[Жизнь и судьба] Kindle Î Vasily Grossman


Fragments kPiness is only endowed with freedom and meaning when someone exists as a whole world that has never been repeated in all eternity Only then can they experience the joy of freedom andindness finding in others what they have already found in themselves Both epic in scope and intimate in detail this powerhouse novel had me riveted from the very beginning The prose style is spare yet luminous Many have mentioned Chekhov as model for the writing style and that feels right to me There are some truly haunting scenes in this book But it s the constant juxtaposition of the tragic and the comic the grand and the banal that gives this novel its true heft 4 12Grossman stands in the tradition of the Russian novelists of the nineteenth century His characters like Dostoevsky s engage in great philosophical debates and the structure of Life and Fate is loosely based on that of Tolstoy s War and Peace Ideologically however the model to which Grossman admitted to feeling closest was Chekhov who brought into Russian literature a new Foundations of Tropical Forest Biology: Classic Papers with Commentaries kind of humanism based on the ideas of freedom and lovingindness Tzvetan TodorovGrossman during the Second Word War a war correspondent for Krasnaya ZvezdaThe translator Robert C Zhizn i sadba Life and Fate a novel Stalingrad 2 Vasily GrossmanLife and Fate is a 1960 novel by Vasily Grossman and is seen as the author s magnum opus Technically it is the second half of the author s conceived two part book under the same title Although the first half the novel For a Just Cause written during the rule of Joseph Stalin and first published in 1952 expresses loyalty to the regime Life and Fate sharply criticizes Stalinism 1999 1377 919 9644353102 1386 9789644483660 20 1941 When you consider the steps that had to be taken to smuggle this novel out of the Soviet Union painstakingly photographed page by page on microfilm you cannot but marvel at the determination and effort made by believers in the power of the written word to bring such important stories to light This epic novel is along with Victor Serge s stunning masterwork Unforgiving Years the best fictional depiction I ve read of the barbaric inhumanity of the Soviet experience in the Second World War and the tests of faith suffered by ardent communists as the horrifying truth that their fatherland was become a despotic police state became and unavoidable What inner agonies must Grossman and Serge have endured going to their graves believing that these works of art which they had sweated blood in wringing forth from the shopworn and suppurating experiences inflicted upon them by endless violence strife and war in relatively brief lives were destined to have an audience of but a handful of loyal friends or in Grossman s case of arrogantly presumptive party apparatchiks and a cultural minister who inflicted further wounds upon the author s sorely tried soul by announcing that it would never see the light of publication ere two hundred years had passed and it could no longer be deemed harmful to the cause of the glorious state Life and Fate is a vast sprawling and impassioned novel that is centered around the final months of the Battle of Stalingrad the pivotal turning point for Communist Russia in the Second World War This is a aleidoscopic novel focusing on the lives of a number of interrelated families and individuals scattered from Moscow to the cold empty deserts of the Kalmyk steppes Grossman who was a war reporter at the Stalingrad front during the war brings a piercing realism to his depictions of the courage tenacity and camaraderie of the Russian soldiers defending the burnt out husk of a city and the despair and suffering of those under both the Nazi and Bolshevik lash Indeed the book s principal goal is to show how individuals are broken and life made unbearable under the crushing weight of the totalitarian state Grossman masterfully depicts the treacheries and petty competitions amongst the nomenklatura in an effort to show their devotion to Stalin and their eagerness to denounce others to win an ephemeral favor We are given glimpses inside the articulated hell of concentration camps and gulags made melancholy observers of the final bestial march of a band of doomed Jews from cattle cars to charnel house showers and we make the long and heartrending journey down the bitterly cold indifferent Volga with a grieving mother enduring all manner of discomfort and danger to find her severely wounded sonThere are flaws in this sprawling story interesting storylines and characters introduced early on are abandoned there is a flatness almost a journalistic feel perhaps intentional to certain episodes and personalities and sidebars with some of the Russian soldiers feel tacked on Nevertheless these are minor uibbles and the central pivot of the novel the travails and Jewish based ostracism of the nuclear physicist Viktor Shtrum is a brilliantly delineated narrative of the soul crushing effects of a Soviet purge We suirm as Viktor oscillates between a desire to vigorously defend himself from a baseless hostility and a resignation to meekly beg for forgiveness for his manufactured crime A vital novel for fans of Soviet literature and those who seek a clearer understanding