available is or how far or close it is to the author s vision we can not know what we have represents a work in progress interrupted IIa I confess I read War and Peace first and that this was and was not a mistake It is hard to come across opinion of Life and Fate which does not refer to War and Peace this is understandable and unhelpful I a miserable sinner carried my memories of War and Peace into my reading of this and it was a Corps Values: Everything You Need to Know I Learned In the Marines glass of vinegar poured into my jug of milk WP is a tight family saga over a long period of time it has the implicit message that we have to understand people in the context of the spirit of their times plus the effects of the times they live through the people of 1805 are different in 1825 in response to what has happened to them in those twenty years LF begins in media res like an epic It follows an awful lot of people over a short period of time most of their stories are notiven any kind of closure or conclusion Sometimes characters are introduced only to die abruptly or after an interval sometimes after several hundred pages a connection emerges between a couple of characters in separate locations One might say it is rather like the Iliad If like me you set to reading LF imagining it to be as I wrongly thought a WWII 20th century WP the effect is disconcerting one is overlaying Tolstoyian expectations on a writer who was attempting to tell a different kind of storyWhile Tolstoy tells the story of the The Sun Shines Over the Sanggan River growth Russian chauvinism as aood thing Grossman sees this differently again the war is transformative but he sees the death of Internationalism and tolerance for diversity within the Soviet Union as a narrow and exclusive Russian nationalism comes to the fore in which Russian come first for promotions and non Russians are objects of suspicion and assumed to be unworthy Tolstoy was never interested in tolerance in WP but Grossman writes himself close to the centre of the 20th century experience exclusive forms of identity uickly become exclusionary and THIEME Atlas of Anatomy: Head and Neuroanatomy given to persecute minorities the purist example of this is Fascist Germany the opposite extreme would be the tolerance of Chekhovian Democracy but this hasn t existed anywhere so far view spoiler Iuess there are some people who may not have heard yet how WWII turns out and would prefer not "to have the ending spoiledview spoiler There s an irony for "have the ending spoiledview spoiler There s an irony for in the Soviet Union delivering the killing blow to Fascism as people celebrate to the north of the now liberated Stalingrad Grossman tells us that ten years later forced labourers will complete work on a dam at that spot a touch which reminded me pleasantly of The Leopard hide spoiler The past as they say is a foreign country and also a literate oneThe USSR in the first half of the twentieth century was a place where a father would worry about which poets were read by his daughter s boyfriend a place where you might still love someone despite their inability to distinguish Balzac from Flaubert and where a soldier on the front line of one of the most dreadful military conflicts in history would complain that their comrade in arms did not properly understand ChekovThe USSR at that time was also a place where the individual s relation to the State was at its most complex and paradoxical At the same time that the State was organizing one of the reatest collective endeavors in history the defeat of Fascism it was also interrogating the history family life and m What an astonishing book Life and Fate is what an astonishing man Vasily Grossman must have been I ve already written a partial assessment of this literary masterpiece on my Ana the Imp blog a post I headed The Grand Inuisitor which focused on the contents of a single chapter one I had just finished one that literally winded me both intellectually and emotionally Well now I ve finished the whole novel and it captivated me from beginning to end captivated me with its intensity its range its breadth and depth of vision captivated me with it s simple humanity I ve heard other novels likened to Tolstoy s War and Peace
MOST RECENTLY THE KINDLY ONES BYrecently The Kindly Ones by Littell a rossly overrated and at points unbelievably dull book But Life and Fate with no exaggeration at
All Can Truly Becan truly be to stand in the same literary pantheon as Tolstoy s panorama that Grossman found the voice of the Great Patriotic War as Tolstoy found that of the Patriotic War It s the kind of novel that I believe only comes once in a River Bodies (Northampton County, generation perhaps once in a century I m not surprised that it was arrested because I do not thank I ve ever read a damning expose of the moral corruption at the core of the Stalinist state at the core of all totalitarianism Grossman was right absolute truth is the most beautiful thing of all And absolute truth was the one thing the whole Soviet system even after Stalin could never allow never admit I m trulyrateful that the attempt to suppress this wonderful book was a failure I love Russian literature and this is a uniuely Russian book But Life and Fate is it s a work of insight empathy and understanding one that transcends all limits all boundaries and all nationalities. 980The Vintage Classic Russians Series Published for the 100th anniversary of the 1917 Russian Revolution these are must have beautifully designed editions of six epic masterpieces that have survived controversy censorship and suppression to influence decades of thought and artistic expression.