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One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich

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3.94  ·  Rating Details  ·  65,518 Ratings  ·  2,489 Reviews
Solzhenitsyn's first book, this economical, relentless novel is one of the most forceful artistic indictments of political oppression in the Stalin-era Soviet Union. The simply told story of a typical, grueling day of the titular character's life in a labor camp in Siberia, is a modern classic of Russian literature and quickly cemented Solzhenitsyn's international reputati ...more
Mass Market Paperback, 203 pages
Published 1990 by Bantam Classics (first published 1962)
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Tytti It's set in a forced labour camp, millions of people died in camps like that, many were tortured. Does it really matter if it has sex or "language" in…moreIt's set in a forced labour camp, millions of people died in camps like that, many were tortured. Does it really matter if it has sex or "language" in it?(less)
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TK421
Apr 02, 2011 TK421 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: literary
Dear Mr. Solzhenitsyn,

I am not a Russian scholar, not even in the armchair variety. But you have done something magical in ONE DAY IN THE LIFE OF IVAN DENISOVICH that eclipsed this reader's ignorance: you have transmuted what it was like to live a life day-in and day-out in much the same fashion. Think about it: Morning, the same as yesterday. Afternoon: the same as yesterday's afternoon. The night: yep, the same. And this made me yearn for a day when Ivan would awaken and see that it would be d
...more
karen
it's all about perspective.

yeah, ivan denisovich shukov is in a soviet labor camp, where he is freezing and has to work at bullshit tasks and is being punished for something he didn't even get to do (because being a spy is cool, while being punished for being a spy when you didn't even get to have the fun of being a spy is lame), and it's all terrible with no end in sight, but come on.

he got to sleep late. his punishment for oversleeping is he had to wash some floors - indoors - instead of work
...more
Brad
I want to appreciate life the way Ivan Denisovich Shukov does.

I want to take pride in my work; I want to taste every bite of sausage, suck the marrow out of every fish bone, enjoy every puff of every cigarette, bask in a sunset, watch the moon cross the sky, fall asleep content; I want to focus on the necessities of living; I want to focus on life, but I have too much. It's not much compared to most everyone I know, but it is still too much.

And because it is too much I can't appreciate life the
...more
Anna
Jun 13, 2008 Anna rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: novels
My copy of the 1963 novel that won Alexander Solzhenitsyn the Nobel Prize is thirty-six years old, and it looks it--not just because it is dog-eared and the pages tinged yellow, but because the jacket copy is thick with Cold War fever.

This copy, for example, is "THE COMPLETE, UNEXPURGATED TRANSLATION BY RONALD HINGLEY AND MAX HAYWARD." One Day is "A SHATTERING PORTRAIT OF LIFE INSIDE STALINIST RUSSA.' It is also:

"the terrifying story of an almost unbelievable man-made hell--the Soviet work cam
...more
mai ahmd
Apr 09, 2015 mai ahmd rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
يذكرك هذا الكتاب بأن أرواح الشر لا تتجسد إلا في شكل بشري !

أتسائل هل فعلا أحداث الرواية جرت في يوم واحد .. كان يوما طويلا جدا على إيفان بلاشك .. احسب إننا كقراء شعرنا به وكأنه دهرا لما في اليوم من أعباء رهيبة على السجين أن يحتملها فمابالك بمن عاشها فعلا ولفترة طويلة من الوقت !

الرواية ملحمة الحياة اليومية القاسية التي أعدتها روسيا لمعارضيها في معسكرات العمل في سيبيريا تتقاطع مع يوميات دستوفسكي ذكريات في بيت الموتى لكنها تختلف كلية في طريقة السرد وتبتعد عن الدخول في سريرة السجناء والسجانين ونفسياته
...more
Diane
Apr 12, 2014 Diane rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
"The degree of civilization in a society can be judged by entering its prisons." -- Fyodor Dostoevsky

This book was a good way to take my mind off of my own problems. Reading about the grueling conditions of a Soviet gulag made my daily worries seem trivial.

