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Everything Flows (Vintage Classics) [Paperback]

Vasily Grossman , Robert Chandler
4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (18 customer reviews)
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Book Description

5 May 2011 Vintage Classics

'Everything Flows is as important a novel as anything written by Solzhenitsyn, and Robert Chandler's superb translation makes it a joy to read'

Antony Beevor

Ivan Grigoryevich has been in the Gulag for thirty years. Released after Stalin's death, he finds that the years of terror have imposed a collective moral slavery. He must struggle to find a place for himself in an unfamiliar world. Grossman tells the stories of those people entwined with Ivan's fate: his cousin Nikolay, a scientist who never let his conscience interfere with his career, Pinegin, the informer who had Ivan sent to the camps and Anna Sergeyevna, Ivan's lover, who tells of her involvement as an activist in the Terror famine of 1932-3.

Everything Flows is Vasily Grossman's final testament, written after the Soviet authorities suppressed Life and Fate.

'Vasily Grossman is the Tolstoy of the USSR' Martin Amis

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Everything Flows (Vintage Classics) + Life And Fate + A Writer At War: Vasily Grossman with the Red Army 1941-1945
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Product details

  • Paperback: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Vintage Classics (5 May 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 009951916X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0099519164
  • Product Dimensions: 13.2 x 19.7 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (18 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 57,316 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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"...a richly-woven narrative of historical events and individual destinies -- a masterpiece of pain, moral outrage and gallows humour. Grossman has become recognised not only as one of the great war novelists of all time but also as one of the first and most important of witnesses to the defence of Stalingrad, the fall of Berlin, the consequences of the Holocaust"--Business Standard

"After he submitted his masterful World War II novel Life and Fate to a publisher in 1960, the KGB confiscated the manuscript, his notes and even his typewriter (the book was later smuggled out of the country and printed in 1974). But this didn't quiet Grossman, whose indictments of Stalinist Russia were at least as damning as those of George Orwell and Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn. Understandably bitter over the suppression of his work, the author worked on Everything Flows--a shorter, but even more eviscerating, meditation on the monstrous results of the Soviet experiment--until his death from cancer in 1964. This new translation brings his searing vision to light... Fortunately, the KGB couldn't keep Grossman's books under wraps forever. His testament stands as a fitting tribute to the millions of voices that were prematurely silenced."--Drew Toal, Time Out New York

"brilliant and courageous novel...readers will find hope in the narrator's uncommon capacity to forgive and accept."--Library Journal

"Few novels confront human suffering on as massive a scale as this one....Grossman's individual by individual portrayal of anguish gives readers a heartrending glimpse of the incomprehensible. "--Publishers Weekly

"This courageous novel... is a compelling restatement of some old truths about the fundamental and ineluctable nature of freedom."--New & Noteworthy, New York Times

Book Description

Translated into English for the first time, this is a fearless epic from one of the great writers of the twentieth century

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
52 of 52 people found the following review helpful
By Leonard Fleisig TOP 1000 REVIEWER VINE VOICE
I shared all this with my own people
There, where misfortune had abandoned us."
Anna Akhmatova's Requiem

If Life and Fate may rightfully be seen as Vasily Grossman's masterpiece, his Everything Flows may rightfully be seen as his testament, a requiem if you will not only for his own life but for the lives of those who lived in his time and place.

"Everything Flows" tells a simple, yet emotionally deep and politically nuanced tale. The story begins with the 1957 return to Moscow of Ivan Grigoryevich after 30 years of forced labor in the Gulag. 1957 marked the year, following Khrushchev's denunciation of the excesses of Stalin, in which the tide of prisoners returning from the Gulag reached its peak. He arrives at the Moscow flat of his cousin Nikolay. Nikolay, a scientist with less than stellar skills, has reached some measure of success at the laboratory through dint of being a survivor. The meeting in the flat is entirely unsatisfactory for both parties. Grossman paints a vivid picture of Nikolay, more than a bit jealous that Ivan's light had always shone brighter than his own prior to Ivan's arrest. Nikolay suffers from the guilt of one who was not arrested and who is painfully aware of the choices he made to keep from being arrested. It seems clear that Ivan represents a mirror into which Nikolay can see only his own hollow reflection.

Ivan leaves Moscow for his old city of Leningrad, the place where he was first arrested in 1927. By chance, he runs into the person, Pinegin, whose denunciation placed him in jail in the first place. Once again, Ivan is a mirror and Pinegin is horrified at what he is faced with, what he has buried for thirty years.
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20 of 20 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars a must-read account of Soviet times 6 Aug 2011
In a forest of 27 chapters planted across 225 pages, Vasily Grossman fills reservoirs with essay-style discourse in between rivers of real-life, from characters sucked into the whirlpool of a post-revolutionary force that was the Soviet Union.
The opening is poignant, Ivan Grigoryevich returns home after 30 years in a gulag. His memories are strong and he relishes freedom, but he sees that Russia has lost none of the absurdities and paradoxes of communism.
Grossman constructs a narrative around this homecoming to illustrate this, and to open up the dark heart of Russia's communist legacy. He weaves his message around a complex array of characters, with the result a damning indictment of an evil regime that brutalised and murdered its own people.
Grossman skilfully utilises language, metaphors and similes that not only create strong images, but which also provoke thought and feeling. He switches viewpoint effortlessly, pulling the reader into the story with ease.
The final chapters are compelling and astonishing, as Grossman goes deeper and deeper into that black Soviet heart. We are left in no doubt who are the guilty, but despite the overall dark tone of this novel, we are left with hope for the human race.
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18 of 18 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Unflinching, Unsettling, Uncommonly Good. 23 Sep 2011
'Everything Flows' is the novel Vasily Grossman was still revising during his last days in hospital and is an unfinished book. However, unfinished and perhaps a little unbalanced in its structure it may be, it is still nevertheless, a work of art.

