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One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich
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One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich

3.93 of 5 stars 3.93  ·  rating details  ·  54,076 ratings  ·  2,070 reviews
A graphic picture of life in a Stalinist work camp.
Paperback, 160 pages
Published February 1st 1963 by Signet Classics (first published 1962)
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Community Reviews

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it's all about perspective.

yeah, ivan denisovich shukov is in a soviet labor camp, where he is freezing and has to work at bullshit tasks and is being punished for something he didn't even get to do (because being a spy is cool, while being punished for being a spy when you didn't even get to have the fun of being a spy is lame), and it's all terrible with no end in sight, but come on.

he got to sleep late. his punishment for oversleeping is he had to wash some floors - indoors - instead of work
Dear Mr. Solzhenitsyn,

I am not a Russian scholar, not even in the armchair variety. But you have done something magical in ONE DAY IN THE LIFE OF IVAN DENISOVICH that eclipsed this reader's ignorance: you have transmuted what it was like to live a life day-in and day-out in much the same fashion. Think about it: Morning, the same as yesterday. Afternoon: the same as yesterday's afternoon. The night: yep, the same. And this made me yearn for a day when Ivan would awaken and see that it would be d
I want to appreciate life the way Ivan Denisovich Shukov does.

I want to take pride in my work; I want to taste every bite of sausage, suck the marrow out of every fish bone, enjoy every puff of every cigarette, bask in a sunset, watch the moon cross the sky, fall asleep content; I want to focus on the necessities of living; I want to focus on life, but I have too much. It's not much compared to most everyone I know, but it is still too much.

And because it is too much I can't appreciate life the
My copy of the 1963 novel that won Alexander Solzhenitsyn the Nobel Prize is thirty-six years old, and it looks it--not just because it is dog-eared and the pages tinged yellow, but because the jacket copy is thick with Cold War fever.


"the terrifying story of an almost unbelievable man-made hell--the Soviet work cam
Shukhov: "How can you expect a man who's warm to understand a man who's cold."

Highly Recommended!
"The degree of civilization in a society can be judged by entering its prisons." -- Fyodor Dostoevsky

This book was a good way to take my mind off of my own problems. Reading about the grueling conditions of a Soviet gulag made my daily worries seem trivial.

The novel is set in Stalin's Russia of the 1950s and follows the prisoner Shukhov from the moment he wakes up at 5 a.m. to when he finally goes to bed after laboring all day. Shukhov was sentenced to 10 years of hard labor, even though he was
Oct 01, 2007 Eric rated it 3 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: those who like Russian Literature.
Shelves: modern
I hadn't noticed how much this book had affected me until I sat down to dinner. Bear with me. One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovitch is a fascinating story in light of its historical context. While reading the book I had a hard time reminding myself that this story didn't take place in some nineteenth century prison, but in the nineteen fifties. The life that these men live is hard, grueling, and for that Ivan describes his day as a good one. One in three thousand six hundred and fifty three da ...more

--One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich
Riku Sayuj

Single Quote Review:

Macbeth’s self-justifications were feeble—and his conscience devoured him. Yes, even Iago was a little lamb too. The imagination and the spiritual strength of Shakespeare’s evildoers stopped short at a dozen corpses. Because they had no ideology.
Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn had two huge strokes of luck with One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich.

Firstly Khrushchev allowed its publication in the journal Novy Mir. This is something that should make readers cautious. It was the first story published in the Soviet Union set in the Gulag system, it wasn't a a searing indictment of the soviet system it was something that was considered fit for publication in the context of a society which was making tentative steps into de-Stalinisation.

Secondly i
this was like the last couple of holidays i have been forced to go on with my family. they make you do all this crap and then they make you pretend you are having a good time doing it as if just doing it is not enough for them you have to keep saying you are having a good time and grinning like a babboon. so i could see where the guy in this book was coming from. but that didnt make it suck less. they made me go in a zoo which is gross the animals are not really like on tv and some of them resen ...more

Ivan 'Shukhov' Denisovich, I ask. How do you function?

