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One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich by…
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One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich (1962)

by Alexander Solzhenitsyn

Other authors: See the other authors section.

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
8,026105400 (4.04)327
  1. 70
    The Gulag Archipelago, 1918-1956 : an experiment in literary investigation {Volume One, Parts I-II} by Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn (editfish)
    editfish: A novella exploring a typical day in the life of a 'slogger' in one of Stalin's prison (Destructive Labor) camps.
  2. 40
    Life and Fate by Vassili Grossman (chrisharpe)
  3. 40
    Darkness at Noon by Arthur Koestler (BGP, chrisharpe)
  4. 30
    Kolyma Tales by Varlam Shalamov (Eustrabirbeonne)
  5. 20
    Survival In Auschwitz by Primo Levi (Eustrabirbeonne)
  6. 10
    Forest of the Gods by Balys Sruoga (satanburger)
    satanburger: the account of a man from the lithuanian intelligentsia who was imprisoned in a concentration camp by the nazis and kept there by the soviets. very dark humour.
  7. 00
    Prisoner Without a Name, Cell Without a Number by Jacobo Timerman (eromsted)
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Showing 1-5 of 101 (next | show all)
This is a fantastic look at the post WWII gulag system in the USSR. It is literally one day in the life of a typical prisoner. The things he is joyful for, the misery he endures & how he continues to live are incredibly engaging, yet horrifying.

I recommend this to anyone who is certain that the State has a better nature or those who are sure there is good in everyone. The evil that can be institutionalized by men is incredible. ( )
  jimmaclachlan | Aug 18, 2014 |
One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich is an exposé of the brutal treatment millions of Russians suffered at the hands of their own government under Stalin. Rightfully then, this is a shocking and revealing book that shows the brutalisation and inhumanity suffered by the inmates of the Gulag, imposed on them by their fellow countrymen.

Through the eyes of Ivan Denisovich the reader sees one day in his decade-long sentence and how he and the fellow members of his work team struggle to cope in the frigidly cold of Siberian winters. Yet, its characterisation feels at times flat and the monotony present in the daily life of both Ivan Denisovich and Aleksandr Solzhentitsyn breaks through too much.

However, what this book truly does well is serve as a powerful and frightening indictment of the brutality of the Soviet system and forces the reader to once more ponder man's own mistreatment of his fellow human beings and the depths to which such mistreatment can sink. ( )
  xuebi | May 30, 2014 |
Shocking, like a horror movie. It's the punishment of Gulag Archipelago rolled into one punch to the stomach. The images are stark and stay with you for the rest of your life. Read this and take nothing for granted again. ( )
  mobill76 | Apr 22, 2014 |
‘One Day’ (or fixed time) books have always been very interesting to me – from wake to sleep for an individual, a day usually chosen for no particular reason but to share a ‘typical’ day and yet is never typical. This day of Ivan Denisovich Shukhov is no exception – a man serving a 10 year sentence in one of the Siberian labor/detention camps, commonly known as gulag. Published on Nov 20, 1962, then Premier Kjrushchev, whose political agenda benefited from surfacing the dark side of the Stalinist regime, personally approved its publication. The sensation of this story is that it’s entirely relatable to the many families who had been impacted by non-existing laws that resulted in non-existing crimes that resulted in very real penalties of 10 year, 25 year, or up to life sentences in the gulag. Sadly, Alexander Solzhenitsyn is an author writing from this own experiences in the gulag.

The beauty of this story is that it wasn’t written to criticize, to document, or even be angry about this portion of history. It’s just another day. We learn about the different aspects that make up the gulag – the staff, guards, the different goals and character types of the prisoners and his squad, the camp life, the shortages of supplies, the harsh environment, and how to use your smarts to survive. Ivan Denisovich Shukhov is an entirely likeable character whose inner strength, perseverance, intelligence, morality shines through in his world. Repeated themes include:
Temperature: “How can you expect a man who’s warm to understand a man who’s cold?”
Time: “Shukhov looked up at the sky and gasped – the sun had climbed almost to the dinner hour. Wonder of wonders! How time flew when you were working! That was something he’d often noticed. The days rolled by in the camp – they were over before you could say ‘knife.’ But the years, they never rolled by; they never moved by a second.”
Food: “He dug in. First he only drank the broth, drank and drank. As it went down, filling his whole body with warmth, all his guts began to flutter inside him at their meeting with that stew. Goo-ood! There it comes, that brief moment for which a zek lives.”

