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Book Tips - Alexandr Solzhenitsyn

The Nobel Prize in Literature 1970 was awarded to Alexandr Solzhenitsyn "for the ethical force with which he has pursued the indispensable traditions of Russian literature".

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August 1914 (Avgust Chetyrnadtsatogo)

Because it's very interesting and The book which teaches to not make mistakes in the future.
/Stanislav, Kazakhstan
The variety of characters forces the reader to try to comprehend the plot and if the reader is a fan of historical fiction, all the dates provided and the excrutiating detail of the battle and its different aspects, make this book an enjoyable read.
/Analyd Gonzalez, United States

Cancer Ward

A profound insight into the lives of very different people who struggle to survive and must face illness and death. The author has a morose prose in which he depicts and encompasses a very difficult but reassuring time in the Soviet Union and also in Europe - the end of the dictatorships' era and the aftermath of the war, the remnants of a beligerant system. A superb epic masterpiece! a novel yet to discover in any stage of anybody's life.
/Borja G de, Spain

Cancer Ward (Rakovyi Korpus)

I like it because it's true story and i want to say its our story.
/M Hadid, Iran
Not because it is a brilliant dissection of the "cancerous" Soviet Police State, or human emotions, or the disease itself, but because it is a MASTERPIECE all in all.
/Sayani Sinha, India
This book has a very realistic story.
/Rummenigge Silva do, Brazil
The action takes place in a circumscribed world of a cancer ward, yet it reflects the whole Soviet society (after the WW II) in its struggle to survive and overcome the blinding insanity of the times, with their hypocrisy, cruelty, corruption and narrow-mindedness, while relying on whatever is left of the humanity, decency and idealism of the straight-thinking people ... The characters (especially the main hero, Kostoglotov) are clearly delineated and at times pulling directly at our heartstrings. However, in a strictly literary sense, the novel suffers a little from excessive wordiness and prolixity - but remains nevertheless a forceful witness for the truth.
/Celica Milovanovic-Barham, United States
I read this book long back. I found many interesting Quotes in this book which I have made a note of in my dairy at that time.
/M. Narasimha Rao, India
'Cancer Ward' examines the relationship of a group of people in the cancer ward of a provincial Soviet hospital in 1955, two years after Stalin's death. We see them under normal circumstances, and also reexamined at the eleventh hour of illness. Together they represent a remarkable cross-section of contemporary Russian characters and attitudes. The experiences of the central character, Oleg Kostoglotov, closely reflect the author's own: Solzhenitsyn himself became a patient in a cancer ward in the mid-1950s, on his release from a labor camp, and later recovered.
/Dr. Argon Gorjian, Australia

One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich (Odin den' Ivana Denisovicha)

A shocking book about the tragedy of the twentieth century. Communist dictatorships in Europe. Great writer, with a dry tongue and demonic workmanship for the structure of the novel, neatly describes a barren day in the life of a man who was sentenced by a barbaric regime, which rose over the sterility of most of humanity. Communism.
/Ilias Foukis, Greece
The way Solzhenitsyn describes life in a Soviet gulag is extraordinary, particularly from the viewpoint of a reader from a generation born after the fall of the Soviet Union. Solzhenitsyn takes one day in a gulag, one prisoner, and follows the prisoner around his mandated activities for that day. But Ivan, the prisoner, not only deals with grueling work; he must face the harsh reality of his relationships with fellow prisoners and the Siberian weather, both of which are contingent on cold fronts and the time of year. All in all, Solzhenitsyn shares a story that details one of the worst historical eras of Russian history through the eyes of a common prisoner, leaving behind novella that will benefit future men and women as they understand how to treat humanity.
/Kristin Brig, United States
Solzhenitsyn suffered under the regime of Josef Stalin but things changed for the better when Nikita Khrushchev came on the scene. He embarked on a crusade to fully dispel the Stalinist mood. It provided the opportunity to Solzhenitsyn to get published his book - One Day in the life of Ivan Denisovich. The book appeared officially in the November 1962 issue of the Novi Mir (The New World). The book records the movements and thoughts of a peasant laying bricks in a camp construction gang - sentenced to forced labor solely because he had been captured by the Germans -during a single day of his 3653 days of his imprisonment. The slim book documents the terrible struggle for the existence in a labor camp, where an extra spoonful of rotten fish soup became a matter of supreme importance. Yet Solzhenitsyn had retained enough decency to choose a 'good' day in a relatively 'tolerable' camp because he had pledged himself "not to overdo the horrors". A "wholesale" pathos.
/Dilbag Firdausi, India
One of those marvellous a-day-in-a-life stories that you just can't resist. Presenting a short piece of time allows you bring in the details that make the story come alive. A short masterpiece!
/Lars Bilting, Sweden
It is a short book depicting a day in a labour camp - but it has a powerful ending that makes one think about his own life and gives a really different perspective on what hardship is. I would say it is a book that teaches us what dignity is. Very motivating and full of compassion without being a melodrama.
/Irina, Romania
I like this book because shows what the Soviet unions were like and they used to torture innocent people and how cold they were. I am glad that someone has the guts to stand up and tell their stories to people. There are so many things that can be learned from this book and his experience in the soviet prison.
/Hodan Jama, United States
I read this in my freshman year in high school, and I'm a sophomore now, but it was one of my favorites throughout the whole year. Some of the words I really didn't understand, but this novel opened my eyes about Russian gulags. And I felt like Solzhenitsyn wrote with a voice that I could understand, because Ivan was trying to survive, just like I am, every day.
/Adrianna Barnes, United States
A book whose characters are given souls in a soulless Gulag, and a hero, Ivan, with no hope, and who never wins. This book really made me realize the value of life and the waste of the material through the joy that the prisoners find in the small and mundane.
/Seth, United States
This is a quite interesting book. But not everyone can read it, because there are a lot of tragical moments of what happened to the Russian people.
/Igor B., Lithuania
I like the details of the life in the Gulag. It is quite frightening, but very realistic. The whole book was great, in my opinion. It really is worth reading.
/Martina Mikulova, Slovakia
The language is easy to read and absorb. It captures a situation and the characters involved perfectly. Enjoyable and intellectually satisfying.
/Kimberley Woods, New Zealand