of the brutality of life in wartime Russia A monumental novel in the Great Russian tradition which has been rightly compared with War and Peace It focuses on the Battle of Stalingrad but covers a Science Institute various prison camps and a concentration camp The list of characters is vast and the dramatis personae in my edition was well used Grossman was a journalist who covered the Battle of Stalingrad from the front line and his experience shows However this is like War and Peace very much not just a war novel Its scope is broad and it provides a penetrating analysis of the Soviet system and Stalinism in particular As you would expect the plot is interwoven with numerous themes Grossman was a Jew and Jewish identity is explored through one of the main characters the scientist Victor Shtrum The description of the gas chamber is a very powerful piece of writing focussing as it does on a child and an unrelated woman who provides comfort Her eyes which have read Homer Izvestia Huckleberry Finn and Mayne Reid that had looked at good people and bad people that had seen the geese in the green meadows of Kursk the stars above the observatory at Pulkovo the glitter of surgical steel the Mona Lisa in the Louvre tomatoes and turnips in the bins at market the blue water of Issyk Kul her eyes were no longer of any use to her If someone had blinded her she would have felt no sense of lossSofya Levinton felt the boy s body subside in her arms This boy with his slight bird like body has left before her I ve become a mother she thought That was her last thoughtHer heart however still had life in it it contracted ached and felt pity for all of you both living and dead Sofya Osipovna felt a wave of nausea She pressed David now a doll to herself she became dead a doll Grossman despite the horrors he describes clearly still believes in the fundamental goodness of humanity One of the main focuses of the book is the criticism of Stalinism the sheer pointless stupidity of a totalitarian regime A number of the characters in the novel are old Bolsheviks who are struggling to come to terms with Stalin s regime and especially with the come to terms with Stalin s regime and especially with the arrests of 1937 We see a number of #them in camps and prisons trying to create some meaning in their situation The comparisons with War and #in camps and prisons trying to create some meaning in their Situation The Comparisons With War And Have Some Limitations Tolstoy The comparisons with War and have some limitations Tolstoy looking back Grossman was actually there and his journalistic training shines through He is able to compare the regimes of Hitler and Stalin and note the similarities This is a great novel which takes you along with its sheer power and the magnificence of the writing The canvas may sometimes be like a Breughel but Grossman s writing is suffused with optimism about humanity despite it all When I first learned that Vasily Grossman s model for this novel was War and Peace I thought he was setting his sights astronomically not to say unattainably high There are huge differences between the two books of course Remember Tolstoy s lovely modulated long sentences Grossman doesn t even try to compete on that level By contrast his language tends toward the so called Soviet realism of the day This was a style in which many of the Party hacks also wrote The difference between those scribblers and Gross. 980The Vintage Classic Russians Series Published for the 100th anniversary of the 1917 Russian Revolution these are must have beautifully designed editions of six epic masterpieces that have survived controversy censorship and suppression to influence decades of thought and artistic expression. ,


What an astonishing book Life and Fate is what an astonishing man Vasily Grossman must have been I ve already written a partial assessment of this literary masterpiece on my Ana the Imp blog a post I headed The Grand Inuisitor which focused on the contents of a single chapter one I had just finished one that literally winded me both intellectually and emotionally Well now I ve finished the whole novel and it captivated me from beginning to end captivated me with its intensity its range its breadth and depth of vision captivated me with it s simple humanity I ve heard other novels likened to Tolstoy s Wa The past as they say is a foreign country and also a literate oneThe USSR in the first half of the twentieth century was a place where a father would worry about which poets were read by his daughter s boyfriend a place where you might still love someone despite their inability to distinguish Balzac from Flaubert and where a soldier on the front line of one of the most dreadful military conflicts in history would complain that their comrade in arms did not properly understand ChekovThe USSR at that time was also a place where the individual s relation to the State was at its most complex and paradoxical At the same time that the State was organizing one of the greatest collective endeavors in history the defeat of Fascism it was also interrogating the history family life and motivations of each and every individual engaged in that endeavor Every relationship officer to commissar husband to wife parent to child between friends between colleagues between lovers was colored by fear of