The book has such a matter-of-fact styling that I almost forget how bad life really was/is. Heck, it was even a good day. I particularly liked the ending. Makes the reader cheer for him a little, be happy for him a little, and hope he in fact gets out after the 10 years. Cheers Ivan!
“Shukhov went to sleep fully content. He’d had many strokes of luck that day: they hadn’t put him in the cells; they hadn’t sent his squad to the settlement; he’d swiped a bowl of kasha at dinner; the squad leader had fixed the rates well; he’d built a wall and enjoyed doing it; he’d smuggled that bit of hacksaw blade through; he’d earned a favor from Tsezar that evening; he’d bought that tobacco. And he hadn’t fallen ill. He’d got over it.
A day without dark cloud. Almost a happy day.
There were three thousand six hundred and fifty-three days like that in his stretch. From the first clang of the rail to the last clang of the rail.
Three thousand six hundred and fifty-three days.
The three extra days were for leap years.” ( )
1 vote varwenea | Nov 26, 2013 |
If you can't face the idea of reading the entirety of Solzhenitsyn's Gulag Archipelago, this makes a good second choice. It follows a day in the life of one of the prisoners in a Russian gulag, and touches on a lot of issues that faced them -- and, of course, the author really was one of those prisoners himself, so it is very close to not being fiction at all. It's not an easy read, emotionally, but it's easier than Gulag Archipelago for sure.

When I read Gulag Archipelago, I was sure that the very existence of such accounts would help to prevent such a thing from happening again. I'm less sure, now. But it's still worth reading to understand the depths to which we can sink. ( )
1 vote shanaqui | Oct 21, 2013 |
Showing 1-5 of 101 (next | show all)
This quiet tale has struck a powerful blow against the return of the horrors of the Stalin system. For Solzhenitsyn's words burn like acid.
 

» Add other authors (72 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Solzhenitsyn, Alexanderprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Parker, RalphTranslatormain authorsome editionsconfirmed
Kalb, Marvin L.Introductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Lahtela, MarkkuTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Tvardosky, AlexanderForewordsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Vries, Theun deTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Epigraph
Dedication
[Translator's Dedication] To my grandson, Dmitri Ivanovich, with thoughts of the future
First words
As usual, at five o'clock that morning reveille was sounded by the blows of a hammer on a length of rail hanging up near the staff quarters.
Quotations
Apart from sleep, the only time a prisoner lives for himself is ten minutes in the morning at breakfast, five minutes over dinner, and five at supper.
There was truth in that. Better to growl and submit. If you were stubborn they broke you.
You should rejoice that you're in prison. Here you have time to think about your soul.
When you’re cold, don’t expect sympathy from someone who’s warm.
Last words
(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
Disambiguation notice
Please do not combine editions that include other works, or critical companions and study guides (such as Monarch Notes Study Guides) with this original 1962 novel. Thank you.
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Wikipedia in English (2)

Book description
AR 5.5, 8 Pts
-------------------------

This is the terrifying story of an almost unbelievable man-made hell - the Soviet Work camps - and of one man's heroic struggle to survive in the face of the most determined efforts to destroy him - a scathing indictment of Communist tyranny that has shaken the whole Soviet world.
Haiku summary

Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0374529523, Paperback)

Solzhenitsyn's first book, this economical, relentless novel is one of the most forceful artistic indictments of political oppression in the Stalin-era Soviet Union. The simply told story of a typical, grueling day of the titular character's life in a labor camp in Siberia, is a modern classic of Russian literature and quickly cemented Solzhenitsyn's international reputation upon publication in 1962. It is painfully apparent that Solzhenitsyn himself spent time in the gulags--he was imprisoned for nearly a decade as punishment for making derogatory statements about Stalin in a letter to a friend.

(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:47:27 -0400)

(see all 10 descriptions)

Ivan Denisovich is a prisoner in a Soviet labor camp who faces daily hardships and struggles to maintain his humanity.

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Penguin Australia

Two editions of this book were published by Penguin Australia.

Editions: 0141184744, 0141045353

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