Kent Frazier's Reviews > One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich

One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich by Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn
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M 50x66
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Jul 10, 2007

it was amazing
bookshelves: fiction, russian
Recommended for: fans of russian literature or history
Read in January, 2007

This semi-autobiographical work is based on the author's times in a Soviet Gulag. It was a very good read. I really liked the fact that Solzhenitsyn set the story during the course of a day like any other. Things happen to Ivan, but none seem like something spectacular or out-of-the-ordinary. In spite of this, the story does not lag, and it keeps the reader's interest. By not making it into an adventure tale or a jail-bust story or something of that kind, he made me feel some of the hopelessness of the situation. It portrays prisoners that are just trying to survive and live life the best they can in adverse conditions. At the same time, it does not come off as despairing or gloomy. It can also be seen as a tale of how people make the best of what they have, no matter what the circumstances. It has a sort of stark honesty that makes it both heartening and depressing at the same time. I look forward to reading more of his works in the future.
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message 1: by Mark (new)

Mark I've read this book as well as Solzhenitsyn's 'Cancer Ward', 'Gulag I' and 'Gulag II'. I read the Gulag's before I read Denisovitch. The Gulag books are horrific, detailing the kind of violence, torture, and all-around evilness that only human beings are capable of. Solzhenitsyn lived this horror and portrays it almost too well in the Gulags. Perhaps, if Denisovitch is read after reading the detailed descriptions of how many Russians were forced to live during the nightmare known as Stalin, then a more full, and unfortunately deeper understanding can be gotten from just what it is to read about one day in the life of Ivan Denisovitch.


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