informers fear of compromise fear of arrestGrossman expertly describes life in the USSR at that time and incorporates its paradoxes into this novel of the Russian victory at Stalingrad His is a voice of real authenticity The events depicted and internal hopes and fears of the characters are entirely consistent with descriptions of life in the USSR from The Gulag Archipelago or from histories of the Eastern Front in WW2 You can only believe that Grossman himself experienced many of the things he describes Life and Fate is about two types of human freedom I was expecting to read about the battle between Russian and German armies over the physical freedom from occupation of Stalingrad Until I read the work I had not appreciated it was eually about the struggle for psychological freedom under an oppressive totalitarian State The battle for this freedom of the self illustrated by the story of a Russian professor of physics who is fearful of arrest is gripping than the military battle having twists and turns and a far less certain outcome I don t want to give too much of the story away so would only say that this psychological battle is swayed by an extraordinarily powerful weapon whose intervention on the front line I never expectedUndoubtedly a long book but fascinating and easy to read Essential for anyone with an interest in the Russian history of the twentieth century A confession in three parts I Well I was completely wrong about this book and I am pleased to admit it To nuance that if I was going to give it a Goodreads star rating it would be two star maybe two and a half or 247I was even so unwise to tell a very dear friend that in my opinion it was no than a 20th century rewrite of War and Peace which it is but importantly it emphatically is notI had also imagined that it was about the battle of Stalingrad reading I see that really it is about anti Semitism actually the issue of being Jewish in modern totalitarian states in which number I include on the grounds of laziness the so called nation states which have admittedly increasingly only implicit notions of exclusivity Part 2 chapter 31 treats anti Semitism in detail but it is present throughout in a range of forms notably none of the Jewish characters seem to be observant nor Yiddish speaking while people who use Ukrainian words are pointed out but don t experience prejudiceIt is also an explosively anti soviet book which was banned because it hurt the Soviet regime where it really hurt ie in the Party s claim to have played a guiding role in achieving victory in WWII here even the fighting commissars are just another level of privileged people confusing the command structure and telling tales on the serious soldiers who want to fight effectively and efficiently without massive casualties I now see that Solzhenitsyn was by contrast with Grossman merely a literary Donald Trump or Nigel Farage an exemplar of the politics of the whinging of the relatively privileged citizenIt is rather journalistic less a novel than a series of reports with reoccurring characters and themes but do I imagine that it will live with me like War and Peace no not for an instant and yet it emphatically is not War and Peace and so will find its own place II Let me drain the glass and roll up my sleeves I don t now And specifically I don t now what ind of achievement Life and Fate is Firstly a very basic problem if you grab a copy and hold it before you it s ok take your time I am not going anywhere what you have is not what the author intended Grossman died in 1964 The MSS down to his typewriter ribbons had been taken from him by the KGB in 1960 and it remains with them and now I guess lays in some FSB storage facility however somehow two MSes emerged and were microfilmed these microfilms were smuggled out of the USSR and constructed into a text published in 1980 This reconstruction has been translated
In My Edition Missing Sections 
my edition missing sections marked with an ellipses How complete the version current available is or how far or close it is to the author s vision we can not now what we have represents a work in progress interrupted IIa I confess I read War and Peace first and that this was and was not a mistake It is hard to come across opinion of Life and Fate which does not refer to War and Peace this is understandable and unhelpful I a miserable sinner carried my memories of War and Peace into my reading of this and it was a glass of vinegar poured into my jug of milk WP is a tight family saga over a long period of time it has the implicit message that we have to understand people in the context of the spirit of their times plus the effects of the times they live through the people of 1805 are different in 1825 in response to what has happened to them in those twenty years LF begins in media res like an epic It follows an awful lot of people over a short period of time most of their stories are not given any ind of closure or conclusion Sometimes characters are introduced only to die abruptly or after an interval sometimes after several hundred pages a connection emerges between a couple of characters in separate locations One might say it is rather like the Iliad If like me you set to reading LF imagining it to be as I wrongly thought a WWII 20th century WP the effect is disconcerting one is overlaying