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My Childhood

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3.93 of 5 stars 3.93  ·  rating details  ·  2,596 ratings  ·  77 reviews
Coloured by poverty and horrifying brutality, Gorky's childhood equipped him to understand - in a way denied to a Tolstoy or a Turgenev - the life of the ordinary Russian. This volume of an autobiographical trilogy, was in part an act of exorcism. It describes a life begun in the raw, remembered with charm and poignancy and without bitterness.
Paperback, penguin twentieth-century classics, 240 pages
Published November 1st 1991 by Penguin (first published 1913)
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C.
The most horrific violence, terrible poverty and degradation is described here, most frighteningly of all, in the indifferent voice of a child. It is terrifying to see how quickly the horror of this reality becomes an accepted, to the point of being almost ignored, part of Alexei's life. Only on two occasions does the voice of the adult Maxim Gorky give us an indication of the true effect of such experiences on a young child.

"...I couldn't believe any longer that all this was in earnest and that
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عائشة عبد الله
أظن أني عشتُ طفولة بائسة، الآن أدركت أن طفولتي أسعد مما كنتُ أظن.
كنتُ أجهل أن هذه سيرة ذاتية للمؤلف، عندما أنهيتها علمت فصُدِمت.
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حياة مزرية عاشها هذا الطفل الصغير، خلت حياته من الرحمة من العلم من كل مايتمتع به الطفل، ولكن ذكاءه كان متوقدا دائما، وجهة نظره المختلفة لكل ماحوله ومن حوله، اعتزازه برأيه، نقده للأشخاص الذين عاش بينهم، أظهرت لنا شخصية مفكرة جميلة.

حديثه عن إله جده وإله جدته والفرق بينهم ذكرني بصديقة لأمي كانت تخاف أن زوجها يبحث عن زوجة أخرى فكانت تكثر الشكوى والإتصال على أمي، فقالت له
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Lona
للأسف لطالما كان البؤس مصدر يلهم الكُتاب لكتابة الروائع الأدبية ولكنها حقيقة أعتقد أن الجميع يعترف بها .. .. يتحدث مكسيم غوركي عن طفولته البائسة بين طيات هذا الكتاب بأسلوب قصصي جميل

كان موت والده وهو صغير سبب ترك والدته له مع جديه ليعيش أصعب سنوات حياته في فقر وبؤس الريف الروسي .. .. والدته التي كانت بالنسبة له غريبة وعندما يتذكرها تكون صورتها المنسوجة في مخيلته صورة امرأة جميلة قوية لا غير .. .. صورة فارغة لم تبعث في نفسه أي إحساس

أما مصدر تلك الأحاسيس الذي أضفت على نفسه الأمنً وغمرته حناناً فهي
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Jenni
If you're looking for a plot of any kind, don't read this book.

With that said, this book celebrates the beauty of nature and at the same time indifferently reveals the often senseless cruelty of humans. Gorky--a celebrated Russian writer--writes autobiographically of his childhood with his Grandfather, Grandmother, and Mother. His mother is an absent figure for most of Gorky's childhood, be it physically or emotionally. His Grandfather is a practical man, stubborn, and violently abusive.

Grandmo
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erica
An extraordinarily poignant account of the author's childhood. Gorky tells his story as if one was his friend who he can divulge his experiences of loss, lament, rage, isolation, mischief... Notwithstanding the cruelty of the beatings inflicted on him, the poverty and squalor of the industrial towns known to him as home, and the overall bestial existence of all he knew, Gorky did not end up wearing an iron-collar that prevented him from looking back. Instead, he climbed high enough to view the t ...more
Chrissie
NO SPOILERS!!!

