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White on Black

3.9 of 5 stars 3.90  ·  rating details  ·  447 ratings  ·  38 reviews
This is an extraordinary personal testament, the story of one boy’s triumph in the face of impossible obstacles. Born with cerebral palsy in Moscow, Ruben Gallego was hidden away in Soviet state institutions by his maternal grandfather, the secretary general of the Spanish Communist Party in the 1960s. His was a boyhood spent in orphanages, hospitals, and old-age homes, a ...more
Paperback, 180 pages
Published January 8th 2007 by Mariner Books (first published January 1st 2002)
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[Qui la prefazione, perché l'autore parla meglio di me, ed io non ho tempo.]
Capita che mi chiedano se quel che scrivo è successo davvero. Se i protagonisti dei miei racconti sono reali.
Rispondo che sì, sono cose vere, personaggi reali; più che reali. Certo, i miei personaggi sono prototipi collettivi dell'infinito caleidoscopio dei miei infiniti orfanotrofi. Ma quel che scrivo è la verità.
L’unica particolarità della mia opera che si discosta, e talvolta contraddice la realtà autentica, è la vi
Falls squarely into the "misery lit" niche.
I do admire the author's courage & empathise with his misfortunes (disclosure: I'm disabled myself), but as a piece of writing, the book is calculated and manipulative. The sentences have to be short & descriptive to work like punches in the gut. It's easy to assault the reader with "the truth of life" in that way, never allowing him to come to his senses.

The ultimate dirty trick is writing "I'm retarded" when the reader's fully aware that you'
Juwairia Sama
یالها من روایة مؤلمة تغرق معها في اعماق السواد (اللون الذي يحبه الكاتب) إلا لأنك ترى شعاع نور بالابيض (اللون الذي يكرهه) فتتمسك بالأمل ، بالحيا ...
Sono un eroe. È facile essere un eroe. Se non hai le braccia o le gambe, o sei un eroe o sei morto. Se non hai i genitori, fa' affidamento su braccia e gambe. E sii un eroe. Se non hai né le braccia né le gambe e hai anche pensato bene di restare solo al mondo, è fatta. Sei condannato a essere un eroe sino alla fine dei tuoi giorni. Io sono un eroe, non ho altra scelta.
Io scrivo del bene, scrivo di vittorie, gioie e amore.

Fino a qualche giorno fa non avevo idea di chi fosse Rubén Gallego. Mi sono incuriosita quando ho letto qualche citazione su Goodreads. Rubén Gallego è uno spagnolo, cresciuto negli orfanotrofi dell'Unione Sovietica, affetto da paralisi cerebrale, non può usare gambe e braccia, ma solo l'indice della mano sinistra. Bianco su nero, più che un'autobiografia, è una raccolta di bozzetti di ispirazione autobiografica. Come dice l'autore nell'intro
بالمتل الدارج بقولو مكره أخاك لا بطل .... والكاتب يقول إنه بطل ....ولكن للحقيقة لم أرَ ذلك ....قد يكون حكما مجحفا وحياته وفق ظروفه صعبة ولكن لو كان مقال أو فلم فالأمر محتمل ولكن كتاب؟!! هو ما أضاف لي أكثر من أن الشوشبرك في روسيا تُطبخ بالماء!!
لو كان لدي دار لرعاية الأطفال أتمنى لو استطعت تعليمهم عدم استغلال وضعهم للضغط العاطفي على من حولهم ...العزة والاعتماد على النفس حتى لو كانت دموعهم تنهمر .... يؤلمني أن أمر في الطريق وأجد أطفال وكبار يتضرعوون بجمل حفظوها عن ظهر قلب لو تفكر فيها المرء لما قال
Дуже важка книжка, але цікава. З мінусів - ламаний сюжет, іноді незрозумілі переходи автора на інші періоди життя головного героя.
This slim memoir packs a whollop. Born the granndson of a Spanish Communist leader, he spent his childhood as an orpahn being shuttled between a variety of children's and old age homes in Russia.. His mother, a student,thought that he had died. How Ruben survived such a childhood of cruelty and neglect and deprivation is incredible. Born with cerebral palsy, he crawls his way outside and to the bathroom. He can only use a few fingers of one hand, yet he grows up, marries, has children and finall ...more
Dominique Jacques
Un témoignage sidérant, au sens littéral du terme. L'impression en lisant ces courts chapitres, sans aucun pathos d'être transformée en statut de pierre, tant l'émotion est forte..qu'il il faille s'en protéger. Un bébé très gravement handicapé, arraché à sa mère est trimballé de foyers, en institutions, en mouroirs dans la Russie soviétique d'avant Brejnev. Là les enfants rampent faute de fauteuils, dépendent pour être (mal) nourris de "nounous" aussi maltraitées qu'eux, vivent dans une solitude ...more
Terrifying, brutal and brilliant document of survival. One of the most visceral testaments to the power of maintaining one's dignity and humanity in the face of hell all done without a drop of sentimentality.
Вся обрыдалась, но оторваться не могла. Прочла на одном дыхании
I think I was confused when I bought this book.
I admire the author for having typed this memoir with the index finger of his left hand. The content, is, of course, very moving and powerful. I am a little confused as to the style of the book. The narrative jumps around a lot from past to present, which does not make it difficult to understand, it only leaves the reader wanting more details. Many life-changing issues and events are discussed by using just a few choice words and phrases. Perhaps that is the author's style, and he doesn't want t ...more
Hanna Rudakouskaya
Nov 10, 2013 Hanna Rudakouskaya rated it 2 of 5 stars
Recommended to Hanna by: Paval Lubiecki
Shelves: autobiography
For me. the book was very hard to read. I understand that it's just the truth, but all I wish is to see the author and ask him questions, more and more questions on how could he survive, came to success. Where did he take strength to live? He doesn't tell it in the book. The book is just a set of sad and even evil stories with deeply mind affecting effect.

