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Apricot Jam: And Other Stories

3.69 of 5 stars 3.69  ·  rating details  ·  166 ratings  ·  29 reviews
After years of living in exile, Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn returned to Russia in 1994 and published a series of eight powerfully paired stories. These groundbreaking stories? interconnected and juxtaposed using an experimental method Solzhenitsyn referred to as ?binaryOCO?join SolzhenitsynOCOs already available work as some of the most powerful literature of the twentieth cent ...more
ebook, 385 pages
Published September 1st 2011 by Counterpoint LLC (first published 2008)
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Zanna
Quite often Solzhenitsyn deploys a distinctive technique of contrasting the live circumstances of two or three characters (or versions of the same character), allowing the bitter ironies of life in the Soviet Union to emerge from the juxtapositions. The author's political opinions are usually very obvious and there is an angry edge of polemic in the tone almost all the time. Much of the substance of the majority of these long stories though is extensive military detail. There isn't enough other ...more
NyiNya
We all have those inner albums of mental photographs taken at some moment of emotional impact, some event that knocks you out of your comfort zone and on your ear...Kennedy's assassination, the launching of the first Sputnik, 9/11. I remember where I was when I read the last words of Solzhenitsyn's "One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovitch" -- words so cold and so bleak, they are not just devoid of hope but a great black hole where all hope dies.

Apricot Jam is evocative of that power. Solzenhitse
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Shane
Solzhenitsyn returns to his familiar place and time, the Soviet Union between two world wars. In these nine long stories, using a technique that makes two story lines connect (or not), he unravels the ills of communism and it’s legacy, an ideology that held him in its utopian promise during his formative years but later abandoned and punished him as he grew more enlightened.

In the title story, a young kulak (a landholding class) who has been rendered destitute by the Reds, writes to a celebrated
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Sooz
One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich is one of my favourite books, but until now it was the only one of Solzhenitsyn's books i'd read.
i found the idea of pairing stories interesting -especially at this stage in his writing career - having seen soooooo much of Russian history unfold literally before his eyes.

two thoughts about writing occurred to me in thinking of this story collection. the first is the adage to write what you know. if that is one of the criteria for excellent writing, it is n
...more
Dwight
http://bookcents.blogspot.com/2011/08...
and
http://bookcents.blogspot.com/2011/08...
for more detail.

So how do I feel about the overall collection of stories? If I haven't made it clear in other posts, I enjoy much about Solzhenitsyn’s writing, fiction and nonfiction, so don’t expect a completely unbiased review (even though I think he's wrong in certain aspects of his overall framework). The strongest work in these pieces focus on life under communism. The stories on World War II appear to includ
...more
Hadrian
I was surprised to see a 'new' Solzhenitsyn out, simply because he passed on about three years ago. Yet I'm not one to question the maze of difficulties of translation and copyright.

This collection of stories was written mainly in the mid to late 1990s, when the Empire which he had railed against for so long had finally collapsed, and Russia was anemic and fragmented. The range of the stories is very impressive, as always, covering a realistic view of those who lived under socialism, in contrast
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Shelf Magazine
In his novels such as the Gulag Archipelago and One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich, Aleksarndr Solzhenitsyn recounted and renounced Soviet oppression, earning him imprisonment, exile, a Nobel Prize and an acknowledged role in the defeat of communism. Some of his final published works are available for the first time in Apricot Jam and Other Stories.

