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One character Viktor mirrors the situation that Grossman endured where his Jewish mother was separated from him as the Germans came ever closer The letter Viktor receives from his mother Jewish mother was separated from him as the Germans came ever closer The letter Viktor receives from his mother in his pocket and in our thoughts unread and imagined by the authorI am so pleased that I finally had the chance to read this I thought it was magnificent and as I am informed that Life and Fate is even greater I look forward to reading on So once I had time to focus on Stalingrad I found it to be something of a page turner I was able to crash through the last few hundred pages with my heartbeat leading the way At first was a little put off by the apparent communist propagandizingtoadying throughout the book book but I came to see it as necessary background Just as books from western societies tend to give precedence to individualism 1940s Soviet Union writers could eually see their world through idealized collectivist eyes This would be especially so when that world was under threat of destruction by nazism At times I did find certain parts a bit jarring wondering how they really fit in with the book as a whole or with what was going on around them Overall however the writing was powerful and often gripping I m not usually one to get excited about battle scenes but Grossman did a wonderful job of making things move I did also have an issue with the whole hero thing but then I m not from a society that dwells on the concept Probably works better for Russians and AmericansMaybe later I ll organize myself to write details about my thoughts The writing is such that I have had a myriad of war images going through my mind and a great many interesting dreams A good book Well worth the read I now have Life and Fate on order Despite the huge variation in depth this is of the most fascinating portrayals of character that I ve ever read The novel represents the collective over the individual though in a reflection of the Communist Russia it evokes some individuals are important than others It s a tumble of thoughts and feelings and actions sometimes just a flash of a life sometimes It s confusing and messy and real but also alienating Even before the hardships of the siege it felt like too much I wanted to escape the reel of voices their unceasing breadth somehow claustrophobic It s powerful precisely because of this too real to be anything but difficultIt s like nothing I ve read before I m not sure I want to read anything like it again but its value as a novel and as a portrait of the human condition is clearARC via Netgalley With Life and Fate lingering on my
tbr for far too long this was an for far too long this was an must read when published in English for the first time It s a text with a complicated history and gestation so it s well worth reading the introduction and afterword to understand what it is exactly that we re reading here In some ways this is a magnificent failure as a novel self consciously locating itself against War and Peace it offers a panorama of Soviet life leading up to and during the battle for Stalingrad Central is the extended Shaposhnikov family their friends and lovers But we flit between multiple character PoVs and pan in and out as Grossman sees fit sometimes we re deep inside someone s personal life then we retreat and don t return to that character again The canvas and character list is vast and as is the case in Tolstoy many are mere walk on characters so I wouldn t agonise too much about who is who Their brief page life is important their name isn t always Grossman s own viewpoint varies at some points he s a journalist chronicling the meetings between Hitler and his ministers for example at others he s pure novelist embedded with his fictional creations and writing in extended flashbacks to give them a personal history to which we are privy Then again an important character may die and we re barely given any reaction Most disconcerting is the lack of a defined story arc the battle for Stalingrad is clearly central but the pace of the novel is leisurely and there s no ending the battle is still raging the novel just finishes Of course we know the story continues with many of the same characters and an enlarged canvas in Life and Fate but this almost feels like a parallel text rather than a preuel We know that this was a novel that had a problematic relationship with the Soviet authorities and the censors but really it s hard to see why Grossman was a positive supporter of the Revolution and an rabid opponent of Hitler and fascism not least because he was Jewish and both emotions come through strongly Stalingrad was of course a turning point of the war and a significant achievement that marked the Russian psyche It s fascinating to witness an almost contemporary view of Stalin s war broadcasts Hitler s cabinet and their plans Above all what I loved about this book is the way it pays homage to human ideals this war is terrible the numbers of dead are exhausting et somehow there s a kind of nobility that permeates the souls of these Russians as they resist the German onslaught fighting with courage and a clear sightedness for something bigger than the lone individua. Ov el viejo marxista Mostovskói el científico Shtrum Linux Networking Cookbook y Aleksandra Sháposhnikova cuya vitalidad triunfará sobre el mal la muerte se interrogan acerca de la viabilidad del comunismo el porué del fascismo mientras luchan por sobrevivir a los horrores de la guerr.
