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Cancer Ward

4.17  ·  Rating Details  ·  8,744 Ratings  ·  424 Reviews
(From inside front cover) From the author of One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich and The First Circle a novel... "of beauty, of tragedy, of what is unkillable in the human spirit..."

"The most moving of Solzhenitsyn's novels... Its celebration of life, the nobility with which it faces a world of decay, disease and death, and its passion for individual freedom -- these qu
Mass Market Paperback, 559 pages
Published 1969 by Bantam Books, Inc. (first published 1968)
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(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Do I remember the Cold War? You bet I do. I think about it every day. It is as fundamental a part of my upbringing -- as defining of me as Catholicism, American Patriotism, Canadian Anti-Americanism, homophobia, abuse and bisexuality.

It wasn't just something that was happening in the world. In my household, with an American father, a U.S. Coast Guard Veteran (he was a Coastie who was all set to go to Vietnam with U.S. Coast Guard Squadron One -- and wanted to go -- when the U.S. finally pulled o
Henry Avila
Aug 13, 2015 Henry Avila rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Scene: Tashkent, Uzbekistan, Central Asia, in the old Soviet Union, two years after the death of the brutal dictator, Stalin (1955). Oleg Kostoglotov is lying on the floor of a provincial hospital, at the entrance to the cancer ward, which is unpromising named , the 13th wing, looking up at the cold ceiling, his dead eyes stare. He can't get admitted until a space is available, but a vacancy will arrive soon, he feels death near. Meanwhile stoic Kostoglotov, a survivor of the infamous Gulag, and ...more
May 27, 2009 Kim rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: cultured, mmix
Cancer Ward … hmmm… Oh, Cancer Ward….

What was I expecting from you? Certainly not a frolicky day in the park… no Maurice Chevalier dance routines. Nope. I can’t say I was duped.

Cancer sucks. Hell, I’m not spouting some fresh angle on an old dictum. Just nod and agree, folks. Most of us have had some dealings with it, some more than others… it’s one of the nastiest things out there… rots you from the inside out, leaves you to dwell on things left unaccomplished and fills your head with messy wo
Mar 21, 2016 Speranza rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favourites, kindle
Like the blood transfusion Kostoglotov received from Gangard, I literally felt this book flow through my veins. I was wary of the injection at the beginning, a bit numb in the middle and completely intoxicated toward the end.

In fact, I think this might be the best piece of literature I have come across so far in my life.

First of all - the characters. Despite being confined to the same small space and sharing a common fate, they are very colourful, different from each other and interesting in the
Judy Vasseur
Jan 07, 2008 Judy Vasseur rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
"Well, what have we here? Another nice little cancer!"

"The hard lump of his tumor—unexpected, meaningless and quite without use—had dragged him in like a fish on a hook and flung him onto this iron bed—a narrow, mean bed, with creaking springs and an apology for a mattress."

