Friday, April 15, 2011

If I don't write to empty my mind, I go mad.


Cliff at one end of Clifton Beach. Clifton Beach. March 2011.

A busy week this week means that I've only got through the one book (still a few pages left on the current). But what a book!

Оди́н день Ива́на Дени́совича.

[Ahem]

One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich is Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn's classic description of life in a Soviet labor camp in the 1950s, describing a single day of an ordinary prisoner, Ivan Denisovich Shukhov. Seemingly as much known for its actual publication (a significant event in Soviet literary history), it's also a cracking read.

Essentially an exploration of authoritative oppression and camp survival, Solzhenitsyn used his first-hand experience in the Soviet Gulag, having been imprisoned from 1945 to 1953 for criticising Joseph Stalin.

Oddly enough, for the subject matter One Day in the Life... is actually an uplifting read. I'd very much recommend it to anyone.

5 comments:

me said...

Sounds like my kind of read. It is amazing they managed to get it published during the Soviet era...and with Kruschev's blessing!

I tried reading The Gulag Archipelago last year, but found it tough going at the time. Perhaps I should give this one a go first.

Kris said...

It’s a great read. Very accessible, far more so than The Gulag Archipelago. Anne Applebaum’s Gulag is a really great exploration of the theme, and written with access to the Soviet archives. It’s long, but rewarding.

The Secret Speech and the Khrushchev thaw must have been an amazing time for many Soviets. I would imagine it made the coming of Brezhnev, the Prague Spring etc etc all the more difficult to bear.

Roddy said...

I at first thought you were off Sydney heads when I saw the photo.
I shall try to come by a copy of Solzhenitsyn's book. It was banned when I first heard of it.

Kris said...

You don't see nice images like that is NSW.

Roddy said...

Beauty my son is in the eye of the beholder. Close your eyes too anywhere and you can find beauty.