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.