Magnificent writing!:

I loved listening to those kind words and watching the red and gold fire flickering in the stove and milky white clouds of steam rising over the vats, leaving a dove coloured crust; like hoar frost, on the sloping rafters of the roof , where jagged chinks let through blue patches of sky. The wind died down, the sun came out, and the whole yard seemed sprinkled with ground glass. The screeching of sleighs came from the street, light blue smoke curled up from chi
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Tony
Maybe the five stars I awarded this book are because I am so grateful to it. Let me explain. In my late teens, I deliberately turned my back on "cultural" pursuits, thinking that they would be very boring. Strange, seeing that I was training to be a junior school teacher at the time. I remember the child psychology lecturer recommending certain novels, such as "The Member of the Wedding", "A Death in the Family", "The Lord of the Flies" and this, because they were able to enter so completely int ...more
Jaci
The first in a trilogy that is a classic of Russian literature of the 19th century, Childhood is the autobiographical account of Maxim Gorkii's early life. "When his father died of cholera in 1871, three-year-old Aleksey Peshkov went with his mother to live in the home of his maternal grandfather, Vasily Vasilevich Kashirin, a successful artisan and owner of a dye shop in Nizhny Novgorod." Eventually, the child Aleksey would adopt the pen name of Maxim Gorkii(Gorky) as an adult and contribute to ...more
Joselito Honestly and Brilliantly
What a miserable childhood. Extreme poverty, father dead when he was just four years old, lived with his grandparents, mother married again to a sadistic brute, adults hitting children and husbands beating their wives as a matter of course, his first half brother dying as an infant, his mother dying too most likely of tuberculosis, the sad, sad boy that was Maxim Gorky.


"Long afterwards I came to understand that Russians, as a result of poverty and dullness of their lives, sought diversion in gri
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Andrea
I had to read this autobiographical novel for school when I was no older than 12. I remember at that time the depressive, violent writing made me physically sick. I had just read about the fate of the young man nicknamed Gypsy, and couldn't fall asleep all night, instead uncontrollably shaking and sobbing. Never in my life had I such a strong reaction to any book. I think I wasn't of proper age to really appreciate the literary merits of Gorky's writing. Lately, however, I've been sort of curiou ...more
Alexandra Daw
This is a really extraordinary story and a memoir which makes it even more fascinating. It's easy to read but in many ways the subject matter is disquieting. This slim volume provides a thought-provoking view of ordinary Russian life in the 19th century. One wonders what would have happened to Gorky if his father had lived. Instead he spends most of his childhood with his grandparents: a fierce grandfather and a grandmother who loved life (despite its trials and tribulations) and telling stories ...more
Jan-Maat
"In recalling my childhood I like to picture myself as a beehive to which various simple obscure people brought the honey of their knowledge and thoughts on life, generously enriching my character with their own experience. Often this honey was dirty and bitter, but every scrap of knowledge was honey all the same."

The first of an autobiographical trilogy opens with the young Gorky watching his mother crying over the dead body of his father while she goes into labour and ends some years later wit
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Yani
May 18, 2013 Yani rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: gente que soporta el sufrimiento ajeno con entereza
Shelves: universidad
Terrible relato en donde Maxim Gorki rememora su agitada infancia. Antes de ser el autor que era, fue Alexei, un niño que, tras la muerte del padre, debe ir a vivir a la casa de los abuelos maternos. Después de eso, los hechos que se cuentan son asfixiantes, tanto para el niño como para el lector. Es bastante difícil mantener la sangre fría cuando una tiene que aguantar a los hombres golpeadores y gritones, las mujeres sumisas (la filosofía de vida de la abuela es sencillamente inaguantable), lo ...more
Anoop Chatterjee
Beginning with a queer journey to live with his grandparents to finally leaving the house, the childhood of Maxim has been brought out with great effectiveness. The partial autobiographical work brings out the suffering and hope of contemporary Russia very well.

