One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich gives any reader a reachable introduction to Solzhenitsyn. By dwelling on the concrete and living within Ivan's thoughts about his practical problems, Solzhenitsyn soulfully paints a lifescape of the goulag and the effects of Communism on regular people.
Here, in the authors nascent novel, he recounts the daily existence in the Siberian gulags of the 1940s-50s. Life is harsh for the prisoners and soldiers alike. Each face severe penalty for infraction of the rules. This short novel (only 140 pages) is a good introduction to the authors work.
Excellent read. You really feel the desperation and emotion that these poor people experienced under such extreme circumstances in the gulags. Some of the book was difficult to get through. It was time well spent and really made me a thankful for where I live and for the blessings I have. I recommend it highly.
A great look at another time and culture. Probably one of the most depressing books I have read. These men have no hope, no life. Even some extra bread is enough to bring some joy. If you think you have it bad then you need to read this.
Ed G. (hometown) reviewed One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich on
Alexander Solzhenytsin first burst on to the literary scene in this harrowing autobiographical novel based on his own experiences as a prisoner on a Siberian gulag after World War II. It was published in 1962 with the personal authorization of Soviet Premier Nikita Krushchev. Ironically, it was the last time Solzhenytsin would enjoy such official sanction. Almost immediately the lid came down on him. It's easy to see why. This book shows just how rotten, vile, hypocritical, and thoroughly despicable Stalinist Russia really was, and anyone die-hard Marxist who argues the contrary needs his eyes opened. Ironically, the book's publication in 1962 was taken as proof that the Soviet Union had changed, and Communist Parties in the west were among its most enthusiastic supporters. Solzhenitsyn writes in a spare, colloquial style, with liberal use of obscenity and slang, taking us through a typical day in the life of a typical prisoner. There is no torture or undue brutality, just back-breaking labor and no personal freedom. Although the Soviet empire crumbled in the early 1990s, it's easy to see that Solzhenitsyn's message is as pertinent today as ever, especially in the aftermath of Abu Ghraib and Guantanamo. This is a book everyone should read at least once, whatever their ideology.
I read this book over fifteen years ago and still remember it!
As a child in middle-school all I could think was: Wow. Why; because even the prison system here in the U.S. during that time frame was better than in Russia. Yet, I would imagine that some things were (or still are) very similar.
A Russian Classic, I read this my Russian Culture class at my college.
It gives an interesting insight on a another culture through the story of one man's life. I normally wouldn't read this of my own choice but I'm glad I read it.
The entire book takes place, as the title suggests, in one day. At first I found it dreadfully boring (although reading it for class doen't enthuse me too often) but once you get into it, it's hard to put down. The truth of the subject matter - shocking, especially since it's a work of (mostly) fiction.
This book is a great ready about the daily struggle of a man named Ivan who is trying to survive in a concentration camp. The book describes Ivan's encounters with the guards and the "games" that the guards use against the prisoners to cause problems amongst themselves. There is no friends for Ivan in this life that he now lives, no one is to be trusted. Even though each new day is like the day before, Ivan remains hopeful that somehow this new day will be just a little better than the last.