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Vasily Grossman (1905–1964)

Teoksen Elämä ja kohtalo tekijä

55+ teosta 7,083 jäsentä 196 arvostelua 42 Favorited

Tietoja tekijästä

Grossman, a graduate in physics and mathematics from Moscow University, worked first as a chemical engineer and became a published writer during the mid-1930s. His early stories and novel deal with such politically orthodox themes as the struggle against the tsarist regime, the civil war, and the näytä lisää building of the new society. Grossman served as a war correspondent during World War II, publishing a series of sketches and stories about his experiences. Along with Ehrenburg, he edited the suppressed documentary volume on the fate of Soviet Jews, The Black Book. In 1952 the first part of his new novel, For the Good of the Cause, appeared and was sharply criticized for its depiction of the war. The censor rejected another novel, Forever Flowing (1955), which was circulated in samizdat and published in the West. The secret police confiscated a sequel to For the Good of the Cause, the novel Life and Fate, in 1961, but a copy was smuggled abroad and published in 1970. Grossman's books were issued in the Soviet Union in the late 1980s and have met with both admiration and, on part of the nationalist right wing, considerable hostility. (Bowker Author Biography) näytä vähemmän


Tekijän teokset

Elämä ja kohtalo (1984) 3,441 kappaletta
A Writer at War. Vasily Grossman with the Red Army 1941-1945 (2005) — Tekijä — 1,041 kappaletta
Kaikki virtaa (1970) 863 kappaletta
Stalingrad (1952) 668 kappaletta
The Road (1998) 397 kappaletta
An Armenian Sketchbook (1998) 247 kappaletta
The People Immortal (1942) 98 kappaletta
La cagnetta (2013) 13 kappaletta
Brieven aan mijn moeder (2011) 12 kappaletta
Ucraina senza ebrei (2023) 9 kappaletta
Oeuvres (2006) 8 kappaletta
Las buenas compañías (2011) 7 kappaletta
Fosforo (1991) 5 kappaletta
Que el bien os acompañe (2019) 5 kappaletta
Bem Hajam! (2014) 5 kappaletta
La Madonna a Treblinka (2007) 3 kappaletta
In the Town of Berdichev (2007) 3 kappaletta
מוטיבים יהודיים 2 (1990) 2 kappaletta
2007 2 kappaletta
No Beautiful Nights (1944) 1 kappale
Peur (2006) 1 kappale
New Writing 2: Fall, 1936 (1936) 1 kappale
Wszystko płynie (2024) 1 kappale

Associated Works

The Penguin Book of Hell (2018) — Avustaja — 188 kappaletta
Great Soviet Short Stories (1962) — Avustaja — 77 kappaletta
The Red Thread: Twenty Years of NYRB Classics: A Selection (2019) — Avustaja — 58 kappaletta
Granta 145: Ghosts (2018) — Avustaja — 49 kappaletta
Der Irrtum. Russische Erzählungen. (1999) — Avustaja — 6 kappaletta
Moderne russische Erzähler — Tekijä — 2 kappaletta

Merkitty avainsanalla


Kanoninen nimi
Grossman, Vassili
Virallinen nimi
Grossman, Vasilij Semenovic
Troyekurovskoye Cemetery Moscow, Russia
Maa (karttaa varten)
Berdichev, Ukraine, Russian Empire
Moscow, Soviet Union
Moscow, Soviet Union
Geneva, Switzerland
Kiev, Ukraine, Soviet Union
Moscow State University
war correspondent
chemical engineer
Red Star (Krasnaya Zvezda)
Palkinnot ja kunnianosoitukset
Red Banner of Labor
Lyhyt elämäkerta
Born in the Ukraine in 1905, Vasilly Grossman published his first novel 'Stepan Gluchkauf 'in 1933. Grossman was Jewish and his place of birth was one of the largest Jewish communities in Eastern Europe. Grossman is most notable for his work as a journalist during WWII and his eyewitness accounts of the fall of Stalingrad, the fall of Berlin and the Holocaust. He published the first account of a German death camp written by a journalist. He went on to publish a novel about Stalingrad in 1952 called "For a Just Cause" and in 1960 "Life and Fate".



Life and Fate featured on BBC R4, Fans of Russian authors (syyskuu 2011)
Life and Fate: Part 1, Group Reads - Literature (marraskuu 2009)


I have been reading Vasily Grossman's novel Stalingrad for ages, because it's 900+ pages long and it's too heavy to hold, so I can't read it in bed, only in the daytime, when I can rest it on a table. It's a wonderful book, full of all sorts of insights which have nothing to do with war or the decisive Soviet defeat of the Nazis at Stalingrad in 1942.