The novel is set in Stalin's Russia of the 1950s and follows the prisoner Shukhov from the moment he wakes up at 5 a.m. to when he finally goes to bed after laboring all day. Shukhov was sentenced to 10 years of hard labor, even though he was
...more
Lyn
May 01, 2016 Lyn rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Totalitarian communism could produce some harsh results.

Such is the succinct message sent by Soviet writer Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn in his 1962 publication One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich. First published in the Soviet journal Novy Mir, and then later translated into many, many languages including English, Solzhenitsyn uses severe realism to describe conditions in a Soviet political prisoner camp.

Literally telling a twenty-four hour period in the life of the camp, we follow various characte
...more
Eric
Oct 01, 2007 Eric rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: those who like Russian Literature.
Shelves: modern
I hadn't noticed how much this book had affected me until I sat down to dinner. Bear with me. One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovitch is a fascinating story in light of its historical context. While reading the book I had a hard time reminding myself that this story didn't take place in some nineteenth century prison, but in the nineteen fifties. The life that these men live is hard, grueling, and for that Ivan describes his day as a good one. One in three thousand six hundred and fifty three da ...more
Riku Sayuj
Oct 16, 2014 Riku Sayuj rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: nobel-winners

Single Quote Review:

Macbeth’s self-justifications were feeble—and his conscience devoured him. Yes, even Iago was a little lamb too. The imagination and the spiritual strength of Shakespeare’s evildoers stopped short at a dozen corpses. Because they had no ideology.
Paul Bryant
Jun 29, 2012 Paul Bryant rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: novels
this was like the last couple of holidays i have been forced to go on with my family. they make you do all this crap and then they make you pretend you are having a good time doing it as if just doing it is not enough for them you have to keep saying you are having a good time and grinning like a babboon. so i could see where the guy in this book was coming from. but that didnt make it suck less. they made me go in a zoo which is gross the animals are not really like on tv and some of them resen ...more
Connie
During the Stalin regime, people were sentenced to hard labor for the flimsiest reasons. I wondered why the author focused on just one single day in a grim labor camp since the prisoners usually had long imprisonments of eight to twenty years. Ivan Denisovich Shukhov is in his eighth year of a ten year sentence. Conditions are horrible with inadequate food, warm clothes, and heat in frigid conditions. But he cannot think of the future because his prison term could be extended if the authorities ...more
Edward
Foreword

--One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich
Jan-Maat
Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn had two huge strokes of luck with One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich.

Firstly Khrushchev allowed its publication in the journal Novy Mir. This is something that should make readers cautious. It was the first story published in the Soviet Union set in the Gulag system, it wasn't a a searing indictment of the soviet system it was something that was considered fit for publication in the context of a society which was making tentative steps into de-Stalinisation.

Secondly i
...more
Fahad
Jun 16, 2016 Fahad rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction, favorites
يوم في حياة إيفان دينيسوفيتش

هذا أحد الكتب الرهيبة، ربما لا يفوقه رهبة إلا كتاب المؤلف الآخر (أرخبيل الغولاغ)، وكلا الكتابين يتناولان تجربة الاعتقال الرهيبة في الاتحاد السوفييتي، تلك المعتقلات التي لا يعود منها أحد، والتي ابتلعت ملايين الناس خلال تلكم السنوات المؤلمة.

الفارق ما بين الكتابين هو أن هذا الكتاب عبارة عن رواية تصور يوماً واحداً من أيام إيفان دينيسوفيتش شوخوف، أحد هؤلاء المنكوبين الذين قادهم حظهم العاثر إلى الغولاغ، كيف سيكون هذا اليوم الغولاغي، هذا ما سنعود له لاحقاً، الكتاب الثاني خ
...more
Sidharth Vardhan
"“Can a man who's warm understand one who's freezing?”


