One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich
For the centenary of the Russian Revolution, a new edition of the Russian Nobel Prize-winning author's most accessible novel
One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich is an undisputed classic of contemporary literature. First published (in censored form) in the Soviet journal Novy Mir in 1962, it is the story of labor-camp inmate Ivan Denisovich Shukhov as he struggles to maintain his dignity in the face of communist oppression. On every page of this graphic depiction of Ivan Denisovich's struggles, the pain of Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn's own decade-long experience in the gulag is apparent—which makes its ultimate tribute to one man's will to triumph over relentless dehumanization all the more moving.
An unforgettable portrait of the entire world of Stalin's forced-work camps, One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich is one of the most extraordinary literary works to have emerged from the Soviet Union. The first of Solzhenitsyn's novels to be published, it forced both the Soviet Union and the West to confront the Soviet's human rights record, and the novel was specifically mentioned in the presentation speech when Solzhenitsyn was awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1970. Above all, One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich establishes Solzhenitsyn's stature as "a literary genius whose talent matches that of Dostoevsky, Turgenev, Tolstoy" (Harrison Salisbury, The New York Times).
This unexpurgated, widely acclaimed translation by H. T. Willetts is the only translation authorized by Solzhenitsyn himself.
An Interesting Read!
This book can be a bit slow, but it does a good job painting a picture of what prison camp life might have been like. There are lots of characters, so keeping track of them can be a bit tricky. I really liked the hyper links that could take you to explanation and then back to the text.
Insightful & Memorable
First of all, whoever wrote the review listed here about Ivan having sex with children and animals... I don’t know what the heck you read but it was definitely not this book. That is completely made up and there is nothing like that in this book. It focuses on a single day in the life of a man imprisoned in a labor camp.
I read this as part of a class on prison literature and finished it in 4-5 hours. I do not know much about the Soviet Union but this story really inspired me to dig further into the history surrounding Ivan. It’s a great and accessible read that will expand your worldview and offer a new perspective.