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Generations of Winter (Московская сага #1-2)

4.04  ·  Rating details ·  369 Ratings  ·  26 Reviews
Compared by critics across the country to War and Peace for its memorable characters and sweep, and to Dr. Zhivago for its portrayal of Stalin's Russia, Generations of Winter is the romantic saga of the Gradov family from 1925 to 1945.
Paperback, 608 pages
Published March 21st 1995 by Vintage (first published 1993)
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Anastasia Fitzgerald-Beaumont

Here’s a literary recipe. Take a big book, an epic. Cover a slice of national history, several decades for preference. Introduce a family over three generations. Combine real historical figures with fictitious characters. Season the whole mixture with fleeting moments of happiness and liberal amounts of tragedy. What do you have? You know, surely you know? Yes, of course – you have War and Peace!

Actually on this particular occasion you don’t. What you have Vassily Aksynov’s Generations of Winte
May 23, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2013
This is sort of a companion book to Solzhenitsyn's "Gulag Archipelago." That's quite a comparison to make, especially for a book that has been called a modern "War and Peace." I don't intend for the comparison to put the book into the same league as "Gulag," as they are entirely different sorts of books.

The comparison is meant to draw attention to Solzhenitsyn's focus on the Gulag itself--that is the Soviet prison camps, their history, and their victims. There were glimpses of life outside of t
Anne Sanow
Feb 08, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Comparisons to War and Peace are apt; this family saga doesn't disappoint. Aksyonov manages to capture historical sweep while still creating truly memorable characters. Deserves a much wider readership, I think.

Jan 24, 2012 rated it really liked it
The back cover boasts that this is the best Russian novel since 'War and Peace'. I must dispute this simply because the Russians have produced so many other good novels since then. Nevertheless, this is a grand work.

This is a big sweeping novel, with generations of a Russian family interposed on a backdrop of the turbulent years of the early Russian Revolution all the way up to the mass slaughter of WW2 and fall of 1945, in triumph and fear and exhausted victory. It is something of a cross betwe
Apr 04, 2007 marked it as to-read  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: History buffs
Shelves: books-i-own
It is a huge book, and I believe you have to have some desire to learn about what life was like in Russia during this time period. But if you are one of those people it is a very compelling story about the generational gap between the older generation that predated Communism and the younger generation that knew nothing but communism
Nov 05, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Described (by the critics) as "the 20th Century equivalent of War and Peace" and with "the emotional grandeur of a new Dr. Zhivago", I would say it rests somewhere between Tolstoy and Pasternak. If you enjoyed either of the aforementioned books, you will enjoy this one as well; if you did not, you will not enjoy this book. I gave it 5 stars. I enjoyed all of it; even the reincarnated animals and talking plants. My only two complaints are that it did not possess the power of the end of War and Pe ...more
Feb 15, 2008 rated it it was amazing
A sweeping Russian novel that takes a look at the "Gradov" family from the Revolution through WWII. One does not even need an extensive knowledge of Russian history to appreciate the story and learn about the complex characteristics of war and revolution.
Jill Cordry
Mar 24, 2013 rated it it was amazing
When I lived in Moscow the first time, in the mid-1990s, I lived on Syerebyani Bor, Silver Grove in English. It was an area very much like the house where most of this lovely novel take place, endearing the book to me.
Mar 09, 2015 rated it really liked it
I had read "Generations of Winter" in the 90's close to when it came out. Many scenes from this book remained with me. Now I've read it the second time and enjoyed it again. I think its weakness is the use of the "saga format", and its strength is the environment of the story. But I also think it is interesting to think about it in terms of Russian literature generally - although I admit I am a little tentative on this front and fear I am being over-creative.

"Generations of Winter" is a saga abo
Fred Dameron
Feb 05, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: owned
Many reviews compare Generations to War and Peace and yes they both follow a family over many years that's where comparison ends.

Tolstoy spent his entire life looking for the Russian soul or what made Russia uniquely Russian. This search is epitomized when Natasha jumps up and dances at Uncles. The spontaneity of the dance is the expression of Russia's soul that Tolstoy was looking for. Tolstoy was also, unapologetically, a Monarchist. During his early work, Sevastopol tales for instance, Tolst
Gijs Grob
Groots opgezette en even gedetailleerd als fragmentarisch geschreven roman over een gezin in de Stalinistische Sovjet-Unie (1925-1953). De roman beschrijft zowat alle aspecten van het totalitaire regime van die tijd (de grote terreur, de gevangenkampen, de executies, de Tsjeka, de oorlog enz.) en bevat naast het fictieve gezin Gradov ook een aantal historische personages (o.a. Stalin, Beria, Zjoekov, Molotov).