The childhood of Maxim is greatly influenced by three strong characters, his mother, grandmother and lastly his grandfather. The central influence of his grandmother can also be seen in another writing of Gorky ‘Mother’ which is a story p
...more
Supriya
"The Childhood" is the autobiography of Russian Thinker, Writer and Political Activist Maxim Gorkey. He had written this book after a failed suicide attempt (a bullet wound to his chest). Maxim vividly describes his childhood, his growing up in Russia in late 19th century. The rigid ways he was brought up, coloured by poverty and brutality, the beatings and lashings. The life of his mother after his father dies and the life of common people in general at that time from the eyes of a 10 year old. ...more
Chris
The only thing I really have to compare this to is Tolstoy's series of autobiographical sketches : Childhood, Boyhood, Youth. In that regard, I definitely preferred Gorky's version. Gorky maintains the character of the child throughout, with the exception of a few flashback like reflections. In Tolstoy's version, the character is constantly slipping back and forth between a child and a child making adult-like realizations. It got very tedious and annoying. Also, Gorky is much more concise and le ...more
Rob
Beautifully written but how saddening. A sort of social realism mixed with the great 19th Century novel. It does not have a story as such, it is more a series of recollections. Gorky does not get much of a mention in the Western Canon but he should. The only piece of writing that comes close to the wonder and horror of childhood would be the beginning of 'Great Expectations'. There is none of the mawkish sentiment one gets with Dickens.

The young boy's family is irrationally, horribly violent. Hi
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Efe Karakaş
my childhood is the best autobiography I've ever read. it is a really strong story and shows us how cruel one's life can be. it takes place in a post-war atmosphere, the French versus Russian empire. so simple and easily readable. as I really enjoyed it it left me thinking how can a person's life be so painful, what could it have done to him, how did it effect it in his life? after reading the first part of the biography I can say I surely will continue to Gorky's biography's next part, "mom".
Randy Henson
In the beginning of the story, he's a child at a funeral (his mother's maybe? I read this twenty years ago.) and he's not worried about who's getting buried, he's worried about the frogs stuck in the grave that are trying to get out as dirt is getting thrown in. After you read a bit more you realize the frogs are Gorky's idea of the russian people in general. One of the most powerful passages I've read in fiction. Stuck with me for a long time.
Ajay Gautam
The way Maxim described the events from his childhood is as real as it gets.
You read this book and than you realize that he saw and suffered in his childhood more than we do in a lifetime.

You will always be a inspiration.
Arjun Rawat
Very nice book. Real story of Maxim Gorky
Johann Guenther
GORKI, Maxim: „Meine Kindheit“, Wien 1996
Im kommunistischen System der Sowjetunion kam der Realismus zur Hochblüte. In der Malerei, wo man ähnlich der Fotografie malte und in der Literatur, wo alles detailgenau wiedergegeben wurde. Gorki als Anhänger der Kommunisten erzählt seine Kindheit in unwahrscheinlicher Genauigkeit. Als Leser kann man sich gar nicht vorstellen, dass sich ein älterer Mensch an so viele Details aus seiner Kindheit erinnern kann. So blieb dieses Buch aber eine gute historisc
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Hong
favourite quotes
By Just-Fine, after grandmother's poem; p. 123: "It's wrong to let someone else act as your conscience!"

By grandfather; p. 200: "Learn to wait on yoruself, and never let others make you wait on them. Behave yourself calm and quiet-like, but stick to your chosen path. Listen to everybody, but do what you yourself think best..."

Out sleeping in the garden & watching the stars; "The sun would go down, flooding the sky with rivers of fire, which, in expiring, scattered red-gold as
...more
Louisa
My Childhood is the first part of the moving autobiography of Maxim Gorky. The story of Gorky's life is a unique story, of course, but the trying circumstances reminded me very much of the first chapters of David Copperfield: the floggings, the cruelty of his grandfather, the mother who hardly paid him any attention, the poverty. The descriptions, on the other hand, are very Russian; I could hear the bells of the troika, and feel the cold as he walked to school with his cousin Sascha.