What I have to say might spoil the book. And so here are two quotes from two other Nobel laureates, the first describes the book well enough and the second is in case you feel depressed after on condition of humanity after reading it:

Writer " cannot put himself today in the service of those who make history; he is at the service of those who suffer it."
-Albert Camus

“You can cut all the flowers but you cannot keep Spring from coming.”
― Pa
...more
Shovelmonkey1
Literary brilliance captured in one book, in one day and one man's story. Evocative descriptions of a days toil in the frozen wastes of a Siberian labour camp where unthinkable hardships are subtly diminished by the joy and the triumph of surviving another day. Precise, cold, crisp, bitter and hardened like the tundra upon which the writer stood as he scribed this story. Well deserving of its place on the 1001 books to read before you die list. If you read one book from the list this year, make ...more
Bushra
= ربما المراجعة تكشف بعض أحداث الرواية..
رواية خانقة بكل معنى الكلمة.. هناك ربما المئات من قصص السجون.. بعضها متشابهة في مغزاها أو فكرتها..
لكن هنا لا يوجد ضرب ودماء وتفنن في التعذيب..
لا يوجد اغراق في وصف حزن البطل ونفسيته..
لا يوجد ذكريات أو ذكر لظروف البطل خارج السجن أو قصة عائلته..
لا يوجد ذكر لقضيته أو ربما تم ذكرها لكن نسيتها لقلة التركيز عليها..
لا يوجد مشاكل بين المعتقلين بل ان علاقتهم تميل الى التعاون والاتفاق..
وحتى انك لا تشعر بعداوة حقيقية حتى بين المعتقلين والسجانين..
وكأن الكاتب -وهو الخبي
...more
Mariel
Aug 27, 2011 Mariel rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: don't get your honey where you make your money
Recommended to Mariel by: penguins
Alexandr Solzhenitsyn's novel is over wrought like a fence. (It would have to be a barbed wire fence guarded by guards with hard-ons for injustice and big drooling trained guard doggies. One inmate stuck his tongue to the frozen pole on a dare and another can't get his head out because there is no butter.)

Heaven exists in the gulag in the shape of snow angels. Arms flapping hopelessly in the snow shapes of angels. We'll lay side by side and look up at the frost cracks in the ceiling tracing the
...more
Brad
Jul 31, 2011 Brad rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I'm slowly getting sucked into the world of audiobooks and loving them more and more, but I nearly abandoned this one. I am glad I didn't, though.

This Blackstone edition suffers from one of the most painful voices I have ever heard -- some guy named Richard Brown. He has a nasally, whiny, smoke-too-much voice that grates the ears the way skin grates when a thumb slips off a carrot and gets shredded. He makes no attempt to offer performance of any sort, opting instead for straight reading. No var
...more
K.D. Absolutely
I have read so many novels with concentration camps as setting so this classic and controversial book just did not really have much impact to me. In fact, this day in the life of Ivan Denisovich is comparable to just another day in the life of K.D. Absolutely.

You see, there are days when K.D. Absolutely is sick but he has to go to the office because he needs to work for his family. He is the breadwinner because his wife has already retired after 20 plus years of working trying to augment what in
...more
Aubrey
4.5/5

Ivan 'Shukhov' Denisovich, I ask. How do you function?

You have spent eight years in a total of two prison camps, consigned to backbreaking amounts of work in some of the worst environments known to man.
If it went down to forty-two below zero they weren't supposed to be marched out to work.
Ivan! What could you have possibly done to deserve such a fate? Ah, that's right. You were a POW in WWII, so obviously you collaborated with the Germans as a spy. So you were sentenced to ten years in p
...more
Francisco
Jul 14, 2015 Francisco rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Ivan Denisovich Shukhov, the rascal, somehow he is now as real to me as my own flesh. How did he manage that? How could this most ordinary of lives light up my days should I ever find myself in darkness? You would think a story that takes place in the Stalin labor camps would wrench your heart with sympathy. And truly, I can't imagine going through a day like the eight year's worth of days that Ivan has so far undergone. But, why do I feel something more like joy than pity every time I read this ...more
Andrew Smith
Feb 05, 2015 Andrew Smith rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I read this short book when I was at school. I can't recall what prompted me to do so - perhaps a teacher or maybe I heard someone talking about it. It certainly wasn't on the school curriculum. I do know that it made a great impression on me. I told everyone who would listen about this amazing tale, based around real life events. I think I probably even lectured a few people on how lucky they (we!) were.