will bring all these characters back into the fold throw my complaints backbring all these characters back into the fold throw my complaints back my face and make this review look stupid I look forward to looking stupidA high four stars Excellent but not the masterpiece it is claimed to be At least not until I read Life and Fate anyway Save me a fragment of violent foamSave me a rifle save a plow for meAnd let them place it at my graveWith a red ear of grain from our soilThat it be known if there be any doubtThat I died loving FRIENDLY ENEMIES you andou loved meAnd if I did not fight in Amok your waistI leave inour honour this dark grenadeThis song of love for Stalingrad Pablo Neruda Nuevo Canto de Amor a StalingradoRemembrance and tribute to those who lived and died among the skeletal remains of a city turned into the seat of hell Pandaemonium A panoply albeit under the heavy hand of Soviet censorship Grossman shines often than not but his sheen is much slathered in the Stalin love reuired for the novel s publication Perhaps a passing glance for those interested in Life and Fate perhaps not In time we may be treated to an uncensored version And I will read it with or without pandemic A remarkable but grim read course anything dealing with the Eastern Front and Stalingrad makes for some heavy reading but in the grimness Grossman does comes up with some light hearted moments fo the soldiers and the civilians Vasily Grossman writes some powerful prose from the land nights the factories tracers lighting up the night sky politics romance and of the battle itself he weaves a great story with historical characters and his fictional charters Powerful stuff and at times it left me shaking my head going my god Highly recommended A masterpiece out this June and I ll have to say on it then This is a fascinating contrast with perhaps my favorite novel LIFE AND FATE which is STALINGRAD s direct seuel STALINGRAD is the Iliad to that Odyssey Soviet censorship has made this a tamer conventional novel than it perhaps should have been but Grossman s accomplishment glimmers throughout This is a novel that is at once conventionally linear and surprisingly inventive the bombing of Stalingrad rewinds over and over again a crucial letter about the holocaust is never read Its dozens of characters intersect masterfully over 960 pages all of them having some connection to the Shaposhnikov family A difficult read often sad and agonizing but also hugely rewarding and a fascinating glimpse of an author working heroically under the most difficult constraints I have long thought of reading Life and Fate but somehow knowing that there was a preuel made me hold of As such once this finally appeared in translation I had to read it Before doing so I read a biography Vasily Grossman and the Soviet Century and I am pleased that I did as it gave me understanding of this magnificent sprawling novel One thing it is essential to understand was that Grossman was always aware of the censors not that it seemed to help so there is much about how inspiring Stalin s speeches are and how the Russians are working together Still And a Bottle of Rum you do feel that Grossman believes this to be true and that there is something both noble about the Russians defending their homeland and indeed of how the average Russian has benefited after the revolution particularly in terms of educationIn terms of characters this is a broad canvas than a picture portrait There are a huge number of characters who appear and some are developed others become blurred or suddenly reappear to checkou can recall who they are It doesn t really matter though as the real star of the show is Russia herself with Stalingrad centre stage When Stalin announces that the city is not to fall the inhabitants dig in and effectively all join in defending their home Grossman was a journalist who was himself in the thick of war and so this has real authenticityThere are scenes with Hitler Mussolini and other leaders However the real feeling of this book comes from characters whose names were never known peasants miners scientists doctors who did their work without fanfare Grossman also never loses sight of the personal amongst the time of crisis Although under threat characters fall in love lose touch with family have to deal with problems and upheaval and have to live in a time of great uncertainty Some of the storylines are indeed personal than others. Cuando escribe Grossman es un hombre destruido por la guerra su hijo ha muerto en el frente su madre ha sido asesinada en el gueto Los personajes principales componen un mosaico de lo ue era la sociedad soviética del momento El fanático Abarchuk el comisario Krím. It was about 3 ears ago that I read Life and Fate At the time I looked for a translation of Stalingrad but the only non Russian language version available seemed to be in Spanish Although I greatly admired Life and Fate I was conscious throughout that I was missing out on the background of the characters Now that I ve read Stalingrad I have the opposite problem When encountering a character I