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Life and Fate

(Stalingrad #2)

4.44  ·  Rating details ·  8,029 ratings  ·  931 reviews
Life and Fate is an epic tale of a country told through the fate of a single family, the Shaposhnikovs. As the battle of Stalingrad looms, Grossman's characters must work out their destinies in a world torn apart by ideological tyranny and war.

Completed in 1960 and then confiscated by the KGB, this sweeping panorama of Soviet society remained unpublished until it was smug
Paperback, 864 pages
Published October 5th 2006 by Vintage Classics (first published 1960)
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Robert I agree entirely with James. I read the book as a stand alone and was very captivated by it. After talking with some folks about the book. The charect…moreI agree entirely with James. I read the book as a stand alone and was very captivated by it. After talking with some folks about the book. The charecters althou having the same name do have very different mannerisms when comparing the books. After Stalins death, Grossman was not afraid to feel free to be honest about the Stalinist State in Life and Fate. While in his previous books he felt pressured by the state underwhich he wrote his novels.(less)
Hendrik Mentz Possibly it was part of the BBC Radio 4 series that ran in 2011, accessible via Amazon as: 'Life and Fate: The Complete Series (Dramatised) Audio Down…morePossibly it was part of the BBC Radio 4 series that ran in 2011, accessible via Amazon as: 'Life and Fate: The Complete Series (Dramatised) Audio Download – Original recording' >> | Hopefully the URL I copy and pasted displayed and/or is alive.(less)

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May 21, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Michael by: William Beavers
I have to use the “M” word for this panoramic portrayal of the Soviet experience of World War 2—masterpiece. I was moved and uplifted, enlightened and devastated, and ultimately made into a better person wit more empathy and understanding of the human condition.

This is an insider’s view, as is made clear by the wonderful background provided by the translator, Robert Chandler. Grossman was a Ukrainian Jew who studied chemistry in his youth, became a novelist with the support of Gorky, and with
Oct 01, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: russia
Qui si scrive, non si va a zonzo: così avrebbe detto Tolstoj se avesse potuto leggere Vita e destino.
Qui non si va a zonzo, sono pagine con peso specifico, importanti, ben oltre il lor numero (settecento).
Da anni, molti, non leggevo un libro così.


Così bello, così denso, così esigente, così ricco.
Arrivato a metà, ho istintivamente rallentato, per non finirlo troppo presto, per gustarlo a fondo, distillarlo.
Quando l’ho chiuso per l’ultima volta, ho deciso di tenerl
Mar 24, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
When I first learned that Vasily Grossman's model for this novel was War and Peace, I thought he was setting his sights astronomically--not to say unattainably--high. There are huge differences between the two books, of course. Remember Tolstoy's lovely modulated long sentences? Grossman doesn't even try to compete on that level. By contrast, his language tends toward the so-called "Soviet" realism of the day. This was a style in which many of the Party hacks also wrote. The difference between ...more
Ahmad Sharabiani
Жизнь и судьба = Zhizn i sadba = Life and Fate: a novel‬ (Stalingrad #2), Vasily Grossman
Life and Fate is a 1960 novel by Vasily Grossman and is seen as the author's magnum opus. Technically, it is the second half of the author's conceived two-part book under the same title. Although the first half, the novel For a Just Cause, written during the rule of Joseph Stalin and first published in 1952, expresses loyalty to the regime, Life and Fate sharply criticizes Stalinism.

تاریخ نخستین خوانش: روز چ
A confession in three parts
Well, I was completely wrong about this book, and I am pleased to admit it. To nuance that, if I was going to give it a Goodreads star rating it would be two star, maybe two and a half, or 2.47.

I was even so unwise to tell a very dear friend that in my opinion it was no more than a 20th century rewrite of War and Peace, which it is but...more importantly it emphatically is not.

