Buy Used
£5.19
+ £2.80 UK delivery
Used: Like New | Details
Sold by LABYRINTH BOOKS
Condition: Used: Like New
Trade in your item
Get a £1.84
Gift Card.
Have one to sell?
Flip to back Flip to front
Listen Playing... Paused   You're listening to a sample of the Audible audio edition.
Learn more
See this image

An Armenian Sketchbook (New York Review Books Classics) Paperback – 19 Feb 2013


See all formats and editions Hide other formats and editions
Amazon Price New from Used from
Paperback
"Please retry"
£5.19


Trade In this Item for up to £1.84
Trade in An Armenian Sketchbook (New York Review Books Classics) for an Amazon Gift Card of up to £1.84, which you can then spend on millions of items across the site. Trade-in values may vary (terms apply). Learn more

Product details

  • Paperback: 135 pages
  • Publisher: New York Review of Books (19 Feb. 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 9781590176184
  • ISBN-13: 978-1590176184
  • ASIN: 1590176189
  • Product Dimensions: 12.8 x 1.2 x 20.3 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 638,146 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Discover books, learn about writers, and more.

What Other Items Do Customers Buy After Viewing This Item?

Customer Reviews

4.8 out of 5 stars
5 star
3
4 star
1
3 star
0
2 star
0
1 star
0
See all 4 customer reviews
Share your thoughts with other customers

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Pompey 54 on 25 Feb. 2013
Format: Paperback
This book is a change from Grossman's novels, in that it is a personal account of the two months he spent in Armenia in late 1960. He went there (after the KGB had confiscated 'Life and Fate') to write a more literary translation of an Armenian novel. His 'Sketchbook' provides his experiences, opinions and observations of this country of stone: 'Greenish-grey rock - not mountains or crags, but scree, flat deposits of stone, fields of stone.... Sometimes a grey stone comes to life and begins to move. A sheep.' Grossman's humour and humanity ring through the book. He doesn't speak Armenian, but establishes a rappaort with many of the locals despite that. He describes their customs, muses on their history and the wider history of the Soviet Union, the fate of the Jews, the impact of Stalin.
What matters most to him - despite the terrible experiences of his own life and the fate of his community of Berdichev in the war - is the essential goodness in man, which he sees in those around him in Armenia. Always entertaining, often moving, acutely observed, this book is a treasure. The Chandlers' translation reads beautifully. I read this is in an afternoon and evening - impossible to put down.
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Lost John TOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on 1 Mar. 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
The choice of title for this translation of Vasily Grossman's 1962 book, An Armenian Sketchbook, is admirably descriptive. It is a relatively short book and, chapter by chapter, sketches of the Armenian countryside, people, their homes and daily lives are exactly what we get.

Grossman went there in late 1961, less than three years before his death from cancer. His great work, Life And Fate, had recently been "arrested" as he put it - confiscated by the KGB. In their joint introduction to this book, Robert Chandler and Grossman scholar Yuri Bit-Yunan surmise that he may have been given the task of serving as literary translator of an Armenian novel by way of compensation for the moral and financial loss of not being able to get Life and Fate into print.

We begin in the train from Moscow, which takes so long to reach Armenia Grossman's clean-shaven fellow-traveller acquires a black beard by the time they arrive. Grossman is impressed by the barrenness of Armenia as seen from the railway, the stone, rocks and scree. The railway runs alongside the Turkish border, fortified with barbed wire, and Grossman reflects on Armenia's tragically unhappy historic relationship with Turkey. He glories in the sight of Mount Ararat - of great importance to the national consciousness of Armenians, despite being located in Turkey.

No-one meets him on his arrival in Yerevan. Thus begins his rather detached relationship with the author of the book he is to translate. But contact is eventually made and time spent in the mountain village where the author has a dacha is the happiest part of Grossman's stay.
Read more ›
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By nick stevenson on 21 May 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
A lovely gentle description of Grossmans trip to Armenia. If you have read any of his books you will love this as well. His description of the landscape is stunning.
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Zlata Konevski on 3 Mar. 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
A very personal book, with Mr Grossman explaining his thoughts about the Armenians and their country. It is a fascinating read, and a must for anyone who likes the authors other books, or wants to know more about Armenia
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again

Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: 19 reviews
12 of 13 people found the following review helpful
An Armenian Sketchbook 19 Feb. 2013
By Jared Branch - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
“On a hill above Yerevan,” writes Grossman, “stands a statue of Stalin.” In this imposing effigy the forces of God and government coalesce. “Earthly gods,” like Stalin, “create worlds in their own image and likeness.” Living through the tumult of 20th century Russia, Grossman was privy to a host of worlds created by earthy gods, worlds that were, by nature, “feeble and imperfect” because they lacked “expression of at least one living human soul.”

On first arriving to Armenia, Grossman begins to construct a world. “Your first minutes on the streets of an unfamiliar city are always special,” he writes, because you are required to perceive and build a world from nonbeing. In essence, you become an earthly god and bring, for yourself, a new world into existence. We are all, then, earthly gods, but gods with souls, and whatever a soul is it is something bureaucrats could never commission.

When we die, our worlds are lost. Grossman writes about an experience in which he felt himself to be dying and, disturbed, concludes, “if the world were not so beautiful, the anguish of a dying man would not be so terrible.” The point is debatable – fear of nonexistence doesn’t translate to a love of beauty – but one could argue that what makes death so terrifying in its finiteness is the loss of the world that we have constructed for ourselves.

