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Life and Fate

Vasily Grossman

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Vintage
01 December 2006
This sweeping account of the siege of Stalingrad aims to give as panoramic a view of Soviet society during World War II as Tolstoy did of Russian life in the epoch of the Napoleonic Wars. Completed in 1960 and then confiscated by the KGB, it remained unpublished at the author's death in 1964; it was smuggled into the West in 1980.

Grossman offers a bitter, compelling vision of a totalitarian regime where the spirit of freedom that arose among those under fire was feared by the state at least as much as were the Nazis. His huge cast of characters includes an old Bolshevik now under arrest, a physicist pressured to make his scientific discoveries conform to socialist reality and a Jewish doctor en route to the gas chambers in occupied Russia. Ironically, just as Stalingrad is liberated from the Germans, many of the characters find themselves bound in new slavery to the Soviet government. Yet Grossman suggests that the spirit of freedom can never be completely crushed. His lengthy, absorbing novel, which rejected the compromises of a lifetime and earned its author denunciation and disgrace testifies eloquently to that spirit
By:   Vasily Grossman
Imprint:   Vintage
Country of Publication:   United Kingdom
Dimensions:   Height: 198mm,  Width: 129mm,  Spine: 47mm
Weight:   653g
ISBN:   9780099506164
ISBN 10:   0099506165
Series:   Vintage Classic Russians Series
Pages:   912
Publication Date:   01 December 2006
Audience:   General/trade ,  ELT Advanced
Format:   Paperback
Publisher's Status:   Active

Vasily Grossman was born in 1905. In 1941, he became a war reporter for the Red Army newspaper Red Star and came to be regarded as a legendary war hero. Life and Fate, his masterpiece, was considered a threat to the totalitarian regime, and Grossman was told that there was no chance of the novel being published for another 200 years. Grossman died in 1964.

Reviews for Life and Fate

One of the greatest masterpieces of the twentieth century Times Literary Supplement It is only a matter of time before Grossman is acknowledged as one of the great writers of the 20th century... Life and Fate is a book that demands to be talked about Guardian One of the finest Russian novels of the 20th century Daily Telegraph Vasily Grossman's novel is burnt in my memory, not only by its huge canvas, its meditation on tyranny, and its dazzling description of war, but also because this is the novel that made me cry - not just a few leaked tears, but a full-scale sobbing episode - in Montpellier airport... Grossman lost his mother in a concentration camp. In Life and Fate, he writes with tenderness, and pain, not only of that experience but of what it is like to survive tyranny. A classic indeed -- Gillian Slovo Independent One of the great writers of the last century Observer


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