I had also imagined that it was about the battle of Stalingrad, reading, I see that really
Aug 24, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: russian-novels
A monumental novel in the Great Russian tradition which has been rightly compared with War and Peace. It focuses on the Battle of Stalingrad, but covers a Science Institute, various prison camps and a concentration camp. The list of characters is vast and the dramatis personae in my edition was well used.
Grossman was a journalist who covered the Battle of Stalingrad from the front line and his experience shows. However this is, like War and Peace, very much not just a war novel. Its scope is br
Magrat Ajostiernos
Feb 18, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2018
Reseña completa:
Aunque este libro está ambientado durante la batalla de Stalingrado, realmente lo que muestra son retazos de vidas durante la Segunda Guerra Mundial... Puntos de vista muy dispares, personajes que sufrieron desde los campos de trabajo a los de concentración, el asedio, las bombas, la vida en el frente y la angustia por los familiares desaparecidos.
'Vida y destino' es mucho más que una crónica, habla de arte, literatura, dignidad, amor...
Jan 12, 2012 rated it really liked it
4 1/2

Grossman stands in the tradition of the Russian novelists of the nineteenth century. His characters, like Dostoevsky's, engage in great philosophical debates; and the structure of Life and Fate is loosely based on that of Tolstoy's War and Peace. Ideologically, however, the model to which Grossman admitted to feeling closest was Chekhov… who brought into Russian literature a new kind of humanism based on the ideas of freedom and loving kindness.
Tzvetan Todorov

Grossman during the Second Word
Maru Kun
The past, as they say, is a foreign country and also a more literate one.

The USSR in the first half of the twentieth century was a place where a father would worry about which poets were read by his daughter’s boyfriend, a place where you might still love someone despite their inability to distinguish Balzac from Flaubert and where a soldier on the front line of one of the most dreadful military conflicts in history would complain that their comrade-in-arms did not properly understand Chekov.

Nov 08, 2009 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
When you consider the steps that had to be taken to smuggle this novel out of the Soviet Union, painstakingly photographed page by page on microfilm, you cannot but marvel at the determination and effort made by believers in the power of the written word to bring such important stories to light. This epic novel is, along with Victor Serge's stunning masterwork Unforgiving Years , the best fictional depiction I've read of the barbaric inhumanity of the Soviet experience in the Second World War ...more
Maria Clara
Aug 16, 2018 rated it really liked it
Sin duda, es un libro duro pero también, o sobretodo, retrata la humanidad de las personas. Se puede decir que es una crónica de la segunda guerra mundial vista desde la batalla de Stalingrado; pasando por campos de concentración alemanes, los Gulag rusos y el día a día de la guerra, con todos sus horrores.

PD: Como anécdota, cuando Grossman terminó de escribir el libro, la KGB irrumpió en su piso y confiscó todos sus apuntes y documentos...

"Le pido que devuelva la libertad a mi libro, pido que
Leer este libro ha sido toda una experiencia.
Al principio es difícil y denso (Vasili Grossman fue corresponsal de guerra y eso se nota) y hay que perseverar y no ofuscarse ante tanto personaje y dato histórico, pero una vez ubicada el resultado fue 1104 páginas devoradas en dos semanas.
Lo mejor es cómo Vasili Grossman consigue desgranar el alma humana en tiempos de guerra (Segunda Guerra Mundial, en el frente Oriental- Soviético) desde muchos puntos de vista diferentes. Las madres, la ciencia,
Se dovessi raccontare a qualcuno in poche parole cos'è «Vita e Destino», per spiegargli la struttura di quello che è, prima di tutto, un romanzo immenso per mole e quantità di storie e personaggi che si intrecciano, gli direi di guardare questa foto e di pensare a cosa succede quando un vetro è attraversato da una pallottola; al foro provocato dall'esplosione e a tutta quella ragnatela che immediatamente si propaga da una parte all'altra dello stesso vetro, pronta a frantumarsi e a crollare all' ...more
May 24, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Both epic in scope and intimate in detail, this powerhouse novel had me riveted from the very beginning. The prose style is spare yet luminous. Many have mentioned Chekhov as model for the writing style, and that feels right to me. There are some truly haunting scenes in this book. But it's the constant juxtaposition of the tragic and the comic, the grand and the banal, that gives this novel its true heft.
«Soffriamo tutti. Tutti allo stesso modo e ognuno in modo diverso».

