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Life and Fateby Vasily Grossman
Synopses & Reviews
A book judged so dangerous in the Soviet Union that not only the manuscript but the ribbons on which it had been typed were confiscated by the state, Life and Fate is an epic tale of World War II and a profound reckoning with the dark forces that dominated the twentieth century.
Interweaving a transfixing account of the battle of Stalingrad with the story of a single middle-class family, the Shaposhnikovs, scattered by fortune from Germany to Siberia, Vasily Grossman fashions an immense, intricately detailed tapestry depicting a time of almost unimaginable horror and even stranger hope.
Life and Fate juxtaposes bedrooms and snipers' nests, scientific laboratories and the Gulag, taking us deep into the hearts and minds of characters ranging from a boy on his way to the gas chambers to Hitler and Stalin themselves.
This novel of unsparing realism and visionary moral intensity is one of the supreme achievements of modern Russian literature.
One of the great Russian novels of the 20th century.
Suppressed by the KGB, Life and Fate is a rich and vivid account of what the Second World War meant to the Soviet Union.
On its completion in 1960, Life and Fate was suppressed by the KGB. Twenty years later, the novel was smuggled out of the Soviet Union on microfilm. At the centre of this epic novel looms the battle of Stalingrad. Within a world torn apart by ideological tyranny and war, Grossmans characters must work out their destinies. Chief among these are the members of the Shaposhnikov family - Lyudmila, a mother destroyed by grief for her dead son; Viktor, her scientist-husband who falls victim to anti-semitism; and Yevgenia, forced to choose between her love for the courageous tank-commander Novikov and her duty to her former husband. Life and Fate is one of the great Russian novels of the 20th century, and the richest and most vivid account there is of what the Second World War meant to the Soviet Union.
About the Author
Vasily Grossman was born in 1905 in the Ukraine. During the Second World War he worked on the Red Star and was the first journalist in any language to report on the death camps. A year after completion of Life and Fate, KGB agents arrived at his house with orders to confiscate the manuscript. However, a microfilm copy of the manuscript found its way to the West in the hands of Vladimir Voinovich. Vasily Grossman died in 1964.
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