Read an interview with the late author's son, Ignat Solzhenitsyn, in the October/November 2011 issue of Shelf Magazine. http://www.pagegangster.c
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Philip Larmett
I found this new collection of short stories in my local Kyiv bookstore and was intrigued. What little gems had Solzhenitsyn penned between his return Russia in 1994 and his death in 2008? What had they found in his papers, who had collected and translated them?
Mostly written in his late binary style, the stories in Apricot Jam present a series of striking portraits of Soviet and Russian life across the twentieth century. They span the period from, and the binary device allows Solzhenitsyn to j
...more
Lora
I mostly snagged this so I can say I have read Solzhenitsyn, even if it's not one of his famous publications. These stories are good snapshots of a certain time and place (pre-1950, post-Revolutionary Soviet Union) and while they differ in major details, they are similar in tone. The tone is dismal, somewhat cynical, and angry at the corruption of the country that continued after the fall (and murder) of the Tsar. Nothing changed, except that different people were running things, and poor people ...more
Jim
Written in the years between Solzhenitsyn's return from exile to Russia in 1994, and his death in 2008 this new collection of stories from the Nobel Prize-winning author is available for the first time in English. Mostly written in his late binary style, the stories in Apricot Jam present a series of striking portraits of a Soviet and Russian life across the twentieth century. Through their unforgettable cast of military commanders, imprisoned activists and displaced families, these stories play ...more
Diane
Powerful collection of short stories about ordinary Russians during the Revolution, Soviet times, and post-Soviet period. Solzhenitsyn is a master storyteller, and he develops his characters well, and sheds light on peoples' lives during the Soviet period.
Ralf
this has been rather disappointing. Grueling descriptions of life in the early time of the Soviet Union, but not really interesting as literature. Maybe deliberately so: the title story (maybe the best) thematizes the problems of aesthetization of language in view of actual terror. Still, I think, this does not work as literature. Solzhenitsyn uses what he apparently calls a binary style, which mainly means: all stories have two parts that are sometimes more, sometimes less obviously connected. ...more
Jeanette Glazewski
I decided to read this book out of protest. Usually I jump at chances when people recommend books to me but this one was a bit different. I obtained the author during a vacation and a visit to the local used book store. Upon purchasing some french literature, the owner and I had a healthy discussion on which is better french or Russian literature. We both had our sides and admitted we really haven't given the other side a chance. I recommended my favorite author to her and she did the same. I pu ...more
wally
saw this on the shelf whilst on vacation...this 7-hr layover at o'hare...yippee ki aye...some outfit called 'barbara's bookstore' or close...so...i bought it, began to read somewhere over the midwest, 27,000-feet, on board one of those jets made by canadians...a pu-36 maybe...i forget exactly what jet number it is...but i suspect that that factoid is something someone on the ball would have stored away somewhere...maybe in their little black book of notables.

this is only the 2nd from solzhenitsy
...more
John
This newer collection of short stories is a fascinating view of Russian history through the twentieth century. Solzhenitsyn covers pre-Soviet Russia all the way to the collapse of Soviet Russia. Various characters are situated in different eras, some even with the perspective of history, looking back on the old days.

It is fascinating how he's able to maintain each character's perspective without moralizing. He gives each character their own opinions on communism, various leaders, Marx, and so on
...more
Claire
The main story I liked from this collection is Nastenka, since Anastasia Dmitrievna had such an interesting life.

I particularly adore the cover design, since it implies that duck sauce is radioactive - I mean, that's what apricot jam essentially IS, though that phrase is almost redundant, since essentia is a noun mutation of everyone's favourite sum esse fui futurus... er, that is, except for many English teachers who advise cutting to be verbs altogether, since that forces a student to use its
...more
Benjamin
A lovely collection of short stories from his post-exile years. Perhaps not as consistent as I'd have liked as there are a few bits in there that just seem to be lists of things being made in a factory and the like. However, this is something you come to expect of Russian literature about that era. The title story "Apricot Jam" is wonderful and several of the stories that follow are as moving and devastating as any of his major works.
David´82
Zajímavý výběr povídek z poslední tvůrčí etapy. Většinu (krom jiného samozřejmě) spojuje zajímavý styl "obrácení zrcadla" uprostřed povídek. V některých to funguje více (Meruňková zavařenina), v některých méně (Omladina) a v některých je to pak zbytečné úplně (Nastěnka). Meruňková zavařenina 5/5; Ego 2/5; Na kraji srázu 4/5; Omladina 3/5; Nastěnka 3/5; Adlig Schwenkitten. Novela jednoho dne 4/5
Jessica
The only reason that I'm rating this book so low is not because of the writing, but because of my suky vocabulary. You read the first page, and your brain will explode. Trust me. Otherwise, it would've been quite an interesting book. It has good bits in it (the ones that I understand) but I think I'm more of a fiction, dragon, gut-spilling type of person. >~<
Mark Smiley
I get a little confused by Russian nicknames and am often not sure of whom the author speaks. They were well written tales, mostly of war. It was helpful to see that many people are not as well off as we are and we should be happier in comparison. This was an enlightening book of short stories
Helen
These stories are fantastic. Solzhenitsyn might be a little moralizing for some, but I almost never read short stories that feel this substantial. Reading this book kind of feels like being caught in the whirlwind of Russia's tumultuous history.
Emily
I love Solzhenitsyn and loved this book. I already wrote an extensive review on my book club's website so I'm not going to write much here. I definitely recommend it.
Clare
This was pretty heavy handed in terms of war writing. Well written but perhaps a bit much for me. Full review to follow.
Eadweard
Decent short stories spanning from the revolution and civil war, to post-soviet years.
Emily
Some 5*, some 2*. You knew what you were getting into.
David
Too many of the same er...Russian poor stories.
John
John added it
Mar 27, 2015
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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
More about Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn...
One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich The Gulag Archipelago 1918-1956 Cancer Ward The First Circle The Gulag Archipelago, 1918-1956: An Experiment in Literary Investigation, Books I-II

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