Uno scritto che trasuda sofferenza, dolore, delusione.
Alterna capitoli che filmano le grandi manovre della Storia con altri in cui si zooma sui piccoli eventi domestici.
E capitolo dopo capitolo ho la certezza di quello che già sapevo:
sono proprio queste “piccole” esistenze, ignorate dalla roboante storiografia ufficiale, a raccontarci la verità del sentire umano.
Commuovente e ricco d’innegabili verità.

E’ il dolore di una ma
Anastasia Fitzgerald-Beaumont
What an astonishing book Life and Fate is; what an astonishing man Vasily Grossman must have been. I’ve already written a partial assessment of this literary masterpiece on my Ana the Imp blog, a post I headed The Grand Inquisitor, which focused on the contents of a single chapter, one I had just finished, one that literally winded me, both intellectually and emotionally. Well, now I’ve finished the whole novel and it captivated me from beginning to end; captivated me with its intensity, its ran ...more
Aug 14, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites, russi, owned
”…perché non è l’uomo che è impotente contro il male, ma perché è il male che è impotente contro l’uomo e la sua umanità più profonda: la bontà”.

Ci sono momenti nella storia, epoche tremende, in cui “l’uomo non è più artefice del proprio destino”, anzi, “è il destino del mondo ad arrogarsi il diritto di condannare o concedere la grazia, di portare gli allori o di ridurre in miseria…”. Che cosa può fare allora un uomo stretto nella morsa della Storia, vittima della collera dello Stato? Solo u
Vit Babenco
Aug 04, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Life and Fate is an epical and panoramic canvas meticulously portraying the whole pivotal period in the life and fate of a man, people, countries and the entire world.
“The intuition of a deafened and isolated soldier often turns out to be nearer the truth than judgements delivered by staff officers as they study the map.
An extraordinary change takes place at the turning-point in a battle: a soldier looks round, after apparently gaining his objective, and suddenly finds he has lost sight of his c
Adam Dalva
Jan 16, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
An absolute masterpiece, the intense scenework of Chekov mingled with the epic scope of Tolstoy, and a genuine act of bravery. The novel, centered on Stalingrad during World War II, thrums with anti-Soviet sentiment and anger over the holocaust (Grossman's mother was murdered by Germans) - it's little wonder that it was suppressed during Grossman's lifetime, and something of a miracle that it survived 28 years to finally be released. Its ambitions are huge - it takes on nuclear physics, fascism, ...more
Having read War and Peace a couple of months ago in which Tolstoy pointed out already in the mid nineteenth century the role of accident and fate in the success of military campaigns, thus underlining their futility, I wondered how any European leader could ever have embarked on another takeover knowing the outcome of Napoleon's campaigns. But of course there was WWI and WWII as if nothing had been learned about trusting Emperor style dictators driven by monstrous personal ambition; after Napole ...more
Jan 23, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The worst reviews, in my humble opinion, are those that begin with this sentence: I really wanted to like this book? Oh? This confounds me? Who starts to read a book that they hope they will not like? Do people really open books they hope will appall them, torture them with typos and improbable plots, confuse them with experimental mazes of style and drown them in gibberish? Isn't every book we start one we hope will be the greatest ever? What kind of twisted reader DOESN'T WANT TO LIKE A BOOK?

Sep 01, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites, russia
In questo romanzo fiume sono narrati il destino della grande madre Russia e le vite di tanti suoi cittadini, tutti segnati dai combattimenti durissimi che si svolsero a Stalingrado, lungo le rive del Volga, dall’estate del 1942 al febbraio del 1943, tra i soldati dell’Armata Rossa e l’esercito nazista, passati alla storia come “la battaglia di Stalingrado”. Da quel momento, con la vittoria sofferta dell’esercito sovietico, non solo il destino della seconda guerra mondiale ebbe una svolta, inizia ...more
Sin duda es uno de los libros más hermosos que he leído en mi vida. Cuando uno se pregunta, (de vez en cuando) por qué leer? Bueno, para encontrarte con libros como este.