Solzhenitsyn writes beautifully about human physical, moral, social, and political conditions; over-layering each consideration one upon the other. His books do not depress me, I find them powerful and hopeful documents to th
☽ Moon Rose ☯
Sep 29, 2012 ☽ Moon Rose ☯ rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to ☽ Moon Rose ☯ by: Henry Avila
As the cliche goes, money is the root of all evil, and many would agree that indeed it is. On the contrary, it contradicts the essence of what had become human living since time immemorial. As human living immersed itself voluntarily in the deep dark materiality of existence, as it is beleaguered by the sensual pleasures of physicality. In truth, the want of money is only a direct object. It appears only as the end goal to attain the inexhaustible, human yearning for material happiness . This b ...more
Feb 29, 2016 Hamed rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: literature
سولژنیتسن در کتاب بخش سرطان تلاش می کند وضعیت اسفبار شوروی را توصیف کند. او از زبان شخصیت های داستان به ویژه اولگ از اردوگاه های کار اجباری، خفقان و بی عدالتی ها می گوید. از وضعیتی می گوید که همچون یک غده سرطانی تمامی مردم را به شکل های مختلف در برگرفته است. روسانف به عنوان یکی از حامیان ایدئولوژی حاکم بر شوروی به توجیه سیستم می پردازد و بین او اولگ بارها درگیری لفظی ایجاد می شود. آنچه بارز است این است که افراد از حقیقت گریزان هستند حتی پزشکان بخش سرطان. آن ها می خواهند با خودفریبی و دگرفریبی خو ...more
Apr 10, 2016 Aishie rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
So, this is not quite a joyous, fluffy marshmallow, look at the cute puppies, feel good frolic through a meadow. Which, in fairness, the title does go a long way to dispelling any thoughts you might be harbouring on that front! What it is, is a hard hitting allegory about the Soviet Union and the chaos it was in, trying to recuperate after Stalins reign of terror and how difficult it was for some to leave this behind, and for others who were rebelling against the poison. Read literally- it's a l ...more
Oct 17, 2014 Bethan rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The greyness of the cancer theme (it's set in a cancer ward) is just like a mirroring backdrop for the Soviet Union that it showcases. Vignettes of the lives of patients, doctors, nurses and others; from the high-ranking and staunch Soviet bureaucrat Rusanov to the poor exile Kostoglotov, it breaks their political and ideological positions down to their narrower human concerns and desires, such as the materialism of Rusanov's home that he enjoys, or Kostoglotov's desire for a woman that takes up ...more
May 03, 2016 Andreea rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites, 2015
I loved this book about life as is and how it should not be. It's a very sad story and somehow the ending left me with broken heart.
Aug 11, 2013 Lisa rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I enjoyed the allegorical nature of this book.

However, the characterization was what struck me most.

Particularly hat of Dontsova with whom I deeply identified, who fights a disease in others regardless of cost; but is humbled by that self- same illness.

The following two quotes were, for me particularly evocative:

"We are so attached to the earth and yet we are incapable of holding on to it"

"Sometimes I feel quite distinctly that what is inside of me is not all of me. There's something else, subli
Aug 10, 2015 Klodovik2 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Remekdjelo. Naići na ovakvu knjigu je kao i naići na biser u školjci. Jedna u tisuću. Svaka stranica priča za sebe koja te tjera na razmišljanje i sagledavanje životnih prioriteta iz sasvim drugih uglova.
Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn je jedini rus kojeg sam mogao pročitati do kraja a moja ga žena naprosto obožava. Skoro smo i sina nazvali po njemu :)
May 21, 2009 C. rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to C. by: Mr. P
This was my second Solzhenitsyn. My first was One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich, upon which I wrote a frustrating and rather dull essay entitled 'Past and Present in the Works of Solzhenitsyn and Chekhov', or something of that genre.

I liked Ivan, as we affectionately termed it, I thought it a brave and fascinating insight into Stalinist Russia and the power of will and work and the human condition and so on and so forth. But I wouldn't say that it particularly convinced me that Solzhenitsy
Peter Gillard-moss
The novel is more than a simple tale of Communist Russia. The questions it asks, on happiness, the value of life etc. are just as prominent and relevant in modern Western society as they where in Stalinist Russia.

This makes the book quite refreshing. It isn't like many novels on this period which are told to shock and fascinate the Western reader. It doesn't spend its time enumerating the ridiculous and cruel. Though some of those aspects are there they are presented more subtly, as a part of ev
Maria Grazia
Niente da fare, i romanzieri russi hanno una loro marcia speciale, l'equivalente letterario delle facoltà extrasensoriali, e riescono a scrivere storie che sono allo stesso tempo dipinti e hanno la pregnanza della verità più vera.
Questo è vero per il grande Tolstoj, per Gogol, per Bulgakov e in modo particolare per Solzenicyn.
Reparto C, o Padiglione Cancro, come è titolato in alcune edizioni, è un moderno Guerra e Pace, e non a caso, nel dialogo, le vivissime personalità (personaggi sarebbe ridu
The Cancer Ward by Aleksandr I. Solzhenitsyn, Translated from Russian by Rebecca Frank, The Dial Press, Inc. New York 1968

This is the second book by Solzhenitsyn that I have read. I really enjoy his writing. The first book I read was about life in the prison camp, One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich. Solzhenitsyn was born in southern Russia in 1918. Communism had taken power. The author fought in WWII. Solzhenitsyn was arrested, stripped of rank and decorations for derogatory remarks about St
There's something sobering about this novel.