kept trying to recall what happened to them in Life and Fate Sometimes I remembered but plenty of times I didn t I think I ll have to read Life and Fate again to find outThat curiosity alone shows the book is a success in that I care enough about the characters to want to re read shows the book is a success in that I care enough about the characters to want to re read second part It s noticeable though that in both books Grossman doesn t hesitate to kill off his creations Apparently it was suggested he shouldn t do this uite so often but he argued that in the real life war the bombs didn t swerve to avoid likeable personsThere s a huge cast of characters and it s the style of the book to spend several chapters telling the story of one group before then focusing on another The novel therefore switches back and forth between them with sometimes long gaps between each appearance of an individual Sometimes I found it hard to recall a particular backstory and had to refer to a list of principal characters included as an appendix One of Grossman s favourite themes that he continued in Life and Fate was the idea that the war revealed people s true natures A previously shy and diffident person might come to the fore or someone thought to be a misanthrope might show unexpected kindnessThere is one major weakness in the book and that of course is the extent to which it was affected by Stalinist censorship Under duress Grossman had to take out numerous passages and add in others It s often obvious where this has happened and the some of the affected sections make for laboured reading All translations are different from the original novel of course but there are particular issues with this one that are covered in an afterword that is worth reading Essentially there is no definitive version of this novel and the translation presented here is an amalgam of two of the versions that exist I m certainly glad that I ve read the book but the ravages of Soviet censorship mean that it doesn t match the uality of Life and Fate Grossman s best known book Life and Fate was the seuel to this extraordinary novel Its history is complicated and in this new version the translator Robert Chandler has attempted to create a definitive edition from the various versions that survive three of which were published in Russia in the 1950s Both books were clearly influenced by War and Peace and Grossman s concept was to create something similar centreing on the battle of Stalingrad Inevitably the compromises reuired to make a recent history acceptable
*to the soviet *the Soviet are still visible there are plenty of sections that read as Soviet propaganda and the balance between war reporting and civilian stories is much skewed towards war than either War and Peace or Life and Fate For all that much of this book is just as good as Life and Fate and the two are complementary Grossman deploys his characters expertly allowing all aspects of the war to be explored in detail including various German perspectives Some of the major characters in Life and Fate notably Viktor Shtrum are little than bit part players here but as Chandler explains this was largely dictated by the Soviet authorities tooChandler s translation is always lively and readable despite the occasional anachronistic modern word choice and he has done a very impressive job of recreating Grossman s original artistic vision A must read book As noted by the translator in the afterword Grossman envisioned Stalingrad and Life and Fate as one work so a proper evaluation cannot be given until both books have been read That being said there s no denying that Stalingrad in and of itself is a major accomplishment It starts off with Vavilov s beautiful but sad departure from his family as he trudges off to war and then Grossman proceeds to give us scene after scene of vivid imagery Krymov s river crossing with Semyonov stands out as does the fighting at the Railway StationThis is far from a perfect work however Many reviewers have noted the distracting propaganda for the Soviet regime and I couldn t help but notice it as well Stalingrad was initially published while Stalin was still around and was thus heavily edited so it is difficult to determine how much of this propaganda Grossman actually wanted in his novel The translator does a wonderful job of discussing the different versions of Stalingrad and the role those editors played in constructing the novel as it is today It blew my mind that Tolya s chapter was added almost as a throw in during the editing process it s an amazing chapterAs a standalone work I would argue that the cast of characters in Stalingrad is far too large Without the list of characters at the back of the book I would have been hard pressed to keep track of who is who Grossman devotes over 600 pages to their introduction and. En febrero de 1943 termina la batalla de Stalingrado Vasili Grossman ue ha estado en primera línea como corresponsal emprende su fresco novelístico sobre la contienda Por una causa justa cuya segunda entrega se convertirá en la mundialmente aclamada Vida destino.