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We Never Make Mistakes: Two Short Novels
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We Never Make Mistakes: Two Short Novels

3.89  ·  Rating Details ·  367 Ratings  ·  32 Reviews
In "An Incident at Krechetovka Station," a Red Army lieutenant is confronted by a disturbing straggler soldier and must decide what to do with him. "Matryona's House" is the tale of an old peasant woman, whose tenacious struggle against cold, hunger, and greedy relatives is described by a young man who only understands her after her death.
Paperback, 144 pages
Published April 17th 2004 by W. W. Norton & Company (first published January 1st 1971)
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HELLO is this the dispatcher?
Who is this, Dyachikin?
Don't give me UH, I'm asking you, is this Dyachikhin.

The old man smacked his thick pale lips and didn't answer right away - his words never came right away. It was as if they arrived limping on crutches from wherever they were born.
Tina Tamman
Apr 29, 2016 Tina Tamman rated it really liked it
I am still surprised that Solzhenitsyn was such a good writer.
Of these two short novellas I particularly liked the first which out of very unpromising material weaves an elegant and moving story about the confused state of mind likely to have existed here and there in the Soviet Union in 1941. The country had been drawn into war and the novella sucessfully and interestingly dissects the thoughts of just one young man. However, through his work and circumstances we learn so much about confusion
Jan 04, 2009 Shane rated it really liked it
A gem of a book that I found in a second hand bookstore. These were early stories before Solzhenitsyn became (in)famous with his later publications that landed him in jail. He captures the cold, greed, gridlock of Soviet-era bureacracy and the struggle for survival amidst deminished resources with dexterity. I had difficulty with some of his dialogue, as he refused to identify who was speaking (even when there were more than two people in the scene) and one had to make some intelligent guesses - ...more
Juan Hidalgo
Apr 11, 2013 Juan Hidalgo rated it it was amazing
Soy un fan incondicional de solzhenitsyn, aunque este no es uno de sus mejores libros sí está muy en su línea habitual.
Becca Loo
Jul 24, 2011 Becca Loo rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
first of all, one of the most bad ass titles everrr. the first story, "an incident at kerchetovka station" follows lieutenant zotov. the short novel is only 60 pages and not very eventful. we meet zotov in october performing his rather mundane task of overseeing certain trains through the station. it's obvious we're in russia during wartimes against germany. as a lieutenant he's not supposed to know too much about which trains go where and which echelons do what. late one night 4 soldiers are se ...more
Alejandro Teruel
Dec 04, 2014 Alejandro Teruel rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: usb, ficción
The two novellas which make up this book were originally published in 1963, just after his highly acclaimed One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich (1962), which was one of the first fictional accounts about the repressive stalinist regime allowed publication in the Soviet Union. It is interesting to see how both novellas prefigure some of his later work.

An Incident at Krechetova Station, while set during the second world war recalls the later August 1914. Its graphic but quiet depiction of the l
Oct 09, 2013 Azzageddi rated it really liked it
Shelves: russian, 20th-century
This book contains two stories.

The first, "An Incident at Krechetovka Station," is a story (or vignette, really) concerning an apparatchik-type lieutenant, Zotov, whose paranoid fear of non-Communists leads him to almost certainly doom a man to a terrible fate. The action takes place in the space of one night, though it is frequently punctuated by the memories of Zotov, which serve to fill in the backstory and give context. He is an overzealous Party man, but not entirely unsympathetic; just mis
Apr 09, 2014 Lauren rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Contrary to what one might expect, I actually read "Matryona's House" for a History course, rather than a literature one. As a fan of Russian Literature, I've been meaning to read Solzhenitsyn for quite a long time now ("A Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovitch" is sitting in my to-read pile, waiting for summer when I have free time). Overall, I found "Matryona's House" a worthwhile read, which manages to say a lot in its few pages. Though I usually prefer writers who employ a bit more description ...more
Kit Masters
Feb 23, 2013 Kit Masters rated it really liked it
Enjoyed this book no end.
Would recommend it to anyone who enjoys Russian literature or has enjoyed "A day in the life ...".
As these are nice and short they may be a good taster of Solzhenitsyn before tackling "June 1914" "Cancer Ward," or "the Gulag Archipelago."

Joseph Sverker
First of all I must be honest and say that I absolutely adore Solzhenitsyn. If I had to make a list I would probably have to put him among the absolute greatest authors of the 20th century, the likes of Proust and Joyce. What I find impressive with S. is that he manages the very large formate as well as the shorter one, something which I find Dostojevski lacking in a little bit. Dostojevski is not quite able to master the short stories to my mind. However, these to long short stories, or novella ...more
This book consists of two “short novels”. “An Incident at Krechetovka Station” takes place in Russia during World War II. It focuses on the character Zotov, who works at a railway station. There are all kinds of comings and goings at the train station during the war. The second story, “Matryona’s House”, is told from the point of view of a renter living with a peasant woman, Matryona.

It wasn’t too difficult to read, but for some reason, my mind drifted as I read chunks of it. Overall, it was o.k
Apr 23, 2012 Stephen rated it really liked it
Bleak, dismal and colorless - war torn or forlorn and abandoned. The world so many left wing Americans yearn for is actually hell. Great little stories that should scare the living crap for the US - virtues in so-called utopia revolve around what you can scrounge from relatives - there is no compassion and no ability to overcome the system to bring some humanity to the world. Indeed, humanity has disappeared and all that is left is animals - poorly fed and tended to animals.
Sep 29, 2011 Cal rated it liked it
Hmm.. maybe something was lost in translation.. I had a really hard time staying focused, particularly on the first story. My brain seemed to prefer to think about anything else. I'm sure there was a good story in there, but I missed it. The second one was easier to follow but also didn't impact me much.
Aug 27, 2008 Stephanie rated it it was amazing
I purchased this book on August 3, 2008. When I came home from the book store I learned that Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn had died a few hours earlier in Moscow. He was an amazing author who's work has had a profound effect on my way of thinking and viewing the world. I will continue to read and re-read Solzhenitsyn for the rest of my life I'm sure.
Apr 01, 2013 S rated it really liked it
Loved it for its simpleness in its depiction of the "everyday" common life. The honesty of the emotions, reactions and thoughts of the characters make it a realistic portrayal of people we encounter on a daily basis.
Heidi Petterson
Apr 11, 2011 Heidi Petterson rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
This was the first Solzhenitsyn I ever read. I checked it out of the library on a "whim" (haha) and enjoyed it thoroughly. It is the reason I kept reading his books and therefore, helped me discover one of my favourite authors. He is just so readable yet relevant at the same time.
Jerry Pogan
Dec 01, 2016 Jerry Pogan rated it really liked it
A short book with two short stories. Good read, nobody captures the underbelly of the old Soviet Union like Solzhenisyn.
Oct 08, 2008 Susan rated it it was ok
I liked Mr. Solzhenitsyn's novel, A Day in the Life of Alex Whatshisname, a lot better. I only read the first of the two short novels.
Dan Weiss
Dec 24, 2014 Dan Weiss rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Not as in-depth and detailed and Gulag, not as fast paced as One Day, but still a moving and necessary part of his corpus.
Jan 11, 2012 Temple rated it it was amazing
This book is a classic... along the lines of "Red Badge of Courage"...a simple story with a profound message, well worth the read.
Amy Wolf
Jan 15, 2013 Amy Wolf rated it really liked it
Solzhenitsyn's short works are just as brilliant as his longer ones. He really captures the feel of a Russian village & the misery of life under Stalin.
I registered a book at!
Ashley rated it liked it
Oct 10, 2009
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Fred Putnam
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Jul 24, 2011
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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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