You have spent eight years in a total of two prison camps, consigned to backbreaking amounts of work in some of the worst environments known to man.
If it went down to forty-two below zero they weren't supposed to be marched out to work.
Ivan! What could you have possibly done to deserve such a fate? Ah, that's right. You were a POW in WWII, so obviously you collaborated with the Germans as a spy. So you were sentenced to ten years in pr
Literary brilliance captured in one book, in one day and one man's story. Evocative descriptions of a days toil in the frozen wastes of a Siberian labour camp where unthinkable hardships are subtly diminished by the joy and the triumph of surviving another day. Precise, cold, crisp, bitter and hardened like the tundra upon which the writer stood as he scribed this story. Well deserving of its place on the 1001 books to read before you die list. If you read one book from the list this year, make ...more
Aug 27, 2011 Mariel rated it 3 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: don't get your honey where you make your money
Recommended to Mariel by: penguins
Alexandr Solzhenitsyn's novel is over wrought like a fence. (It would have to be a barbed wire fence guarded by guards with hard-ons for injustice and big drooling trained guard doggies. One inmate stuck his tongue to the frozen pole on a dare and another can't get his head out because there is no butter.)

Heaven exists in the gulag in the shape of snow angels. Arms flapping hopelessly in the snow shapes of angels. We'll lay side by side and look up at the frost cracks in the ceiling tracing the
I'm slowly getting sucked into the world of audiobooks and loving them more and more, but I nearly abandoned this one. I am glad I didn't, though.

This Blackstone edition suffers from one of the most painful voices I have ever heard -- some guy named Richard Brown. He has a nasally, whiny, smoke-too-much voice that grates the ears the way skin grates when a thumb slips off a carrot and gets shredded. He makes no attempt to offer performance of any sort, opting instead for straight reading. No var
During the Stalin regime, people were sentenced to hard labor for the flimsiest reasons. I wondered why the author focused on just one single day in a grim labor camp since the prisoners usually had long imprisonments of eight to twenty years. Ivan Denisovich Shukhov is in his eighth year of a ten year sentence. Conditions are horrible with inadequate food, warm clothes, and heat in frigid conditions. But he cannot think of the future because his prison term could be extended if the authorities ...more
K.D. Absolutely
I have read so many novels with concentration camps as setting so this classic and controversial book just did not really have much impact to me. In fact, this day in the life of Ivan Denisovich is comparable to just another day in the life of K.D. Absolutely.

You see, there are days when K.D. Absolutely is sick but he has to go to the office because he needs to work for his family. He is the breadwinner because his wife has already retired after 20 plus years of working trying to augment what in
Andrew Smith
I read this short book when I was at school. I can't recall what prompted me to do so - perhaps a teacher or maybe I heard someone talking about it. It certainly wasn't on the school curriculum. I do know that it made a great impression on me. I told everyone who would listen about this amazing tale, based around real life events. I think I probably even lectured a few people on how lucky they (we!) were.

Following one day (naturally enough) in the life of a prisoner in a Siberian prison camp, my
يوم في حياة إيفان دينيسوفيتش

هذا أحد الكتب الرهيبة، ربما لا يفوقه رهبة إلا كتاب المؤلف الآخر (أرخبيل الغولاغ)، وكلا الكتابين يتناولان تجربة الاعتقال الرهيبة في الاتحاد السوفييتي، تلك المعتقلات التي لا يعود منها أحد، والتي ابتلعت ملايين الناس خلال تلكم السنوات المؤلمة.

الفارق ما بين الكتابين هو أن هذا الكتاب عبارة عن رواية تصور يوماً واحداً من أيام إيفان دينيسوفيتش شوخوف، أحد هؤلاء المنكوبين الذين قادهم حظهم العاثر إلى الغولاغ، كيف سيكون هذا اليوم الغولاغي، هذا ما سنعود له لاحقاً، الكتاب الثاني خ
First read in 2007

On second reading I realised that this book is very strange, especially right after Nothing to Envy. Shukov's life sounds quite pleasant after the privations of North Korea described by Demick, even though he lives in fear of many deaths, fast and slow, including starvation.