Weighing in at over 500 pages and easily the heaviest thing in my bag, Cancer Ward would seem to come to a definite conclusion, be it comforting or disturbing, by its denouement. But Solzhenitsyn offers nothing of the sort. Rather, we must revel in the beautiful ambiguity of this novel, and, in so doing, revel in the often frustrating, poignant, and somber ambiguity of life.

This novel is at once both a metaphorical critique of Soviet Russia as well as
Jul 02, 2015 Richa rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
10 stars! Marvellous book!
As the name suggests, this book is set in a cancer ward of a government run hospital. Understandably, it is pretty gloomy and sad throughout.
It deals in a philosophical way with death and suffering, and also alludes to the soviet society.
The narrative is simple and easy flowing. Nowhere does it jar you, not even in the real morbid parts. It seems very natural, unpretentious. This is a mark of a real good author.
While reading this book, I realised, it really doesn't matt
Valeriia ARNAUD
Ну тут и с первых строк было ясно, что "Раковый корпус" войдет в список любимых книг. Интересно, сколько месяцев я буду им одержима? И когда ослабеет эта внезапно вспыхнувшая ностальгия по чему-то такому советскому и родному, пусть я и родилась уже после распада.
Удивительная книга, с какой стороны ни посмотри. И борьба за жизнь, и судьбы,и история, настоящая история, не просто сухие статистические данные и до оскомины зазубренные факты. Сталин, ссылка, развеянный культ личности. По этой книге н
Guy Portman
Jun 05, 2015 Guy Portman rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: russian

Oleg Kostoglotov, whose last name translates as ‘bone-chewer’, has been exiled in perpetuity to a village by the name of Ush-Terek, located on the steppe in Kazakhstan, a long way from home. Kostoglotov’s bad luck does not end there. Suffering from stomach cancer, he arrives at the cancer hospital in Tashkent, Uzbekistan, close to death.

The aptly named Cancer Ward follows the life of those on the hospital’s cancer ward. Although there are various ethnicities, religions, worldviews and persp
Rebecca Huston
There are some novels that hit me hard. Such a one was _Cancer Ward._ In 1996, I was diagnosed with cancer, one that was moving quickly, and my life permanently changed. Indeed, it didn't take me long to divide my life into 'Before Cancer' and 'After Cancer.' This novel, set in the Russia of the 1950's, where the ghost of Stalin still lurks, the narrator is a government official of middling status, thrust into a public ward where other cancer survivors live, some to maybe walk out, but others th ...more
Larry Bassett
Jan 05, 2012 Larry Bassett rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction
Cancer Ward sat on my parents’ bookshelf for most of my adult life. I never was tempted to touch it or any of the other Solzhenitsyn books. I was really terrified by those Russian authors. You know the ones: Pushkin, Dostoyevsky, Pasternak, Nabokov. Some of those books were big! And I was not a big book person.

Cancer Ward forced me to reassess my fear. Now The Gulag Archipelago is on my to-read shelf with Crime and Punishment and more of those Russian novels to come one of these days!