Es sobre la batalla por Stalingrado, entre el Ejército Rojo (rusos) y el Aleman, en la segunda guerra mundial. Y muestra a distintos personajes que han sido afectados por esta guerra. Pero es más que eso, es que el autor tiene una empatía, un nivel de comprensión de cada una de las personas en distintas situaciones. Es como si
Megan Baxter
Nov 01, 2011 rated it it was amazing
This is a huge sprawling novel, centred around the battle of Stalingrad, but weaving in and out and incorporating the Holocaust, the Soviet detention centres, Soviet science under Stalin, life at the front, life at home, and the nature of freedom and humanity. (And I found Grossman's musings on the latter two more readable than Tolstoy's long philosophical digressions, to be perfectly honest.)

Note: The rest of this review has been withdrawn due to the recent changes in Goodreads policy and enfor
Dec 31, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: fiction
I really liked this book

It is softer and less ideological than other Soviet literature I have read from this time - I can certainly see why it was banned

It uses the backdrop of the battle of Stalingrad to explore the interlinked lives of an extended family and the people they come into contact with

There are parallels with War and Peace which I am sure was the authors intention

Warning - a bit of a brick at 850+ pages - not a quick read
Non sta a me recensire questo capolavoro, non ne sarei all'altezza, l'unica cosa che posso dire a riguardo é: leggetelo e rileggetelo se potete, testi di questa immensità e densità non si trovano così facilmente.
David Lentz
Jun 11, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This masterpiece published by New York Review of Books Classics enters my Top 5 among novels by James Joyce (Ulysses), Proust (La Recherche du Temps Perdu), Tolstoy (War and Peace) and Gaddis (JR): it is pure genius in its epic scope. Inspired by Tolstoy's War and Peace and the siege of Russia by Napoleon, Grossman depicts the siege of Stalingrad by Hitler. Grossman narrates the epic from the perspectives of diverse players into whose lives the reader becomes immersed. The cast is vast and the R ...more
May 18, 2010 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: mother-rus
This review was constructed while drinking. Pub Guinness veered into Sierra Nevada Torpedo at home. Yo La Tengo kept pushing immediate questions: why not, why not? Why isn't Life and Fate a fucking rock star on goodreads?

Apparently such matters don't work in translation, well, unless it is Murakami or Bolano. I do find that rather akimbo, disjointed silences on germans and russians while YAs run amok. I did note that TWO of my coworkers are reading 50 Shades.

No, the novel isn't a streamlined ma
Feb 18, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I'm lucky to have been born in 1980 and not 1920. Because of this simple fact, I will never have to face an opposing army with a pistol pointed at me from behind, to die in machine-gun fire, or be standing in the wrong place when a bomb is dropped. I won't be killed in a gas chamber, my body searched for gold and burned, or be made to lie on a pile of dead bodies awaiting a bullet to my head, or be sent to prison camp, subjected to beatings and forced into hard labour. I will never have to endur ...more
Nov 03, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
"Vita e destino" è uno di quei libri che non si dimenticano facilmente, che ti entrano dentro, ti scorticano la pelle fino a sanguinarla e farti male lasciandoti a pezzi sperando che qualcuno ti raccolga.
E' un romanzo difficile, una riflessione amara, dolorosa sul male e le sue conseguenze.
Grossman analizza in maniera attenta, precisa, dettagliata la battaglia di Stalingrado, il periodo della lotta al totalitarismo e al nazismo.
Durante la lettura, il lettore vive con i personaggi la vita del l
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Born Iosif Solomonovich Grossman into an emancipated Jewish family, he did not receive a traditional Jewish education. A Russian nanny turned his name Yossya into Russian Vasya (a diminutive of Vasily), which was accepted by the whole family. His father had social-democratic convictions and joined the Mensheviks. Young Vasily Grossman idealistically supported the Russian Revolution of 1917.

When th

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