Some tips:


Ну, а для посвященных в организованную свыше тайну – особого напряга тоже нет. Ну – умер. Умер – шмумер. Лишь бы был здоро
سيرة ذاتية جميلة ومحزنة يحكي فيه الكاتب جوانب من سيرة حياته وقصة كفاحة للبقاء حياً .. فقد أصُيب روبين في صغره بشلل الأطفال الدماغي مع إعاقة في أطرافه .. عاش في دار للأطفال بدون أن يكون له والدن أو أقرباء تشعر وأن تقرأ سيرته بسخافة معاناتك مقارنة بحياته التي كانت كلها معاناة تتخللها بعض اللحظات الجميلة يقول روبين في بداية كتابه عبارة مؤثرة جداً :

" أنا بطل .. من السهل أن تكون بطلاً .. إذا لم يكن لديك يدان ولا رجلان -أنت بطل أو ميت .. إذا لم يكن لك والدان اعتمد على يديك ورجليك وكن بطلا.. إذا لم يك
Fascinating account of institutional life in Russia, narrated by a young, non ambulatory boy with cerebral palsy. Abandoned by his family, he spent his childhood in various government institutional homes, with rules and hierarchies in a world of their own. This is a tragedy but with humor and hope, and an amazing story of survival and humanity. A world where black is life and white is hopelessness.
Poignant book! I wonder of he could ever get over the traumas of his childhood or his current disabilities....great honesty and tenderness about his friendships with the other boys in the home. Interesting russian " compassion" vs american and the cultural prejudices too.
Ina Reeve
This is an amazing book!
Set in Soviet Union and written by Ruben Gonzalez Gallego., it is a memoire of his childhood in Soviet orphanage, he is separated from his mother, who was forced to leave him after she was told her child was invalid.
Ahmed Ramadan
الأبداع هو أحد الإمكانات للحفاظ على النفس البشرية .. و هذا ما قام به الكاتب للحفاظ على شخصيته الأنسانية وسط ظروف قاسية تعرض لها .. قصة واقعية رغم قسوتها تفتح باب الأمل .. و رغم ما تحفل به من سواد لكنها تؤكد أن سعى الأنسان نحو النجاة ، بل و النجاح وسط ظروف معادية يمكنه أن يذلل أى عقبات مهما كانت شدتها .. رواية غنية و قوية تحفل بمعاناة النفس البشرية لا يعاب عليها سوى الترجمة الحرفية السيئة التى أفقدتها الكثير من رونقها أحياناً
This is truly a stunning tale. Abandoned with cerebral palsy, and left to grow up in children homes scattered across Russia, Ruben Gallego's tale has been one of the most enduring stories I have ever read. This personal statement will really touch you, and show you just how truly blessed some people are, and some are not. The only complaint that I have to offer, is that the biography itself did not really have a developing storyline showing Ruben's growth into manhood and his travels to America ...more
What made me pick up this book was the fact that the author, because he was born with cerebral palsy, types this memoir with the index finger of his left hand. My only complaint is that the story can be confusing because it jumps around from chapter to chapter and never quite gives the complete story of his childhood or adult life. I would have liked to know the why's behind his abandonment and placement in a children's home, as well as the events leading up to his marriages and births of his da ...more
Karina Chitman
It is one of the saddest books I've read. I could only compare it with the books about Holocaust. It makes your intestines churn realizing how cruel and inhuman people can be...
Olga Khramtsova
One of the strongest, touching book I have ever read. Sad but true.,
Ruben Gallego has cerebral palsy and grew up in Soviet-run institutions. He typed his beautifully written memoir using one finger. Broken into shorter pieces, White on Black shows how magic can still exist in a child’s life even in the direst of circumstances.

