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An Armenian Sketchbook (New York Review Books Classics)

by

An Armenian Sketchbook (New York Review Books Classics) Cover

 

Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

Few writers had to confront so many of the last century’s mass tragedies as Vasily Grossman. He is likely to be remembered, above all, for the terrifying clarity with which he writes about the Shoah, the Battle of Stalingrad, and the Terror Famine in the Ukraine. An Armenian Sketchbook, however, shows us a very different Grossman; it is notable for its tenderness, warmth, and sense of fun.

After the “arrest”—as Grossman always put it—of Life and Fate, he took on the task of editing a literal Russian translation of a long Armenian novel. The novel was of little interest to him, but he needed money and was evidently glad of an excuse to travel to Armenia. An Armenian Sketchbook is his account of the two months he spent there.

This is by far the most personal and intimate of Grossman’s works. Although its many threads are deftly woven together, it has an air of absolute spontaneity, as though he is simply chatting to the reader about his impressions of Armenia—its mountains, its ancient churches, its people—and even his various physical problems. Grossman did not realize it, but the real cause of these problems was that he was already suffering from cancer, soon to be found in one of his kidneys. Just as Everything Flows is his political testament, so An Armenian Sketchbook is his personal testament.

Grossman could have published this work in his lifetime. The censors asked only that he omit fifteen lines about an elderly Armenian peasant who spoke at length, at a village wedding, about the terrible suffering endured by both the Jewish and the Armenian peoples. By that time in his life, Grossman had grown to feel deeply ashamed of all the compromises he had made with the Soviet authorities and he refused to agree to the censors’ demand. As a result, An Armenian Sketchbook was published only posthumously. A bowdlerized Russian text was published in 1967 and a complete text in 1988. This is the first English translation.

Synopsis:

An NYRB Classics Original

Few writers had to confront as many of the last century’s mass tragedies as Vasily Grossman, who wrote with terrifying clarity about the Shoah, the Battle of Stalingrad, and the Terror Famine in the Ukraine. An Armenian Sketchbook, however, shows us a very different Grossman, notable for his tenderness, warmth, and sense of fun.

      

After the  Soviet government confiscated—or, as Grossman always put it, “arrested”—Life and Fate, he took on the task of revising a literal Russian translation of a long Armenian novel. The novel was of little interest to him, but he needed money and was evidently glad of an excuse to travel to Armenia. An Armenian Sketchbook is his account of the two months he spent there.

      

This is by far the most personal and intimate of Grossman’s works, endowed with an air of absolute spontaneity, as though he is simply chatting to the reader about his impressions of Armenia—its mountains, its ancient churches, its people—while also examining his own thoughts and moods. A wonderfully human account of travel to a faraway place, An Armenian Sketchbook also has the vivid appeal of a self-portrait.

About the Author

Vasily Grossman (1905–1964) worked as a reporter for the army newspaper Red Star during World War II. His vivid yet sober “The Hell of Treblinka,” was translated and used as testimony in the Nuremberg trials. His novels Life and Fate and Everything Flows, and a collection of stories, journalism, and essays, The Road, are all published by NYRB Classics.

 

Robert Chandler’s translations from Russian include several works by Vasily Grossman, Nikolai Leskov’s Lady Macbeth of Mtsensk, and Alexander Pushkin’s Dubrovsky and The Captain’s Daughter. Together with his wife, Elizabeth, and other colleagues he has co-translated numerous works by Andrey Platonov. Chandler is also the editor of Russian Short Stories from Pushkin to Buida and the author of a biography of Pushkin.

Product Details

ISBN:
9781590176184
Author:
Grossman, Vasily
Publisher:
New York Review of Books
Author:
Grossman, Vasily
Author:
Chandler, Robert
Author:
Chandler, Elizabeth
Author:
Bit-Yunan, Yury
Subject:
World History-Eastern Europe
Subject:
Travel Writing-General
Subject:
travel;armenia;russia;non-fiction;russian;memoir;russian literature
Edition Description:
Trade paper
Publication Date:
20130231
Binding:
TRADE PAPER
Language:
English
Pages:
160
Dimensions:
7.98 x 5.01 x 0.49 in 0.4 lb

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Related Subjects

Biography » General
Fiction and Poetry » Literature » A to Z
History and Social Science » Russia » Post Soviet Republics
History and Social Science » World History » Eastern Europe
Travel » Europe » Eastern Europe
Travel » Travel Writing » General

An Armenian Sketchbook (New York Review Books Classics) Used Trade Paper
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Product details 160 pages New York Review of Books - English 9781590176184 Reviews:
"Synopsis" by , An NYRB Classics Original

Few writers had to confront as many of the last century’s mass tragedies as Vasily Grossman, who wrote with terrifying clarity about the Shoah, the Battle of Stalingrad, and the Terror Famine in the Ukraine. An Armenian Sketchbook, however, shows us a very different Grossman, notable for his tenderness, warmth, and sense of fun.

      

After the  Soviet government confiscated—or, as Grossman always put it, “arrested”—Life and Fate, he took on the task of revising a literal Russian translation of a long Armenian novel. The novel was of little interest to him, but he needed money and was evidently glad of an excuse to travel to Armenia. An Armenian Sketchbook is his account of the two months he spent there.

      

This is by far the most personal and intimate of Grossman’s works, endowed with an air of absolute spontaneity, as though he is simply chatting to the reader about his impressions of Armenia—its mountains, its ancient churches, its people—while also examining his own thoughts and moods. A wonderfully human account of travel to a faraway place, An Armenian Sketchbook also has the vivid appeal of a self-portrait.

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