Tolstoyian expectations on a writer who was attempting to tell a different ind of storyWhile Tolstoy tells the story of the growth Russian chauvinism as a good thing Grossman sees this differently again the war is transformative but he sees the death of Internationalism and tolerance for diversity within the Soviet Union as a narrow and exclusive Russian nationalism comes to the fore in which Russian come first for promotions and non Russians are objects of suspicion and assumed to be unworthy Tolstoy was never interested in tolerance in WP but Grossman writes himself close to the centre of the 20th century experience exclusive forms of identity uickly become exclusionary and given to persecute minorities the purist example of this is Fascist Germany the opposite extreme would be the tolerance of Chekhovian Democracy but this hasn t existed anywhere so far view spoiler I guess there are some people who may not have Heard Yet How WWII Turns And yet how WWII turns out prefer not to have the ending spoiledview spoiler There s an irony for Grossman in the Soviet Union delivering the illing blow to Fascism as people celebrate to the north of the now liberated Stalingrad Grossman tells us that ten years later forced labourers will complete work on a dam at that spot a touch which reminded me pleasantly of The Leopard hide spoiler I have to use the M word for this panoramic portrayal of the Soviet experience of World War 2 masterpiece I was moved and uplifted enlightened and devastated and ultimately made into a better. THE ORIGINAL TRANSLATION BY ROBERT CHANDLER UPDATED AND REVISEDThe twentieth century War and Peace a broad portrait of an age and a searing vision of Stalinist Russia Life and Fate is also the story of a family the Shaposhnikovs whose lives in the army the gulag a physics institute a power sta.

Vasily Grossman è 4 review

Person wit empathy and understanding of the human condition This is an insider s view as is made clear by the wonderful background provided by the translator Robert Chandler Grossman was a Ukrainian Jew who studied chemistry in his youth became a novelist with the support of Gorky and with the advent of war became a renowned war correspondent who covered Stalingrad and the fall of Berlin and who pieced together for the first time in print the hidden story of the operations of a German death camp Treblinka This book was completed in 1960 but the manuscript was seized and suppressed by the KGB Fortunately a copy was smuggled out a decade later through the efforts of Sakharov and Voinovitch and reached print in the West in the early 80sThe novel is very ambitious in portraying seminal events from a range of perspectives from peasants to scientists from partisans to generals with brief forays into viewpoint of German soldiers as well What helps with integration across its broad scope is that most of the stories are confined to the Winter of 1942 43 during which the Battle of Stalingrad became the turning point in the war Also in the tradition of War and Peace which I haven t read the narrative places various members of one large extended family at the core of most of the scenarios used to bring to life a nation and a society at war the elderly Shaposhnikova matriarch stuck in Ukraine at the onset of war ends up confined by the Germans in a Jewish ghetto that is later massacred her son Viktor a Jewish theoretical physicist who is driven by pure science and tested in his integrity by politics his wife s ex husband who is placed in a Soviet work camp among Trotsky style Bolsheviks purged in 1937 his sister in law who is torn between her ex husband and her fianc the first a party true believer who serves as a political officer in Stalingrad and is later falsely accused and imprisoned in Moscow as a traitor and the latter a colonel of a tank brigade who leads the Soviet counterstrike at Stalingrad Viktor s sister a Moscow physician caught while traveling bravely experiences a trip by cattle car to meet her fate in a gas chamber There is a pervasive tender compassion for all but not for the true enemies the totalitarian states of Hitler and Stalin which Grossman shows to be mirrored twins in so many ways Grossman s compassion comes from wanting to give voice to the dead such as his own mother who was Helpmate killed with about 30000 other Jews in Bedichev in Ukraine and to whom the book is dedicated Like others writers who have borne witness to the Holocaust he is concerned with how it affects our conception of what it means to be human and the nature of good and evil How so many held on forlornly to hope and passively obeyed How millions could ignore what was happening and let people be led like lambs to the slaughter And how others rebelled and resisted in small ways or at great risk to themselves Grossman breaks through from the narrative to speak of these things but mostly he brings these themes to life through his characters and in both approaches uses transcendent language full of sublime or horrific beautyReading this book takes a special commitment not just of the investment of time it takes to read such a massive tome but also in emotional trust that it will not just wrench you pitilessly and leave you like a rag in despair Grossman somehow achieves the miracle of infusing hope at every turn in a way that transcends death For