Life And Fate by Vasily Grossman (5-Oct-2006) Paperback Paperback – 1600
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Will be dispatched from the UK. Used books may not include companion materials, may have some shelf wear, may contain highlighting/notes, may not include CDs or access codes. 100% money back guarantee.
Top customer reviews
Taking the Russian aspect aside initially, this book is a beautifully written novel striking st the heart of human emotions, behaviour and motivations. The multiple characters have given the author the opportunity to focus on the subtle as well as the larger and more horrific scenarios experienced in such an awful period in Russian history. Subsequently, this novel is as much about humanity and how small decisions have a big emotional and life changing impact as it is about the atttorocities millions experienced. His style of writing is beautiful, out of the harshest scenarios he is able to deeply describe the most humane and sensitive touches, meaning the reader becomes entirely involved in the lives of each character. Some characters you love, sympathise with and spend the entire novel wishing for them to act in certain ways, survive and end well, others you despise, yet are gripped by their actions, motivations and again feel closely involved with the characters. The story lines are superb but the style of writing elevates these stories to a far higher level of significance.
As insight into the mindset of such a turbulent and terrifying time in Russian history, I defy the reader to find a better novel. I also defy the reader not to want to learn more about Russian the it's history over the last 100 years.
Read this book, I was not able to put this down and took every small opportunity possible to read it.
There are stories of grasping, selfish individuals who are corrupted by the state, interspersed with stories of great individual courage and defiance. There is the tank corps commander who delays his attack for a few minutes to protect his men and make victory more likely. He is assured enough to stand against the orders of his commanders, but will he too be denounced and reduced? Will he share a similar fate to the manager of the power station who sticks to his post whilst under siege for all but the last day when the battle is finally won?
The scope of the work is immense, but it is very readable. Perhaps it could have benefitted from tighter editing, but the vast canvas gives it credibility and depth. It is essentially about the life and fate of people against the huge power of the state. Many die. Many are wasted. Many are small and petty-minded, but in some, the human spirit lives on, and this is Grossman's message.
Much of the book is grim, but there is a thread of humour and strong theme of humanity. Grossman died before the publication of his masterpiece. Thus, he shared the fate of many of his contemporaries whose work was stifled by the state. The irony is that the battle for Stalingrad was the battle for freedom, yet the freedom won did not allow the publication of this novel. Peerless! But beware, contemporary novels seem thin a vapid in comparison.
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