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Apricot Jam: And Other Stories

3.66  ·  Rating Details ·  225 Ratings  ·  36 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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Dec 28, 2014 Zanna rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: politics, russia
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
Aug 27, 2012 NyiNya rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
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
Aug 23, 2014 Shane rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Feb 08, 2012 Sooz rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Dec 03, 2011 Hadrian rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
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
Philip Larmett
Oct 30, 2013 Philip Larmett rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: russia
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
Apr 01, 2012 Jim rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
May 13, 2012 Cat. rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Jul 17, 2014 Ralf rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
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
Mar 16, 2015 Diane rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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.

Anyone who is not knowledgeable on the changing politics of early 20th century Russia may not find many of these stories very interesting.
Sep 09, 2012 wally rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: solzhenitsyn
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 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
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
Mar 14, 2013 John rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2013
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
2.5 stars. The first four stories are brilliant and show off the value of Solzhenitsyn and his ability to accurately depict the horrors of life under the soviet regime. The rest of the tales, unfortunately, mostly drag down this collection of stories. I honestly skipped the WW2 tales in the middle after reading "Adlig Schwenkitten" since they were pretty much all military strategy (don't care), army workings, and depictions of individuals' thoughts on the horrors of war (types of stories that I ...more
Pete daPixie
Just dipping the toes into 'Ruskie' fiction. Like 'greatest hits' or 'best of' albums, these short story collections are a good introduction to an author's storytelling. (Perhaps not the best analogy, Aleksandr did not think too highly of Western pop culture.)
Perhaps these nine short stories may not be the best of Solzhenitsyn, even so I certainly was not put off further exploration of his work. Published recently, in 2011, just a few years after his death, with translation into English by his s
Jan 23, 2015 Claire rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Aug 11, 2012 Benjamin rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction
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.
Jan 06, 2013 DaViD´82 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
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
Jul 08, 2012 Helen rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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.
Marie Bouteille
May 25, 2015 Marie Bouteille rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Très bien écrit et très intéressant sur la plongée dans l'ère soviétique puis sa chute. Même la nouvelle Adlig Schwenkitten avec beaucoup de stratégie militaire qui me faisait peur au début mais Soljenitsyne a su construire du suspens et l'histoire devient prenante.
Aug 12, 2016 Steve rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A good collection of short stories. Not great, like the novel "One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich", which I read many years ago and remember well, but good and worth the read.
Oct 02, 2012 Clare rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
This was pretty heavy handed in terms of war writing. Well written but perhaps a bit much for me. Full review to follow.
Jun 17, 2016 Justin rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I'm not a fan of short stories, but some of these stories are brave, visceral and so unique that they should be treasured. Solzhenitsyn was an incredible author and rightly revered and acclaimed.
Dec 13, 2011 Emily rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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.
Alexandra rated it it was amazing
May 11, 2016
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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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