example there is a point where a poet in a work camp expounds on how simple humanindness such as sharing a scrap of bread with an enemy is a core of humanity that persists despite all brutality and despair In this uote Viktor s mother speaks elouently of resilient hope in a letter to him from a doomed Jewish ghetto The sorrow there is in man the less hope he has of survival the better the inder the generous he becomesThe poorest people the tailors and tinsmiths the ones without hope are so much nobler generous and intelligent than the people who ve somehow managed to lay by a few provisions The young schoolmistresses Spilberg the eccentric old teacher and chess player the timid women who work in the library Reyvich the engineer who s helpless than a child yet dreams of arming the ghetto with hand made grenades what wonderful impractical dear sad good people they all are People carry on Vitra as though Their Whole Life Lies whole life lies of them It s impossible to say if that is wise or foolish it s just the way people areThe woman doctor in her last moments is here uplifted by communion with a boy she helped on the cattle car to the gas chamber Her eyes which have read Homer Izvestia Huckleberry Finn and Mayne Reid that had looked at good people and bad people that had seen the geese in the green meadows of Kursk the stars above the observatory at Pulkovo the glitter of surgical steel the Mona Lisa in the Louvre tomatoes and turnips in the bins at market the blue water of Issyk Kul her eyes were no longer of any use to her If someone had blinded her she would have felt no sense of lossSofya Levinton felt the boy s body subside in her arms This boy with his slight bird like body has left before her I ve become a mother she thought That was her last thoughtHer heart however still had life in it it contracted ached and felt pity for all of you both living and dead Sofya Osipovna felt a wave of nausea She pressed David now a doll to herself she became dead a dollThe political commissar in the besieged tractor factory at Stalingrad is suddenly uplifted by music in a pause in the fighting Somehow the music seemed to have helped him understand time Time is a transparent medium People and cities rise out of it move through it and disappear back into it It is time that brings them and time that takes them away Such is time everything passes it alone remains everything remains it alone passes And how swiftly and noiselessly it passes Only yesterday you were sure of yourself strong and cheerful a son of the time But now another time has come and you don t even now itIn yesterday s fighting time has been torn to shreds now it emerged again from the plywood fiddle belonging to Rubunchik the barber This fiddle told some that their time had come and others that their time had passed I m finished Krymov said to himself Finished Suddenly Krymov remembered one summer night the large dark eyes of a Cossack girl and her hot whisper Yes in spite of everything life was goodThe fiddler stopped and a uiet murmur became audible the sound of the water flowing by under the wooden duckboards It seemed to Krymov that his soul was indeed a well that had been dry and empty but now it was gently filling with waterI end this excessively long review with samples of the many ernels of truth that help make the journey of this book worthwhile Having established man s readiness to obey when confronted with limitless violence we must go on to draw one further conclusion that is of importance for an understanding of man and his future Does human nature overcome a true change in the cauldron of totalitarian violence Does man lose his innate yearning for freedom The fate of both man and the totalitarian State depends on the answer to this uestion If human nature does change then the eternal and world wide triumph of the dictatorial State is assured if his yearning for freedom remains constant then the totalitarian State is doomedFrom examples over history of individual and group defiance of these destructive forces Grossman finds that All these bear witness to the indestructability of man s yearning for freedom The yearning was suppressed but it continues to exist Man s fate May Make Him A Slave make him a slave his nature remains unchangedMan s innate yearning for freedom can be suppressed but never destroyed Totalitarianism cannot renounce violence If it does it perishes eternal ceaseless violence overt or covert is the basis of totalitarianism Man does not renounce freedom voluntarily This conclusion holds out hope for our time hope for our futureIn the words of a poet in a Soviet work camp I find sustenance in Grossman s vision of the eternal in individual consciousness When a person dies they cross over from the realm of freedom to the realm of slavery What constitutes the freedom the soul of an individual life is its uniueness The reflection of the universe in someone s consciousness is the foundation of his or her power but life only becomes hap. Tion and a concentration camp are stunningly evoked from their darkest to their most poetic momentsJudged so dangerous by the Soviet authorities that the manuscript was immediately confiscated when completed in 1960 Grossman’s masterpiece was finally smuggled into the West and published in
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