De praktisch altijd zeer interessante verwikkelingen rond de "goede" Gradovs worden afg
Feb 20, 2010 added it
Shelves: gave-up
Although I suppose I already knew this, it becomes very clear while reading this book that the communist regime did not only promote the proletariat, it obliterated, as best it could, the intelligentsia. In doing so it eliminated those whose work was of the highest caliber, who were masters and virtuosos of their art, whatever that art happened to be. What a great loss for Russia.
I didn't finish. It was too bogged down, too many names, too dismal, and my life is too short. I have, however, put i
does this novel get better ? i'm giving it the ol' college try but it's not War and Peace, which i loved. help!!!!
well, this novel did not get better. i struggled to get to book deux, and then struggled's truly awful. would not recommend. It's nothing at all like Tolstoy, i can't imagine why anyone thought it was. No character development, which someone else mentioned, except for the dog.
if you really want to know what happened during those years, it is best to read actual accounts.
Mar 11, 2010 rated it really liked it
Thought it was very good. The edition I read is volume I and II and the third volume was published in translation as The Winter Hero. I haven't found a copy yet but have read that it isn't as good - perhaps because of the translation but also perhaps the original writing suffered toward the end of the massive work. Has anyone read the third volume?
Emma Richler
Jan 13, 2016 rated it liked it
This is the second of two very long epic novels with war as a backdrop that are described breathlessly as the new 'War and Peace'. Both novels are Russian. Both are written by men named Vasily (Grossman and Aksyonov). Both are important as well as remarkable in patches. Neither are as accomplished as Tolstoy.
Dec 16, 2014 rated it liked it
It doesn't usually take me a whole month to read a book, but my delay was more due to an unusually busy life than to a boring book. That said, this book was interesting, but it didn't draw me in like, for example, "The Winds of War." I think it's fair to say that this book is a Russian "The Winds of War," but not quite as good.
Nov 11, 2013 rated it really liked it
Quite the long saga, but soapy enough if you're looking for a long book that will last you through a few long-haul flights. I read most of this while in Moscow, so it was fun to be able to have a sense of place while reading the book.
Nov 23, 2013 rated it liked it
Shelves: not-finished
unless you are part of the Eastern European culture, the book is a bit dry (at least to me and I am German born and raised). I will give it another chance once I have read the rest of the waiting books on my shelf.
Jun 18, 2012 rated it did not like it
I was able to watch 6 parts of he TV series and read a couple pages of the book. I know most reviews point to the contrary but I just wasn't drawn in... Too little character development, and it's almost obvious what will happen... Maybe later, maybe another time...
Jun 26, 2008 rated it really liked it
It's been taking me generations to get through it.
Apr 20, 2013 rated it really liked it
Well-written, with great depth and character development. I enjoyed the chance to take a hard look at the Soviet Union from the early days up to the end of WWII.
Vassily Aksyonov writes in the tradition of Tolstoy and Dostoevsky. Try Generations of Winter an epic tale that examines a turbulent period of Russian history in the early 20th century.
Michael McNicholas
Jul 19, 2008 rated it it was amazing
epic novel, three generations of a moscowvite family tries to survive under Stalin
Jul 13, 2010 rated it it was amazing
The best novel I've read in years. Pick it up.
Sabine Webb
Nov 27, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Exceptional author, new favorite. History came to live with the Gradovs
rated it it was ok
Apr 25, 2017
Jovany Agathe
rated it it was ok
Nov 30, 2016
Kott Cheshirych
rated it it was amazing
Nov 18, 2016
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Jul 30, 2011
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Vasily Pavlovich Aksyonov (Russian: Василий Павлович Аксёнов) was a Soviet and Russian novelist. He is known in the West as the author of The Burn (Ожог, Ozhog, from 1975) and Generations of Winter (Московская сага, Moskovskaya Saga, from 1992), a family saga depicting three generations of the Gradov family between 1925 and 1953. ...more
More about Vasily Aksyonov...

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