Tasos Anastasopoulos's Reviews > The Seven Who Were Hanged

The Seven Who Were Hanged by Leonid Andreyev
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's review
Mar 15, 2012

liked it

This book seemed like a really nice chance to be read quite fast in order to improve a bit my pace trying to complete the 60 book challenge that I am so much left behind. I have never heard neither the author nor any of his books in the past and the title was well a bit “intriguing” me about what the subject of the book may have been. I hadn’t read the plot, even now that I am writing the review I am not aware of the plot at all since I still haven’t bothered (due to lack of internet) to add it to “my books” and see what others thought of that what’s the overall rating and so on. Maybe it was better that way, sometimes just reading at the preview messes up some things, it’s like it’s containing spoilers or you get an idea of what to expect and when that times comes and reading about it you are not really surprised like you would if being totally clueless.

So the story is about seven persons that are convicted to death by hanging somewhere in Russia I believe in the beginning of the 20th century (though that last part is not exactly mentioned, the era must be in that period). Each one of them has a completely different character, the group of five that had committed the same crime as persons are not so similar and the two others that were murderers have also nothing in common too. Through the book we see how every character faces death approaching in a different way. That way is also not so standard since it changes as the time passes and the morning that they are about to be hanged approaches…

We also get the chance to know how are the parents of some of the “soon to be hanged” convicts feel and how they react in order not to cause a bigger damage to their children or to themselves. Still not all the prisoners had visitors so there is only a couple of them that we can “witness” their behavior when meeting their parents for the last time.

In my opinion the book could be a bit longer, it’s about 100 pages after all and there could be more references to more things like more details about what exactly they have done that led them into prison, probably to know more about the trial, if they had the chance to defend themselves, how the lawyers of both sides tried to win the case and finally a bit more about the end. I don’t want to write more about the last part so not to reveal what finally happens in case any of you is reading it before reading the book. There were also a few moments that I was wondering what was going on. One of them was when they assigned one of the prisoners to perform an execution himself and that would have as a result to save his life, was that really possible? It didn’t seem like an illusion for sure though, but I doubt that the system was that flexible back then…

Though the subject of the book, the main one at least is a bit like “The Green Mile” you’d better not expect any similarity between them. I am sure Stephen King hasn’t even heard of this novel so he couldn’t be influenced in any way when writing his masterpiece. Still this book can be easily adapted into a movie but I doubt it can become such a huge blockbuster. I guess it can be only an independent production and probably in an Eastern Europe country, perhaps even in Russia to emphasize on the differences of present from the past. Despite it took place almost a century ago the “death penalty” issue is always up to date since even in a specific country that declares itself as the most righteous one of all it still exists…

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