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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
11,193180454 (4.03)447
One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich brilliantly portrays a single day, any day, in the life of a single Russian soldier who was captured by the Germans in 1945 and who managed to escape a few days later. Along with millions of others, this soldier was charged with some sort of political crime, and since it was easier to confess than deny it and die, Ivan Denisovich "confessed" to "high treason" and received a sentence of 10 years in a Siberian labor camp.… (more)
  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. 50
    Darkness at Noon by Arthur Koestler (BGP, chrisharpe)
  3. 40
    Life and Fate by Vasily Grossman (chrisharpe)
  4. 30
    Kolyma Tales by Varlam Shalamov (Eustrabirbeonne)
  5. 20
    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.
  6. 20
    If This Is a Man by Primo Levi (Eustrabirbeonne)
  7. 11
    If This Is a Man / The Truce by Primo Levi (hazzabamboo)
    hazzabamboo: Levi's memoir of Auschwitz is more 'literary', longer and bleaker, but both are gripping and extremely well written.
  8. 00
    The Day Will Pass Away: The Diary of a Gulag Prison Guard: 1935-1936 by Ivan Chistyakov (meggyweg)
  9. 00
    Without You, There Is No Us: My Time with the Sons of North Korea's Elite by Suki Kim (bks1953)
  10. 00
    Prisoner without a Name, Cell without a Number by Jacobo Timerman (eromsted)
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» See also 447 mentions

English (170)  Spanish (3)  French (2)  Swedish (1)  Hungarian (1)  Dutch (1)  German (1)  Catalan (1)  All languages (180)
Showing 1-5 of 170 (next | show all)
This was a quick, interesting read. But I just…didn’t really vibe with this book. It wasn’t bad, it was just slow and kind of mundane in my opinion for something that’s 100 pages. Maybe it was just the writing of the time, but I just didn’t really like it. As I said, it was an interesting read. Just not for me. ( )
  historybookreads | Jul 26, 2021 |
classic russian lit. Gulag life. ( )
  reader1009 | Jul 3, 2021 |
Excellent bok about the absolute despair of the Soviet gulags, it was used by Nikita Kruschchev to denounce Josef Stalin. Who knew how such mundane things such as food, sleep, and a smoke could take such a role in such desolate circumstances? ( )
  Jimbookbuff1963 | Jun 5, 2021 |
A short book - 144 pages that literally traces the events of a single day. The premise is that everyday is no different than this. Just more of the same, over and over. It traces the way the prisoners endured their unpredictable stays in the prison camps of Joseph Stalin in post war Russia with just a hint of it being the early days of the Korean war. They endure freezing cold constructing camps for others to eventually live in in an area no one would likely choose to come to on their own. Their coping mechanisms are extremely well thought out, they have nothing but time on their hands. There are endless counts to see if anyone has tried to escape even though escape in this area is likely to lead to death just from the cold. They work from dawn til dusk and often even on Sundays. What jumps out is the inhumanity that abounds. Almost everyone knows how and when to be cruel to another. Punishment is severe and not infrequently leads to death, but not today. The author clearly speaks from experience. It is hard to imagine that the coping mechanisms are just something he made up. Ivan has a good day, extra gruel, extra bread, created a wall of bricks with his gang mates, overcame obstacles such as non-working equipment, boot legged ways to cover windows to help keep warm, smuggles in some steel to make a knife to cut food, gets some tobacco, talks with gang mates, avoids making the guards angry, gets food from a gangmate package after showing him the ropes, yells at others occasionally, in short lives the good life for yet another day. ( )
  Ed_Schneider | Jun 2, 2021 |
Hard work does not always pay off. More so when you are a prisoner in a Gulag labour camp. And like some kind of a secret known to us all, it's cope with a mind-over-matter mindset. This pays off despite the harsh and unfair game of survival of the fittest under a temperature of -14 °C. A day may feel like an eternity but this one day in Ivan Denisovich's life, amidst the small hiccups through ordinary display of abuse and power, is slow and mostly okay. Interestingly, if not for its unforgettable setting, this may all seem eerily familiar and frightening. All the toiling, the exhaustion, the futile efforts of working to live and living to work—minus the visible prison bars, camp guards, and explicit rules—are synonymous to a prison themselves. But there's got to be a way out, isn't it? ( )
  lethalmauve | Jan 25, 2021 |
Showing 1-5 of 170 (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 (227 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Solzhenitsyn, Alexanderprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Hayward, MaxTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Hingley, RonaldTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Kalb, Marvin L.Introductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Labedz, LeopoldIntroductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Lahtela, MarkkuTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Neizvestny, ErnstCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Parker, RalphTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Shonk, KatherineIntroductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Tvardovsky, AlexanderForewordsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Valiulina, SanaAfterwordsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Vries, Theun deAfterwordsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Vries, Theun deTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Willetts, Harry T.Translatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Zelma, GeorgiCover photographersecondary 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.
[Foreword] The raw material of life which serves as a basis for A. Solzhenitsyn's story is unusual in Soviet literature.
[Introduction] Bertolt Brecht once observed that a country which needs heroes is an unfortunate one.
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.)
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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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One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich brilliantly portrays a single day, any day, in the life of a single Russian soldier who was captured by the Germans in 1945 and who managed to escape a few days later. Along with millions of others, this soldier was charged with some sort of political crime, and since it was easier to confess than deny it and die, Ivan Denisovich "confessed" to "high treason" and received a sentence of 10 years in a Siberian labor camp.

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Haiku summary
Secret mattress holes /
Trowel, mortar, checking string /
Salt pork bribery

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Penguin Australia

2 editions of this book were published by Penguin Australia.

Editions: 0141184744, 0141045353

Recorded Books

An edition of this book was published by Recorded Books.

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