Grossman became a published writer in the 1930s and, after his mother was murdered during the German invasion in 1941, he volunteered for the army but was employed as a journalist instead, becoming one of Russia's most renowned war correspondents. Grossman witnessed some of the most appalling events of twentieth century: the siege of Leningrad, the Holocaust and the Terror Famine, and he was able to use these terrible experiences to inform his writing. Grossman gave one of the first accounts of the Nazi death camps and his account was later used as evidence in the Nuremburg Trials. He also collected documentation on the massacres of Russian and Polish Jews, but this was repressed by the Soviet authorities. Grossman became a dissident in the 1950s and wrote `For a Just Cause' - a war novel - but the sequel `Life and Fate' was so outspoken and emotively explosive that it was suppressed by the KGB.

`Everything Flows' is a much shorter novel than `Life and Fate', but the historical scope is, in some ways, no less broad. It tells the story of Ivan Grigoryevich, a fifty-year-old man who has been released from the Gulag after having been incarcerated for thirty years and of his endeavour to find a place for himself in post-Stalinist Russia. The story begins with him visiting his cousin Nikolay, a mediocre scientist, who by compromise and by the timely removal of some of his more talented colleagues, has managed to prosper.
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
For those already familiar with Grossman, probably through Life And Fate, but possibly through the more recently published The Road: Short Fiction and Essays or A Writer At War: Vasily Grossman with the Red Army 1941-1945, puffs on the dust wrapper of this volume from Anthony Beevor, Martin Amis and others referring to Solzhenitsyn, Pasternak and Tolstoy will seem unnecessary. But Harvill Secker has presumably studied its market and is aware that Grossman has not yet achieved the place he merits in the Western consciousness. This excellent edition of Everything Flows, for which we are hugely indebted to Robert Chandler and collaborators, should do much to rectify matters.

During the Khrushchev thaw following Stalin's death, Ivan Grigoryevich is released from a Siberian prison camp. He has served 29 years, not for any real crime, but because of his refusal as a young man to fall-in with a corrupt system. Despite his experience of arrest, interrogation, transportation and the camps, his moral rectitude remains unblunted. On a progress taking in Moscow and Leningrad, an un-named city possibly in Ukraine, and Abkhazia, his Black Sea coast place of birth, he meets, among others, a cousin who, unlike himself, compromised as demanded and has lived comfortably, suffering nothing worse than frustration; a former student friend who has exploited the system to his own great benefit, and was in fact the one who betrayed Ivan; and a sad and lonely widow, an essentially decent person with deep regrets over past accommodation with the system.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars fine writing
A thought provoking well written book that explores the soviet system but has a deep resonance with the present day.
Published 2 months ago by JB
5.0 out of 5 stars Required reading for anyone interested in Soviet history
Amazing book, both for the content and the time that Grossman wrote this. A tiny sliver of light shed on the Soviet Union and how people talked, but as well as the... Read more
Published 7 months ago by Tom W
5.0 out of 5 stars vasily grossman was a huge find for me,
grossman is a great talent, his stories can breal your heart as they are based on fact and reveal his life
Published 8 months ago by tommy
4.0 out of 5 stars A Russian Saga
A tremendously moving account of the suffering occurring in Stalinist USSR due to the repressing policies carried out by this dictatorship.
Published 11 months ago by MIKE
5.0 out of 5 stars One of the best
This is a great novel by a truly great novelist. Not enough people know about Vassily Grossman's, because his two most important novels : Life and Fate and this, were not... Read more
Published 11 months ago by jd
5.0 out of 5 stars The Great Witness of the 20th Century
This book is not a finished work. No matter. His previous novel, Life and Fate, is arguably the greatest novel of the last half of the 20th Century. Read more
Published 12 months ago by M. Goldfarb
5.0 out of 5 stars Everything Flows is compelling reading
Vasily Grossman invites the reader on a journey that is well worth taking. Like Life and Fate, I was drawn to the history and his very specific evocation of it.
Published 12 months ago by Javs
4.0 out of 5 stars Why you will never become a communist
A harrowing reminder of what it was like to live in a single party state. An even-handed account of what people do (the good and the bad) when they are terrorised in order to... Read more
Published 17 months ago by L. Broese Van Groenou
5.0 out of 5 stars A must read book
I read around 25 serious books a year, and have done so for thirty years. This book ranks in the top ten I have read. Read more
Published 17 months ago by Daniel T. Norton
4.0 out of 5 stars Sobering
I think Love and Fate is one of the great Russian novels. This, which he seems to have been writing almost simultaneously, isn't really a novel: the loose narrative follows the... Read more
Published 18 months ago by Skeoghman
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