This book i
In a hilarious piece of reverse synchronicity, I happened to attend a conference on "Patients as Leaders in Health Care" while I was in the middle of reading Alexandr Solzhenitsyn's Cancer Ward. At the conference, a smattering of Oregon health care professionals discussed how to involve patients and families in the decision-making processes at their medical groups and health plans; how to collaborate with patients and families to make the experience of treatment the best it can be; how to coordi ...more
Mar 12, 2014 Anirban rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
It is one of those books which hit you with its sheer brilliance and candor in representing the happenings of the story. Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn's third novel depicts the vacillation between hopelessness and hope among the patients and staff of a cancer ward in Central Soviet Union in the 1950s as well as their moral and spiritual yearnings. The protagonist, Kostoglotov, a political exile turned cancer patient is to an extent a reflection of the author's own self. Apart from strong autobiographic ...more
Mar 22, 2009 El rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to El by: 1001 Books You Must Read Before You Die (209/1001)
Solzhenitsyn's cancer ward is in post-Stalin, Soviet Uzbekistan in the mid-fifties. This behemoth follows the treatment and therapy of, yes, cancer patients. The main character, Oleg Kostoglotov, has stomach cancer and is likely based on Solzhenitsyn's own experiences in a cancer ward and in exile. The other characters all represent a different form of cancer, which I assume probably are symbolic of their station in Soviet Russia. Other characters, such as the doctors and orderlies, also have ro ...more
Apr 16, 2009 David rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Solid, emotionally satisfying, well-written Solzhenitsyn novel set in a small cancer ward in Soviet Uzbekistan in 1955, 2 years after Stalin's death. Sound like fun? Well, actually it is. Not all that depressing with moments of levity and with some almost Dickensonian characters.

Actually, I was about half way through the book before I figured out who the protagonist was, this exiled former soldier with stomach cancer, Oleg Kostoglotov...probably a stand-in for Solzhenitsyn who had similar exper
Apr 11, 2011 mim rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I read this for my book club and actually thought I read it ages ago, but hadn't. I found it engrossing. Each character gives a view of what was going on in the Soviet Union. The people who believed the system was working, those who took advantage of it, what life was like as an exile, how people related to each other while enduring hardship from both illness and their lives. I read it while traveling and pulled it out of my bag while riding in a shared shuttle from airport to the place we were ...more
Dec 13, 2007 H rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: anyone
From Wikipedia -

"The novel is set in a hospital in Soviet Uzbekistan in the 1950s. As the title hints, the plot focuses on a group of cancer patients as they undergo therapy. The novel deals with Political theories, mortality and hope, themes that are often explored either through descriptive passages or the conversations the characters have within the ward, which is a microcosm of the post Stalin Russian Communist regime."

I found Cancer Ward, although depressing to be a totally engrossing read
Jan 02, 2016 Raluca rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites, russia
"Păi dumneavoastră de unde ştiţi, Zoienka, în care loc de pe pământ veţi fi fericită şi în care - nefericită? Cine ar putea spune că ştie acest lucru despre sine însuşi?"

"Cum se numeşte asta? Deprimare? Apăsare? Un soi de ceaţă invizibilă, dar grea şi deasă, îţi pătrunde în piept, împresurându-ţi toată fiinţa lăuntrică şi înghesuind-o la mijloc."

"iată, trăieşte pe lumea asta un tătar cu numele de Sibgatov; e un om blajin, politicos şi trist"

"Cum sub halat ea n-avea decât cămaşa, şi pieptul, şi s
Jan 02, 2012 Manray9 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: russian-lit
The critics scoffed, but I liked it. A Soviet-era story told in the style of a Tolstoyan novel. Solzhenitsyn's description of the bureaucrat's descent toward death compares favorably with Lev Tolstoy's masterpiece -- "The Death of Ivan Ilych." Unfortunately, Solzhenitsyn's weird Slavophile and religious views alienated many in the Western and Russian intellectual elites reducing respect for his work. "Cancer Ward," however, continues to stand out as a thought-provoking and well-crafted novel.
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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...

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“A man is happy so long as he chooses to be happy.” 242 likes
“The meaning of earthly existence lies not, as we have grown used to thinking, in prospering but in the development of the soul.” 138 likes
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