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.
"[A] classic of 20th century Russian literature." New York Times
"[An] extraordinarily dark portrait of Soviet society." The Washington Post
"To read Life and Fate is, among other things, to have some sense of how it feels not to be free...In more ways than one, Life and Fate is a testament to the strength of character that terrorized human souls are capable of attaining. It is a noble book." The Wall Street Journal
"Takes its place beside The First Circle and Doctor Zhivago as a masterful evocation of the fate of Russia as it is expressed through the lives of its people." USA Today
Completed in the late 1950s by its distinguished Russian author, this novel has been recognized as fiction on an epic scale: powerful, deeply moving, and devastating in its depiction of a world mutilated by war and ideological tyranny.
About the Author
Vasily Grossman was born in 1905. In 1941 he became a war reporter for the Red Army newspaper Red Star and came to be regarded as a legendary war hero. Life and Fate, his masterpiece, was considered a threat to the totalitarian regime, and Grossman was told that there was no chance of the novel being published for another 200 years. Grossman died in 1964.