I looked u
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Cagliostro
Το πρώτο πράγμα που σε κερδίζει διαβάζοντας “Τα παιδικά χρόνια” είναι η αμεσότητα και η ζωντάνια της γραφής του Γκόρκι. Αισθάνεσαι ότι βρίσκεσαι κρυμμένος μέσα στο σπίτι του μικρού Αλεξέι και παρακολουθείς την ζωή να εκτυλίσσεται δείχνοντάς του το πιο σκληρό της πρόσωπο. Πρόκειται για ένα αυτοβιογραφικό μυθιστόρημα, το πρώτο της τριλογίας του Γκόρκι (Τα παιδικα χρόνια-Η εφηβεία-Τα πανεπιστήμια μου) στο οποίο διακρίνεται πλέον καθαρά η συγγραφική του ευφυΐα. Το πραγματικό του όνομα είναι Αλεξέι Π ...more
Graham Hettlinger
This is a new translation of Gorky's well-known memoir; many of the reviews and comments below (following that by Jaci) relate to earlier English-language renditions of the work. This (2010) translation seeks to bring Gorky and the other remarkable characters of his childhood more completely to life for English-language readers than previous renditions. It also aims to capture more fully the lyric tales of Akulina Kashirina, which Gorky lovingly preserves in the original, but which have been dee ...more
oiyio
Muhteşem bir gözlem ve anlatıma sahip olan bu kitabı beğenerek okudum. Kağıt toplayarak veya odun çalarak para kazanan Gorki , Rus milletinin Sefalet ile dolu çileli yaşamlarını gözler önüne seriyor. Çocukluğunda farklı insanlarla dost olan ve bu dostlukların hepsinden bir hayat dersi çıkarmış olan Gorki bize kendi dünyasını açıyor. Ölümler ile veya başka nedenler ile yaşadığı yer sürekli değişen bir çocuğun , her seferinde farklı bir ortama adapte olmaya çalışmasına tanık oluyoruz.
Elizabeth
Dec 31, 2010 Elizabeth rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: people who take a licking and keep on ticking
Shelves: 2010
The theme of this book is beatings. Growing up in turn of the century Russia was hard indeed. Beatings, unexpected deaths and the quest for power in the household were constantly being handed out, rising and falling. The scheming done by his uncles alone is monumental. Luckily for Alexi he found an instant friend in his grandmother who keeps things afloat with whimsical stories that instill a poetry in the intelligent boy. For all the violence, he really has this lilt in his voice that's nothing ...more
Z. Taylor
Gorky was a genius as a memoirist. I strongly dislike his fiction, but I LOVE his memoirs. This memoir, plus the other two, form my favorite autobiographies of all time. Gorky and Tolstoy... my two favorite writers.
Alan
I read this book in Russian--and a fairly simple Russian it was, as I recall. This was decades ago, so what I principally recall is
seeing Gorky's hous on Capri! What a shock that this avatar of the simple life, this hero of socialist realism, this denizen of economic
sequestration, actually lived in splendor quite a few years on the Isle of Capri (1906-13, before the Revolution, then again in the 1920s). Wrote one of his best novels there, at his own villa Pierina. A couple years ago, Capri named
...more
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Aleksey Maximovich Peshkov (Russian: Алексе́й Макси́мович Пешков; better known as Maxim Gorky (Russian: Макси́м Го́рький, IPA: [mɐˈksʲim ˈɡorʲkʲɪj]), was a Russian/Soviet author, a founder of the socialist realism literary method and a political activist.

From 1906 to 1913 and from 1921 to 1929 he lived abroad, mostly in Capri, Italy; after his return to the Soviet Union he accepted the cultural po
...more
More about Maxim Gorky...
Mother The Lower Depths My Universities The Collected Short Stories of Maxim Gorky My Apprenticeship

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“When the life is monotonous , even grief is a welcome event...” 6 likes
“In the monotony of everyday existence grief comes as a holiday, and a fire is an entertainment. A scratch embellishes an empty face.” 4 likes
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