One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich discussion


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Eternal relevence.

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Yvonne This book reveals every minute detail of one man's struggle to survive. Having read this, you appreciate life that much more - for in the blink of an eye, it can all be taken away.


Monty J Heying Yeah, every little detail, and each one mattered, because the stakes were so high and every moment counts. Death was an everyday affair and taken in stride. So little dialogue and so much inner monologue, and yet I didn't feel trapped in there. Tricky to pull off. Much respect for the author. That one could live that way, year after year after year, is a testament to character. Makes me shiver thinking about it.


message 3: by Kit (new) - rated it 4 stars

Kit Masters Agreed, very relevant, interesting comments.
Any thoughts on why this, one of his shortest books, is one of the best loved?
K


Monty J Heying Kit wrote: "Agreed, very relevant, interesting comments.
Any thoughts on why this, one of his shortest books, is one of the best loved?
K"


Actually I've not read any others, but plan to.

The simplicity of the language and structure makes the book very accessible. The goal is to get through the day, to survive. It's very direct and uncomplicated. No equivocation. Very few rough spots, too. It's also visual, sensual, like watching a film.


message 5: by Kit (new) - rated it 4 stars

Kit Masters I loved "August 1914", perhaps start there, it's very different though.
I'm intending tackling the "Gulag Archipelago" soon... but I've only got part two!

Kind ones,
Kit


Radu Monty J wrote: "Kit wrote: "Agreed, very relevant, interesting comments.
Any thoughts on why this, one of his shortest books, is one of the best loved?
K"

Actually I've not read any others, but plan to.

The simp..."

there is one reason why is so much readed - especially for guys leaving in former socialist countries is a memento ... a reminder of what was around us and why we shall never let it happen again ..


Monty J Heying Radu wrote: "especially for guys leaving in former socialist countries "

Yes, but can also happen in non-socialist countries. Fascism is growing here in America.


Lesley Arrowsmith I was impressed at the way he got all sorts of different prisoners into the story - the chap in the medical centre who was being protected from the worst of it because he was a poet, and the chap who had been a loyal Soviet officer, but had been unlucky enough to get a present from the British when he was translating for them - as well as Ivan, who was an unlucky peasant.


Radu Monty J wrote: "Radu wrote: "especially for guys leaving in former socialist countries "

Yes, but can also happen in non-socialist countries. Fascism is growing here in America."


fully agree..and probably beyond any imagination .. our "advantage" if i may say so is that we already seen the "benfits"


message 10: by Leslie (last edited Mar 06, 2013 05:31PM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

Leslie My guess on why this is the most loved of his books is because it is a story of the strength of the human capacity for hope and survival. I have seen reviews that actually criticize this book for not portraying the harships strongly enough because Ivan doesn't seem to be struggling; but that is the point, that Ivan dug hard and deep to not let the incredible hardships destroy his spirit, or the spirits of others (he requested that his family not burden themselves by sending what they needed to him because he probably wouldn't receive it - he watched over the food package of his friend while he went to the roll call). This little book is packed tight with the starkest coexisting contrast between humanity and inhumanity.


Alexandra Solzhenitsyn has a terrible tendency to lecture - as if one needs to be told that this is awful! Personally I find this intensely irritating - I prefer other writers on this theme who simply tell the story, and let the facts of the situation described speak for themselves.

But here, buy staying so firmly in the mind of Ivan - who is a character determined NOT to analyse his own situation, but simply gets on with the business of trying to survive & get through it, one day at a time - Solzhenitsyn restrains his moralising urge. There is less intrusion of his authorial voice - and the story is all the more immediate, powerful and moving for that.

That said, I still consider Varlam Shalamov the preeminent author writing about the horrors of the Gulag. His Kolyma Tales moved me far more, with their devastating insights into the depths to which a human being could sink.


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