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Sketches of the Criminal World: Further Kolyma Stories

4.58  ·  Rating details ·  45 ratings  ·  14 reviews
This version has the last three volumes of the Kolyma Stories:
IV - Sketches of the Criminal World
V - The Resurrection of the Larch
VI - The Glove, or, Kolyma Stories II

The astonishing follow-up to 2018's Kolyma Stories.

In 1936, Varlam Shalamov, a journalist and writer, was arrested for counterrevolutionary activities and sent to the Soviet Gulag. He survived fifteen years
Paperback, 576 pages
Published January 14th 2020 by The New York Review of Books, Inc
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Jul 19, 2020 rated it it was amazing
What do we know of others’ grief? Nothing. About others’ happiness? Even less. We try to forget even about our own grief, and our memory for grief and misfortune is conscientiously weak. To know how to live is to know how to forget, and nobody knows that so well as the people of Kolyma, the prisoners.
- Varlam Shalamov

Nearly 1,300 pages over two volumes constitute Varlam Shalamov’s testament. Sketches of the Criminal World is the second volume that carries on the mosaic storytelling, established
Guy Salvidge
Jan 24, 2020 rated it it was amazing
The two volumes of Varlam Shalamov's Kolyma Stories published by NYRB represent one of the most important pieces of world literature I've ever had the fortune to lay my hands on. This is the real Gulag Archipelago and Shalamov is its true author, as Solzhenitsyn himself acknowledged. These two volumes are to twentieth century Russian literature what War and Peace was to the nineteenth. If you are even remotely interested in Russian history or the testimony of survivors of a brutal Stalinist apoc ...more
Jul 16, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Many years after the end of the war, in the criminal world, at the bottom of the human sea, the submarine waves of blood still hadn’t been stilled.

Sketches of the Criminal Worldis the second of two volumes composed by former Gulag inmate and survivor, Varlam Shalamov. In this body of work, Shalamov attempts to discern and dissect the criminal underbelly of the Kolyma camps. It was in these camps, where violent criminals and seasoned gangsters were given free rein by the State to endanger the liv
James Murphy
Sep 16, 2020 rated it it was amazing
This is a continuation of Shalamov's Kolyma Stories and even begins where the earlier book breaks off with Book Four, which is made up of stories more generally descriptive of conditions in the camps of the Soviet Gulag than they are stories of narrative and character. They and the more conventional short stories of Books Five and Six that follow are, like Kolyma Stories, relentlessly grim. You enter the world of the work camps and are swallowed up by them. Shalamov knew what he was writing abou ...more
Dec 11, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Mai pătrunzător decât Soljeniţîn, mai tulburător decât Ghinzburg. Înfiorător de lucid.
E. G.
Introduction, by Alissa Valles

Book Four: Sketches of the Criminal World
--What Fiction Writers Get Wrong
--Crooks by Blood
--A Woman from the Criminal World
--The Prison Bread Ration
--The War of the "Bitches"
--Apollo Among the Criminals
--Sergei Yesenin and the World of Thieves
--How "Novels" are "Printed"

Book Five: The Resurrection of the Larch
--The Path
--Hell's Dock
--Two Encounters
--Grishka Logun's Thermometer
--A Roundup
--Brave Eyes
--Marcel Proust
--The Faded Photograph
--The Boss o
Costin Ivan
Principiul vieții, experiența personală contrazic literatura.
„În primul rând trebuie să întorci palmele primite și abia după aceea mila. Să ții minte răul înaintea binelui. Să ții minte tot binele o sută de ani, iar tot răul - două sute. Prin aceste învățături mă deosebesc de toți umaniștii ruși din secolele XIX-XX.”
Miloș Dumbraci
Jun 29, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Cartea reunește mai multe povestiri despre Gulag, toate reale: unele sunt plictisitoare (mai ales primele, strict despre blatari și lumea lor), unele scrise greoi, unele bune și foarte bune, câteva memorabile pe viață.
Șalamov nu are nici pe aproape talentul de scriitor al lui Soljenițîn, dar oferă un tablou mai vast în timp și spațiu, și mult mai variat, pentru că a prins vreo 30 de ani de gulag (față de doar un deceniu la Soljenițân, dacă ”doar” e cuvântul potrivit). De asemenea, oferă o ”faună
Oct 03, 2020 rated it really liked it
Book Four: Sketches of the Criminal World
I found this to initially be the most interesting book in this volume; loved the deeper dive into the Kolyma gangster scene. There is some familiar stuff here but a lot more depth and detail on the gangsters. Shalamov clearly hated the gangsters, deeply. He did not see them as humans, and from his accounts he had reason to make a distinction. Towards the end of book four I was ready for a change of topic: quite dark.

Book Five: The Resurrection of the Larc
Feb 28, 2021 rated it it was amazing
For me this was 4.5 stars. I didn’t enjoy it as much as the first volume, if ‘enjoy’ is the right word. Like the first, it consists of three original books brought together. The first of these, from which the whole book gets its name, is a series of essays about the role and ethos of the criminal classes in the Gulag. This seemed more in the nature of a history of the Gulag, rather than the usual short story Shalamov writes. I got more from the stories than I did from the essays, hence marking t ...more
Derek Shouba
Dec 15, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: gulag-literature
Shalamov’s stories of the gulag are painfully perfect. He is the bard of this well-populated Soviet underworld. This volume is not quite as compelling as the other volume published by NYRB, Kolyma Stories.
Iulian Vasilisca
Jan 01, 2021 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
Takes you into a world that has put humans on their limits
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Varlam Tikhonovich Shalamov (Russian: Варлам Тихонович Шаламов; June 18, 1907–January 17, 1982), baptized as Varlaam, was a Russian writer, journalist, poet and Gulag survivor.

Alternate spellings of his name:
Варлам Шаламов
Varlam Chalamov
Warłam Szałamow
Warlam Schalamow
V. T. Shalamov
וארלאם שאלאמוב
Varlam Sjalamov

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