The First Circle (V kruge pervom)

The novel which transforms the genre, masterly mixing together fiction and documentary. The narrative is rich and sedate, the events are scarce but meaningful. Worth reading and contemplating.
/Dmitri, Belarus
It was such a beautiful, revealing piece of work! I learned a lot about how the Soviet Union operated under Stalin's regime, and it was an amazing insight into the lives of those Russians who were persecuted because of him.
/Kelsey Norris, United States
An exciting story, filled with heart-breakingly human characters, set in a Soviet prison for engineers and scientists who work on secret government projects. Solzhenitsyn, a mathematician before he became a writer, worked in a similar place. He called the novel "The First Circle" in reference to Dante's nine circles of hell. Soviet prisoners in the first circle were relatively free compared to those sent, for example, to labor camps in Siberia. If you have read Cancer Ward, you will love this as well!
/Carrie, Italy

The Gulag Archipelago (Arkipelag Gulag)

Alexandr Solzhenitsyn had his share of 'Long Rope' during Khrushchev regime. Things, however, changed when he burnt his fingers in the 'Cuban Missiles Folly' and other impetuous adventurisms. His own 'Political Skin' was more important than Solzhenitsyn's at that juncture. One sure means of saving the skin was that he demanded greater orthodoxy in Arts- making Solzhenitsyn an automatic audience to the implied decree. His removal in 1964 opened the "Floodgates of Persecution" for Solzhenitsyn. Throughout 1966, the new Brezhnev- Kosygin leadership cracked on the writers. The interested coteries spread rumors that Solzhenitsyn had worked for the Gestapo. His 'good patch of run' finished as abruptly as it had begun. His works could not be published in the USSR because by now it was demanded in all Russian literature that GOD be written without a capital 'G'. Solzhenitsyn called it the 'cheapest kind of atheistic pettiness'. He also pointed the absurdity of capitalizing KGB and other State agencies but not the 'Highest creative force in the Universe'. At this juncture, he decided to go ahead with the publication of his 'Thorny Masterpiece' - The Gulag Archipelago abroad. I recommend this book because it documents the conditions and episodes in Soviet labor camps. This book puts the indescribable sufferings of millions of Russians, the agony of an entire nation on record. By 1974,the Russian authorities had realized that Solzhenitsyn was” too talented to be dismissed, too hard to be cracked and too big to handle" and suited only to dissolve in the "Alien fog" - he was transported to Frankfurt ( West Germany) in a TU-154 aircraft on 13 Feb,1974. PS: Solzhenitsyn was finally free to yell frankly from Frankfurt.
/Dilbag Firdausi, India
Has opened my eyes, my opinion to adjust.
/Eric Pape, Belgium
It gives you a description of a unique human experience the nation can go through and perhaps it will help you to get some ideas about a mysterious Russian soul in case if you are interested. Good luck.
/Irina, United States
The situations narrated are mirrors of the same kind of oppressions in many other countries. Writers of conscience are needed in those countries also.
/Rao BV, India
This book is much more than a plain tale. It is the description of how a State can turn against its own, a narrative of a revolution gone wrong. It shows that retaining good faith in revolution is not an adequate safeguard for personal safety. More than anything else, it shows that while power corrupts, absolute power corrupts absolutely. It is the Old Testament and the Quran and the Gita, showing as it does the injustices of an iniquitous society. A "must read" for everyone who seeks to understand the horrors of absolutism.
/Abhijeet Singh, India
I recommend this book because it is a perfect portrait of a human being. It tells about the cruel imprisonment of the author in a Siberian working camp during the Stalinist time in Russia. It describes the cruelness of human being but also his extreme attachment to life and his great solidarity with his fellow men.
/Agnese, Italy
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