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The only English translation authorized by Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn First published in the Soviet journal Novy Mir in , One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich stands as a classic of contemporary literature The story of labor camp inmate Ivan Denisovich Shukhov, it graphically describes his struggle to maintain his dignity in the face of communist oppression An unforgettable portrait of the entire world of Stalin s forced work camps, One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich is one of the most extraordinary literary documents to have emerged from the Soviet Union and confirms Solzhenitsyn s stature as a literary genius whose talent matches that of Dosotevsky, Turgenev, Tolstoy Harrison SalisburyThis unexpurgatedtranslation by H T Willetts is the only authorized edition available, and fully captures the power and beauty of the original Russian Totalitarian communism could produce some harsh results.Such is the succinct message sent by Soviet writer Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn in his 1962 publication One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich First published in the Soviet journal Novy Mir, and then later translated into many, many languages including English, Solzhenitsyn uses severe realism to describe conditions in a Soviet political prisoner camp.Literally telling a twenty four hour period in the life of the camp, we follow various characte Totalitarian communism could produce some harsh results.Such is the succinct message sent by Soviet writer Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn in his 1962 publication One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich First published in the Soviet journal Novy Mir, and then later translated into many, many languages including English, Solzhenitsyn uses severe realism to describe conditions in a Soviet political prisoner camp.Literally telling a twenty four hour period in the life of the camp, we follow various characters throughout the brutally cold day These are hard men taking care of business Many were assigned a sentence of hard labor and we see them building and working and surviving on the unforgiving Russian steppe.Only a few are actual criminals, having committed some crime against persons or property by far most are there because they had run afoul of the Soviet system Ten years is a lighter sentence, most have been sent to the camp for a twenty five year sentence of cruel and inhuman servitude Speaking out against the government or like minded open and obvious political malfeasances are also rare most confessed to some ridiculous treason after a period of ruthless and senseless interrogation Many were prisoners of war during and after World War II, escaping the Germans only to find themselves back home amidst suspicious circumstances and then jailed for being Nazi spies Some were incarcerated because they were Baptists.The enduring significance, though, and high praise for Solzhenitsyn in pulling the literary achievement off, is a sense of perseverance and obdurate humanism These men live day to day, scrounging and surviving and striving and all with a distant hope that someday, years in the future, they will be free.No doubt the years of press have diluted the stern message exposed in 1962, but this remains a difficult but important work Dear Mr Solzhenitsyn,I am not a Russian scholar, not even in the armchair variety But you have done something magical in ONE DAY IN THE LIFE OF IVAN DENISOVICH that eclipsed this reader s ignorance you have transmuted what it was like to live a life day in and day out in much the same fashion Think about it Morning, the same as yesterday Afternoon the same as yesterday s afternoon The night yep, the same And this made me yearn for a day when Ivan would awaken and see that it would be d Dear Mr Solzhenitsyn,I am not a Russian scholar, not even in the armchair variety But you have done something magical in ONE DAY IN THE LIFE OF IVAN DENISOVICH that eclipsed this reader s ignorance you have transmuted what it was like to live a life day in and day out in much the same fashion Think about it Morning, the same as yesterday Afternoon the same as yesterday s afternoon The night yep, the same And this made me yearn for a day when Ivan would awaken and see that it would be different This ability to create which you lived for a time a life of perpetual recycling was heartbreaking, and so real that it made me think of not only Russian dissidents political or otherwise , but of all the people incarcerated now in prisons, relationships marriages, dating , loneliness, jobs, or, to a certain degree, aimless lives To think that every morning is going to be bleak when one awaits sleep, mortified and numbed and haunted my thoughts as I read this novel Add in the fact that Ivan never knew iftime was going to be added on his sentence or if he was going to die in this desolate gulag, I had a real hard time distancing myself from this character I live a very happy life I have a wife I love and adore and two beautiful children, a house, a career at times I would trade this , always a full stomach, clothes, cable, thousands of books, and countless friends But even with all these pleasures, the thought of being isolated in a world were insubordination was met with violence