- Paperback: 576 pages
- Publisher: Penguin Books Ltd; New edition edition (27 April 2000)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0141183241
- ISBN-13: 978-0141183244
- Product Dimensions: 12.8 x 2.2 x 19.8 cm
- Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars See all reviews (29 customer reviews)
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,744,046 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
Cancer Ward (Penguin Modern Classics) Paperback – 27 Apr 2000
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More About the Author
"Solzhenitsyn is a man of genius…it is a privilege to be Solzhenitsyn’s contemporary" (Observer)
"There has been no such analysis of the corrupting power of the police state in Soviet literature" (Listener)
"He is one of the towering figures of the age, as writer, as moralist, as hero" (Edward Cranshaw) --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.
'Without a doubt the greatest Russian novelist' Sunday Times --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.See all Product Description
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Top Customer Reviews
It is set in a clinic in Soviet ruled Uzbekistan for cancer patients ,in the mid 1950's ,shortly after the death of Joseph Stalin.
It deals with the personal stories and lives of many different characters
There are parallels between the cancer that ravages the bodies of the dying patients and the cancer of Communism that ravaged the once proud Russia.
The hero of the novel is Oleg Kostolgotov who has gone from being a soldier on the frontline of Russia's fight against the invading Nazi armies during world War II to a political prisoner doomed to destruction for falling foul of Stalin's psychopathic system to a cancer patient lingering in a rundown hospital
He lives life to the full however , even in this seemingly gloomy clinic.
His foil is the Communist Party hack Pavel Rusanov , a man who has no heart and soul at all other than the Communist Party itself , in whose name he has cold-bloodedly ruined countless lives.
Now he lies in the cancer ward layed low by a disease that even the mighty Party cannot save him from .
Kostoglotov lives life to the full in the ward and has an interesting relationship with two remarkable women -the dedicated and beautiful Dr Vera Gangart and the vibrant and attractive young nurse Zoya.
Through the stories of the many people in this book we learn of the type of society they lived in ,and there are profound observations on so many subjects in life that are extremely memorable.
Always in the classic Russian combination between hope and depression where neither completely triumph over the other , but rather vie in a dependant type of antagonism .
Solzhenitsyn’s semi-autobiographical – and allegorical – masterpiece is a joy to read. Despite its sombre themes, Solzhenitsyn colours the book with an array of fascinating characters, who represent strands of Soviet society.
The author exposes the intellectual and moral vacuum that existed at the heart of the Soviet state, using the metaphor of cancer.
And battling against the system, is the book’s central character, Oleg Kostoglotov.
Like Solzhenitsyn himself, the world-weary exile and cancer patient, Kostoglotov is ex-Red Army and an ex-Gulag inmate. But despite his invidious position, Kostoglotov shines with humanity, decency and love – qualities absent from the brutal Soviet system.
Part love story, part autobiography, part medical ethics, ‘Cancer Ward’ is, above all, a historical novel that teaches us about what matters in life and what is superfluous. Though set in the 1950s and in the Soviet Union, the book contains a message to all of us, and it resonates today.
‘Cancer Ward’ was Solzhenitsyn’s gift to the world. It’s a wonderful book that deserves to be read.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
For someone that knows very little about the history of the Soviet Union and what life was like under Stalin, I'm glad I picked up this book. Read morePublished 10 days ago by Janine Holmes
One of my favourite books and always a great read. Intriguing characters and a story full of hope and chutzpah in trying circumstances. Read morePublished 2 months ago by Louise Stanley
Boring in places but I really cared about the strong well written characters. Unfortunately for me I didn't like the endingPublished 6 months ago by Melissa Dines
Solzhenitsyn is a favourite author of mine. He writes in a straight forward manner which seems to translate easily from the Russian. Read morePublished 7 months ago by Herr Holz Paul
I had not expected to enjoy the book as much as I did. Clearly the subject matter is such that you might expect the characters to be depressed and low. Read morePublished 8 months ago by Effenbee
Chilling indictment of Soviet society with a wide cast of citizens. A historic document of great interest told in a thrilling narrativePublished 11 months ago by Kindle Customer