Solzhenitsyn

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Solzhenitsyn

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1JDHomrighausen
Ago 18, 2007, 6:58am

After reading Cancer Ward and One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich, I am totally in love with Solzhenitsyn. In fact, after reading The Death of Ivan Ilyich, I'm totally falling in love with Russian literature, even though so much of it seems to be bleak and depressing.

Question: what did you think of Solzhenitsyn? Which of his books should I read next? And did anyone really understand Cancer Ward? A lot of the actions at the end, like Kostoglotov's decisions, were really odd.

2john257hopper
Ago 18, 2007, 11:01am

Russian literature gets under your skin in a way that, perhaps, other literature does not in quite the same way. Cancer Ward is still on my shelf waiting to be read. I would recommend First Circle which is excellent - set in a sharasha, a sort of scientific labour camp for skilled workers where conditions are better than ordinary labour camps and much energy is focused on not being sent to the wider Gulag.

3john257hopper
Ago 18, 2007, 11:02am

Mensagem removida pelo autor.

4john257hopper
Ago 18, 2007, 11:05am

....and also if you can manage it, try the non-fictional and semi-autobiographical Gulag Archipelago in three separate volumes - don't read all three consecutively, read more uplifting material in between each.

John

5wyrdchao
Ago 29, 2007, 1:26am

>4 john257hopper: "don't read all three consecutively, read more uplifting material in between each."

Definitely agree, there. Horrific, but so important it's worth the journey. And Solzhenitsyn is just the most hilarious laugh-because-you-can't-cry writer in any language.

One gotcha for Gulag; brush up on Russian history (particularly between wars) and it will go a little easier; my sister complained that she WOULD have made it through the first volume if she'd understood all the context.

6JDHomrighausen
Ago 29, 2007, 1:11pm

>5 wyrdchao: wyrdchao
I just read your replies to my post about Heinlein too! You respond to ALL my posts it seems. Heh.

What is a good, short, light book for brushing up on Russian history? I hate to say this but the hardest part about these Russian books are the name, they all sound really similar to me and I have to make lists of who the characters are.

7wyrdchao
Ago 29, 2007, 9:21pm

>6 JDHomrighausen: Naw... I DO respond to other people's posts, too.

I'm backing off on Heinlein. Not a popular topic and I don't want to start any flaming.

Russian history: this is also a little bit of a controversial subject, but.. Harrison Salisbury is a good first author: Russia in Revolution is probably a good start. He has also written some (dated) books on the Chinese Revolution.

8JDHomrighausen
Ago 30, 2007, 12:22am

>7 wyrdchao:
I won't say this there but I stopped reading The Cat Who Walks Through Walls. I enjoy his short stories but his novels' characters are too flat and shallow for me. They seem more like ultra-resourceful, intelligent robots than actual people.

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