Here, Grossman has provided insight into his own world before it ceased its existence. What concerns him most are humans. Even after the upheaval of his own world, witnessing Hitler and Stalin and being told that the former should have finished off the Jews, he still has hope for the human race. “Though mountains be reduced to mere skeletons, may mankind endure forever,” he writes, realizing that “meanness and cunning are no less widespread” than kindness and reason. Within each of us exists an ambivalent hodgepodge of “kindness and exhaustion, indomitable rage and terrible anguish, deep thought and crazed fury,” and he finds solace not in the fact that the good can outweigh the bad but that we are capable of both.

He argues that nationalism must give way to humanism, and the easiest way to accomplish this is by providing avenues of communication between people of different nationalities. Arguably, the advent of the internet has accomplished this, and whether his conclusions – that human society will be enriched and “more colorful” – have ensued, or not, is rather beside the point. Just as it is much more than a simple Armenian travel guide, it is much more than a work of (perhaps dated) sociology, and to limit it to either category does Grossman a disservice.
9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
An Observant Outsider's View of Armenia 1 Mar. 2013
By Lost John - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
The choice of title for this translation of Vasily Grossman's 1962 book, An Armenian Sketchbook, is admirably descriptive. It is a relatively short book and, chapter by chapter, sketches of the Armenian countryside, people, their homes and daily lives are exactly what we get.

Grossman went there in late 1961, less than three years before his death from cancer. His great work, Life and Fate, had recently been "arrested" as he put it - confiscated by the KGB. In their joint introduction to this book, Robert Chandler and Grossman scholar Yuri Bit-Yunan surmise that he may have been given the task of serving as literary translator of an Armenian novel by way of compensation for the moral and financial loss of not being able to get Life and Fate into print.

We begin in the train from Moscow, which takes so long to reach Armenia Grossman's clean-shaven fellow-traveler acquires a black beard by the time they arrive. Grossman is impressed by the barrenness of Armenia as seen from the railway, the stone, rocks and scree. The railway runs alongside the Turkish border, fortified with barbed wire, and Grossman reflects on Armenia's tragically unhappy historic relationship with Turkey. He glories in the sight of Mount Ararat - of great importance to the national consciousness of Armenians, despite being located in Turkey.

No-one meets him on his arrival in Yerevan. Thus begins his rather detached relationship with the author of the book he is to translate. But contact is eventually made and time spent in the mountain village where the author has a dacha is the happiest part of Grossman's stay. He writes at length about the people he meets there, and of what he learns of their relationships and history. There have been some shockingly violent actions in the not at all distant past. In the background, animals are taken to the churchyard to be slaughtered, and always there is the barren rock and scree. Many peasant huts are formed of stone, and even kitchen utensils are fashioned from the rock. As he reflects on what her life will be like, Grossman feels pity for a shy young bride to whose wedding he is invited.

Many who buy this book will, like me, be adding to their collection of Grossman's writing. However, besides being more from Grossman, the book has value as an observant outsider's view of Armenia, albeit rather more than 50 years ago. It also gives a well-informed but slightly distanced view of Russia and the Soviet Union. As ever, Robert Chandler, with his associates, provides us with an exemplary package; the introduction and notes add much, informed not just by the collaboration with Yuri Bit-Yunan but through contact with Grossman's daughter. A set of photographs taken during Grossman's Armenian stay is also included.
6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
Deep and Moving 27 Feb. 2013
By John Mccarthy - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
This deep and moving memoir by Vasily Grossman of his first trip to Armenia at a time shortly after which, unbeknownst to him, he would begin to die is full or reflections, observations, and impressions of a short (two month) trip to a country with which he felt an immediate and strong affinity.

This is a humanizing book made so, above all, by the author's own humanity, and his deep empathy not only with the country and its landscape, but above all by his feelings for and impressions of the people he met there.

He describes a wedding with such affection for what he observed that you feel for all the people involved. He describes his complex and complicated feeling at seeing the immense statue of Stalin that stood in Yerevan, the nation's capital. He describes his impressions of his meetings with Vazgen I, the Catholicos of All Armenians, and how this led to reflections on faith, religion, church architecture, and God..He describes, at length, and with passion and insight, an experience of his own death when he thought that he was dying. He describes a meal that he had at Lake Sevan which made me feel that I was there at the table with him.

Mr. Grossman is not a show-off, or a crowd-pleaser, or a lofty exalted man...Above all, he is REAL, and honest about himself, his feeling, and his limitations...He is that rare human being who has come to grips with all of his own limitations and yet, his goodness and brilliance shines through...By the time the book ends, you feel close to him. You are his friend...and you wish you could have been with him at that time and in that place..

A lovely book...short...barely over 100 pages...easy to read, and a great pleasure, made so above all because you feel that you are in the company of a good and wise man who has shared much of himself with you.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
A beautiful, brave and humane memoir 25 Mar. 2013
By N.K. - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
I am a huge fan of Vasily Grossman's work, and this newly published memoir did not disappoint.

VASILY GROSSMAN: "Never in my life have I bowed to the ground; I have never prostrated myself before anyone. Now, however, I bow to the ground before the Armenian peasants who, during the merriment of a village wedding, spoke publicly about the agony of the Jewish nation under Hitler, about the death camps where Nazis murdered Jewish women and children"
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
The best travel book/memoir/historical narrative in a very long time 8 May 2013
By Arlenerichards89 - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Beautifully and honestly observed, the land and the people come alive in this extraordinary narrative of a journey undergone as a final punishment for the crime of honesty. This book made me cry and laugh and understand my Armenian friends in a new way.
Were these reviews helpful? Let us know

Look for similar items by category


Feedback