Following one day (naturally enough) in the life of a prisoner in a Siberian prison camp, my
...more
João Fernandes
Sep 03, 2015 João Fernandes rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: nobel, favorites
"Can a man who's warm understand one who's freezing?"

One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich is a fascinating firsthand account of life in the Gulags (labour camps) under the Stalinist regime.

Solzhenitsyn, winner of the 1970 Nobel Prize for Literature, was arrested for eight years in a gulag for criticising Stalin in a letter. Eight years in forced labour and horrible conditions for a simple thought.

Ivan Denisovich is therefore a retelling of the horrors experienced by Solzhenitsyn. We follow I
...more
Zanna
Dec 03, 2015 Zanna rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
First read in 2007

On second reading I realised that this book is very strange, especially right after Nothing to Envy. Shukov's life sounds quite pleasant after the privations of North Korea described by Demick, even though he lives in fear of many deaths, fast and slow, including starvation.

Why strange? Is is so strange that Solzhenitsyn chooses an ordinary soldier, a labourer who chats to the reader, rather than an intellectual artist to tell his tale? Is it so strange than carceral lives have
...more
Nelson Zagalo
Feb 28, 2016 Nelson Zagalo rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: nobel, literary_canon
Impressionante como um relato de uma realidade dos anos 1950, pode parecer um ou dois séculos mais antigo, quando aquilo que se tem para descrever está despojado de quase todos os elementos de modernidade que a industrialização nos foi trazendo ao longo do século XX. Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn estava ele próprio encarcerado num GULAG (Administração Geral dos Campos de Trabalho Correção e Colónias) quando começou a escrever este livro, no qual dá conta da vida aí passada. Não sendo documental mas fic ...more
Madeline
Nov 16, 2011 Madeline rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: the-list
The biggest thing I took away from this book was the decision that I will never, ever complain about how cold it is again. I thought I was desensitized to cold weather, being a Midwesterner, but then Solzhenitsyn came along and said, "Oh, you think you know cold? Bitch, in Soviet Russia, cold snaps you!" (sorry, like twenty of those jokes occurred to me while reading this and I couldn't resist) Seriously though, in this book, fourteen below qualifies as "not so bad."

The book delivers exactly wh
...more
Judith
Nov 21, 2008 Judith rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
It seems mean-spirited and unkind to complain about a book of this nature: I know the author suffered greatly in the Siberian work camp prison, which is the subject of this Nobel prize winning book. I do sympathize but this book is boring and tedious. One day in one prisoner's life---that's the story. The subject matter is a fascinating one, but even his fame and significance couldn't rescue this book for me. zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz!
Kristen
Apr 21, 2013 Kristen rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: own, the-russians
This book reminds me of my own life, the constant rationing of weed like jailhouse smokes, and how Shukhov would hold onto those few precious minutes each day that he could call his own, just like when I'm sitting in my car before work listening to the last song on the radio before I have to walk in the door, not that my life is just like a Russian gulag, but close.
Jeremy
Jul 17, 2008 Jeremy rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: People appreciative of underrated works of genius
Recommended to Jeremy by: My sister and Erik
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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...

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“The belly is an ungrateful wretch, it never remembers past favors, it always wants more tomorrow.” 1225 likes
“When you're cold, don't expect sympathy from someone who's warm.” 193 likes
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