Gallego evokes sympathy without being trite or needing to be pitied. He is strong, and has overcome many odds to be where and who he is today. This is a powerful memoir of triumph through small things.
I wish I could give this book 4.5 stars. It was better than most of the books I gave 4 stars to, but not quite a 5 star book, which I reserve for books that change my life. This is a wonderfully sweet memoir and gives those of us that whine when we live such privileged lives a kick in the pants. It is well, well worth reading!

Okay, I thought about it and I'm back to give it 5 stars after all. Any book that makes me think this much must be a 5 star book!
زاهي رستم
بدايةَ، الكتاب ليس رواية كما ذكر بل هو مزيج من السيرة الذاتية والقصص القصيرة. وبغض النظر عن إعاقة الكاتب، وظروفه المأساوية كونه اسباني في الاتحاد السوفيتي وزنجي، فكل هذا لا يسمح لي بالتعاطف معه فهو ذو عقل سليم، وهذا جل ما أهتم به. السواد في الكتاب أكبر بكثير من البياض، وبعض القصص مميزة، ولكن السؤال الذي يطرح نفسه، هل كان هذا النقد للاتحاد السوفيتي سيظهر للعلن لو أنه لم ينهار، أو لو أن الكاتب لم يغادر الاتحاد؟؟؟علماًأن تاريخ نشر الكتاب بلغته الأم هو 2005.
Highly autobiographical book by Ruben Gonzalez Gallego. He tells a story of a disabled boy who spends his boyhood in Russian orphanages, hospitals, and old-age homes. It shows how those institutions were causing a life of emotional deprivation and loss of human dignity. But there is no bitterness - only an unfailing regard for the truth.
If the book was written originally in Russian by a Spanish man that grew up in Russia, why is the translation into Spanish done thinking only of a Spain audience? It is very distracting to find expression after expression, even in quotation marks, that are meaningless to a reader who is not from Spain. If the book had been written originally in Spanish, by a Spaniard, that is completely a different thing.
Zbiór wstrząsających zdarzeń z życia autora, które wciągają swą brutalnością.
Nie można nie wspomnieć o ciekawym prowadzeniu narracji. Gallego oprócz rzeczowego relacjonowania wydarzeń przemyca swój własny styl pisania. W odróżnieniu od innych autorów autobiografii przedstawiających jedynie suche fakty, ten ma zamysł artystyczny, co sprawia, że książka jest jeszcze bardziej atrakcyjna.
A personal story of a boy growing up in Moscow with cerebal palsy. He spends his childhood in orphanages, hospitals and homes for the elderly after being hidden away in Soviet state insitutions by his materal grandfather. A touching read that proves people can still triumph despite adversity.
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Ruben Gonzalez Gallego

Рубен Давид Гонсалес Гальего (исп.Rubén David González Gallego, род. 20 сентября 1968, Москва, СССР)— писатель и журналист. В настоящее время живёт в США.
Широко известен как автор автобиографического произведения «Белое на чёрном», удостоенного в 2003 году литературной премии «Букер— Открытая Россия» за лучший роман на русском языке.

Wikipedia: Рубен Гальего

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“Вечером пацаны долго спорили. Никак не могли понять, почему тот парень со сломанной ногой не дрался, ведь у него еще оставались две целые руки, здоровая нога, да и нож в кармане. Странный он, и друг у него странный.” 1 likes
“Я думаю о том, что если дать всем взрослым на земле много водки и колбасы, они будут добрые и все дети будут счастливы.” 1 likes
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