'Readers familiar with his novels will be surprised by his short fiction. They show a writer of infinite variety' Victor Sebestyen, The Sunday Times. 'No one knew better than Grossman what people are capable of. These stories and essays are one of the cultural monuments of the 20th century' David Herman, New Statesman.
'The unstinting championing of ordinary human emotion is what strikes hardest in Grossman's style ... Grossman manages to find human simplicity in his characters at the very apex of pain and disaster' Daily Telegraph. 'This collection of short fiction and essays from the remarkable and criminally under-read Soviet writer includes haunting short stories and his excoriating wartime exposé of the Treblinka death camp' Benjamin Evans, Sunday Telegraph.
'Grossman's stories are so affecting partly because they look so unflinchingly at human nature, combining a journalist's eye with a fascination for humanity enduring under near-intolerable circumstances.' Metro. 'The only subject and the only hope is humanity' Brian Morton, Scottish Sunday Herald.
'Grossman deserves a special, if not revered, place as a recorder of some of the worst excesses of the 20th century - indeed, of any century. A casual reader may be lured into thinking this to be a collection of fictional short stories depicting the hardships and privations of Soviet life. But on page 126 comes an abrupt and horrifying awakening … 'The Hell of Treblinka' ... nothing prepares us for the force of Grossman's description; his detailed, harrowing reconstruction of what happened' Scotsman.
'Grossman's trajectory is clear in his short fiction and essays: early essays explore the ardent patriotism that fired Russia; later ones such as the title story, 'The Road', an allegory of a beaten mule pulling a munitions train that offers a bitter reflection on life, hint at dangerous disillusionment ... The Road is an excellent introduction to Grossman's hauntingly powerful fiction and reportage' James Urquhart, Financial Times. 'a richness and clarity to a fascinating period and define Grossman as one of the great literary figures of the last century' Good Book Guide.
'This superbly edited compendium of his writing, containing short stories, journalism and letters to his dead mother, allows us to access the nature and success of his enterprise. Through its lucid notes and essays it also serves as a first-class companion to the terrible history of mid-20th-century central Europe.' Jewish Chronicle. '...his vivid dispatches, some newly translated for this superb collection, retain a freshness that only the finest journalism can. The 11 short stories also collected here show a writer of infinite variety, and the bulk of them will enhance his reputation ... his is a powerful voice of conscience' Sunday Times.
'The collection has humour, pathos, satire and tragedy. Grossman's superlative ability is to relay through sparse writing the fear, anxiety and compassion of those he writes of. This is an utterly absorbing, compassionate and necessary collection and once read will linger and cause true reflection, as the best writing ought.' Journal of the Law Society of Scotland. '... it has become accepted that Vasily Grossman was one of the giants of 20th Century literature. This anthology of his stories and journalism, brilliantly translated by Robert and Elizabeth Chandler, charts his growing disillusionment with communism as well as his frontline role in the war against the Nazis' Mail on Sunday.
'For today's reader, Grossman's work excavates from the Soviet rubble vital artefacts of the bitter, the tragic, the self-sacrificing, the indomitable and, ultimately, the inspiring' Ken Kalfus, International Herald Tribune. 'The mystery of how to improve the human condition continued to fascinate him and is profoundly reflected in Grossman's superb writings - an enduring memorial to the man' Geoffrey Goodman, Tribune.
'From satire to comedy and tragedy this is a fantastic collection translated into English for the first time. Including Stalin's purges and the Holocaust, these short stories and articles are accompanied by introductions that put Grossman's life into context' Daily Express. '...his vivid dispatches, some newly translated for this superb collection, retain a freshness that only the finest journalism can. The 11 short stories also collected here show a writer of infinite variety, and the bulk of them will enhance his reputation ... his is a powerful voice of conscience' Sunday Times.
Vasily Grossman is recognized as one of the outstanding literary figures of the twentieth century, best known as the author of the novel Life and Fate. The short fiction and essays collected here are at least as accomplished, and illustrate the remarkable breadth of his work: 'The Road', an account of the war from the point of view of a mule in an Italian artillery regiment, can be read as a 4,000-word distillation of Life and Fate; 'In the Town of Berdichev' (the author's first published success, which won the admiration of Maksim Gorky and Isaak Babel) is the story of a woman commissar who has to choose between her newborn baby and her Red Army comrades; 'Mama' is based on a true story about an orphaned girl who was adopted by Nikolay Yezhov (head of the N.K.V.D. at the height of the Great Terror). In addition to the eleven stories, this volume includes two letters Grossman wrote to his mother after her death, and three articles, including the complete text of 'The Hell of Treblinka', one of the very first, and still among the most powerful descriptions of a Nazi extermination camp. Grossman's stories - works of satire, comedy, tragedy and pure narrative - read like descriptions of real events, drawing as they do on the human detail of Russia's turbulent twentieth century. Illustrated by Robert Chandler's introductions, they demonstrate one by one the bold intelligence, delicate irony and extraordinary vividness for which Grossman has justly become renowned.
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