Why strange? Is is so strange that Solzhenitsyn chooses an ordinary soldier, a labourer who chats to the reader, rather than an intellectual artist to tell his tale? Is it so strange than carceral lives have
This book reminds me of my own life, the constant rationing of weed like jailhouse smokes, and how Shukhov would hold onto those few precious minutes each day that he could call his own, just like when I'm sitting in my car before work listening to the last song on the radio before I have to walk in the door, not that my life is just like a Russian gulag, but close.
Jul 17, 2008 Jeremy rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: People appreciative of underrated works of genius
Recommended to Jeremy by: My sister and Erik
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
It seems mean-spirited and unkind to complain about a book of this nature: I know the author suffered greatly in the Siberian work camp prison, which is the subject of this Nobel prize winning book. I do sympathize but this book is boring and tedious. One day in one prisoner's life---that's the story. The subject matter is a fascinating one, but even his fame and significance couldn't rescue this book for me. zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz!
How do we measure a life greatly lived? Is it what’s left behind by the person living it (some monument to his/her wherewithal or creativity)? Is it the family s/he births and raises? Is it the way s/he dies? Or is it the way s/he lives regardless of accolades or remembrance or emotion?

Ivan Denisovich Shukov lives his life, day to day, the way I aspire to live my own. He lives it for survival and simple pleasures. He tastes everything he eats. He hears everything his ears pick up. He sees everyt
Erik Simon
So boring it made my eyes bleed. Look, I know Solzhenitsyn is the shit, and I know this is the great book of Gulags and all that, but seriously, could a story get any duller? And it makes me wonder: everybody thinks this book is so fucking great, am I the dumbass here? Which leads me to a story:

A few years ago, a good friend of mine who is a history professor and is black invited me to campus because Chinua Achebe was going to be there. "I think THINGS FALL APART is one of the dullest, most over
Solzhenitsyn's books - be it fiction or non-fiction - never cease to amaze me. I am glad that now I have finished reading almost half of his major works. And according to my expectations, 'One Day' was as captivating as his other works (Though 'Gulag Archipelago' is incomparable and a massive work).

If anyone wants to read Solzhenitsyn for the first time and does not want to dive in into his other heavier stuff right away, then I would recommend reading 'One Day In The Life Of Ivan Denisovich' f
Ivan Denisovich Sukhov is in prison - or rather, he is in a Siberian labour camp, placed there for a non-crime (being captured as a POW by the Germans, escaping and then telling the truth about it...). What this story is, is the account of one day of the three thousand six hundred and fifty-three days he has to spend in this place. It follows him from the morning reveille till he again lays in his bunk at night time.
What's amazing about this book is that the author has decided to write a very po
Perhaps I've been desensitised to horror and suffering because there is so much of each on TV. Perhaps I've simply read a few too many accounts of life in concentration camps, early Australian penal colonies and Chinese laogai for my own good. Whatever the reason, I have to admit that One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich, Alexander Solzhenitsyn's largely autobiographical account of life in the Soviet gulag, didn't impress me much initially. About a quarter into the book, I was experiencing a p ...more
This is a fantastic look at the post WWII gulag system in the USSR. It is literally one day in the life of a typical prisoner. The things he is joyful for, the misery he endures & how he continues to live are incredibly engaging, yet horrifying.

I recommend this to anyone who is certain that the State has a better nature or those who are sure there is good in everyone. The evil that can be institutionalized by men is incredible.
For a story detailing something so bleak as life in a Soviet-era work camp, this novel is surprisingly hope-filled. Ivan Denisovich lives every moment to the fullest, and although he and his fellow prisoners are certainly cynical and weary, they are also still living, and more fully so than many "free" people, I dare say. Each mouthful of poor-quality gruel, each drag of a newspaper-rolled cigarette, each tiny rebellion is savored to the upmost. In a situation most of us would find intolerable, ...more
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Aleksandr Isayevich Solzhenitsyn was a Soviet and Russian novelist, dramatist, and historian. Through his writings he helped to make the world aware of the Gulag, the Soviet Union's forced labor camp system – particularly The Gulag Archipelago and One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich, two of his best-known works.

Solzhenitsyn was awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1970. He was exiled from
More about Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn...
The Gulag Archipelago 1918-1956 Cancer Ward The First Circle The Gulag Archipelago, 1918-1956: An Experiment in Literary Investigation, Books I-II August 1914

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“The belly is an ungrateful wretch, it never remembers past favors, it always wants more tomorrow.” 1191 likes
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