or, worse, disappearance, became my mental reality, trapping me in this world that you created Dark thoughts permeated throughout my mind like a giant shark searching for prey and ate my happiness Rarely has such a deft, short novel made such an emotional impact on me.This, sir, is why you are one of my favorite authors VERY HIGHLY RECOMMENDED Some Nobel Prizes in Literature resulted introuble than glory for the laureates Little did it matter to Harry Martinson that his genius epic poem Aniara An Epic Science Fiction Poem spoke for his worthiness as a Nobel Laureate, the bad press that followed the announcement ruined his mental health In the case of Solzhenitsyn, the attention he received internationally after the award quite literally threatened his physical well being and his ability to live and write in the country he con Some Nobel Prizes in Literature resulted introuble than glory for the laureates Little did it matter to Harry Martinson that his genius epic poem Aniara An Epic Science Fiction Poem spoke for his worthiness as a Nobel Laureate, the bad press that followed the announcement ruined his mental health In the case of Solzhenitsyn, the attention he received internationally after the award quite literally threatened his physical well being and his ability to live and write in the country he considered his home, despite its oppression and cruelty.His most well known work, describing one single day in the life of an inmate in a Soviet Gulag, quite miraculously was approved for publication in the Soviet Union in 1962, and played a major role in the decision to award Solzhenitsyn the Nobel Prize in 1970.As a harrowing, cold, sharp witness account of the suffering of Gulag prisoners, it is a document of universal importance It does for Soviet history what All Quiet on the Western Front does for the history of World War I, depicting the experience of one protagonist in a sharp realism that makes the reader shudder I felt cold, I felt hungry, I felt scared, I felt harassed, I felt helpless, I felt hopeless, I felt powerless, I felt humiliated Every single emotion described in the book immediately transferred to me, and made me live through this one particular day in the gulag Very much like the soldier in All Quiet on the Western Front, the prisoner does not have time to be worrying about the political system that placed him in his living hell His sole focus must be to get through the day, and then wake up the next morning and face it again, constantly fighting the biological needs of his body The repetition of the suffering is the hellish part of the story, made crystal clear in the heartbreaking final sentence The end of an unclouded day Almost a happy one Just one of the 3,653 days of his sentence, from bell to bell The extra three were for leap years For the reader, suffering through the ONE SINGLE DAY in a reading chair, with a cup of hot tea and shortbread and a warm blanket, was hard The unimaginable reality of the real prisoners is summed up in the accurate account of how many of those days they LIVED through, not forgetting the three extras for leap years Imagine reading this story 3,653 times And it would still be muchcomfortable than living it And don t forget that you only have to deal with one of the unclouded, almost happy days And you don t have to die in the end, after years of suffering, like the hero of All Quiet on the Western Front, who lived through the trench warfare reality only to die in October 1918, a completely unimportant, random detail in the big schemes of things One day in one life, but there were so many days,and so many lives Solzhenitsyn received the Nobel Prize for the ethical force with which he has pursued the indispensable traditions of Russian literature This was already perfectly outlined in One Day , and then shown in a magnificent parable in the Cancer Ward, where different individuals from a variety of political and social backgrounds find themselves with a disease that destroys them from within, and there is nothing they can do to prevent it from happening The gulag was one symptom of the symbolical illness that spread in the Soviet Union A must read for people interested in the connection between literature and history Put on a warm jacket, though, it is going to be freezing cold I want to appreciate life the way Ivan Denisovich Shukov does.I want to take pride in my work I want to taste every bite of sausage, suck the marrow out of every fish bone, enjoy every puff of every cigarette, bask in a sunset, watch the moon cross the sky, fall asleep content I want to focus on the necessities of living I want to focus on life, but I have too much It s not much compared to most everyone I know, but it is still too much And because it is too much I can t appreciate life the I want to appreciate life the way Ivan Denisovich Shukov does.I want to take pride in my work I want to taste every bite of sausage, suck the marrow out of every fish bone, enjoy every puff of every cigarette, bask in a sunset, watch the moon cross the sky, fall asleep content I want to focus on the necessities of living I want to focus on life, but I have too much It s not much compared to most everyone I know, but it is still too much And because it is too much I can t appreciate life the way Ivan Denisovich Shukov does Reading about it is not enough, but right now it is what I have.I ll keep trying