Stalingrad (1952) is based on Grossman's work as a war correspondent for the Red Star, and it features characters from military real life on both sides of the battle. It is the precursor to Life and Fate (1959, see my review) which continues on with events from September 1942. It is sobering to reach the end of a 900+ page book about the battle that changed the course of the war, and then to remember that the war in Europe was to continue for another three years. The loss of life was appalling, and Grossman's literary homage to the dead acknowledges these nameless heroes in unmarked graves with lively fictional characters. But as in real life, not all of them survive.

As Robert Chandler says in his excellent introduction, Grossman is a master of character portrayal, with an unusual gift for conveying someone's feelings through some tiny but vivid detail.
Grossman is equally deft in his shifts of perspective, moving between the microscopic and the epic and showing the same generous understanding towards his German characters as towards his Russians. (p. x)

We are privy to scenes of their family life; their transition from peasant or professor to soldiering; their privations, trials, frustrations and doubts; and their anxieties about their comrades and their loved ones, on both sides of the front.

One of the most compelling images is a letter from Viktor Shtrum from his Jewish mother, who refused to leave her village even as the Nazis advanced and the Soviet forces had to retreat. Viktor becomes aware of Nazi atrocities in occupied territory, and he is distraught with anxiety about her fate, but (again, as Chandler makes the reader aware), Grossman, because of anti-semitism under Stalin, had to be circumspect about what he wrote. But the reader can deduce what happens. We are told about Shtrum's mother's last letter and her stoic resignation. We are told about its journey from hand to hand. And we are told how when he finally receives it, Viktor carries the letter about with him wherever he goes, but is unable to talk about it. This authorial silence about the contents of the letter is more poignant when we learn that these events parallel the fate of Grossman's own mother.
He felt profoundly guilty about having allowed his mother to stay in Berdichev rather than insisting that he join him and his wife in Moscow. Her death troubled him for the rest of his life and the last letter from Anna Semyonova — who is clearly a portrait of Grossman's mother — lies at the centre of Stalingrad like a deep hole. (p.xvi)

In contrast to Anna's death in the ghetto, which we must imagine, there are also deaths which are swift, merciless and as the battles intensify towards the end of the book, relentless. Grossman sets a scene, brings a character to life, depicts his thoughts, words and deeds, and while the reader is still absorbing the death of this vividly rendered character, moves on to the next chapter.

These characters are unforgettable.

Lena Gnatyuk tends to the injured in the ruins, pleading with the injured to keep quiet so that the nearby Germans won't hear them. In these closing chapters the reader has come to know Lena as Kovalyov's heart's desire. In the bunker they have had a fraught conversation, because he has a girl waiting for him at home, and she, though she loves him, is overwhelmed by her duty to the wounded who need her. They are part of a desperate effort to delay the German capture of the railway station until the reserves arrive, and both know that they are likely to die.

In the next chapter, we see Lena at work among the wounded. Yakhontov yells in pain, but comforts the young woman who tends to him.
'You're good and kind. Don't cry, I'll feel better in a while, 'he said, but the young woman didn't hear this. He thought he was pronouncing words, but all she heard was a gurgle.

Lena Gnatyuk did not sleep that night. (p.833)

She reassures a soldier that his two broken legs will be set:
'It won't hurt. Be brave. Be brave until morning.'

In the dawn light, as it went into a dive over the railway station, the nose and wings of the Stuka turned pink. A high-explosive bomb fell in the pit where Lena Gnatyuk and two orderlies were caring for the wounded. Every last breath of life was cut short.

A cloud of dust and smoke, reddish brown in the light of the rising sun, hung in the air for a long time. Then a breeze off the Volga dispersed it over the steppe to the west of the city. (p.834)

To read the rest of my review please visit https://anzlitlovers.com/2024/05/05/stalingrad-1952-by-vasily-grossman-translate...
… (lisätietoja)
Merkitty asiattomaksi
anzlitlovers | 14 muuta kirja-arvostelua | May 4, 2024 |
Vida y destino
Vasili Grossman
Publicado: 1959 | 808 páginas
Novela Drama

«Vida y destino» consigue emocionar, conmover y perturbar al lector desde la primera línea y resiste —si no supera— la comparación con otras obras maestras como «Guerra y paz» o «Doctor Zhivago». En la batalla de Stalingrado, el ejército nazi y las tropas soviéticas escriben una de las páginas más sangrientas de la historia. Pero la historia también está hecha de pequeños retazos de vida de la gente que lucha para sobrevivir al terror del régimen estalinista y al horror del exterminio en los campos, para que la libertad no sea aplastada por el yugo del totalitarismo, para que el ser humano no pierda su capacidad de sentir y amar. En la literatura hay pocas novelas que hayan logrado transmitir esto con tanta intensidad. «Vida y destino» es una novela de guerra, una saga familiar, una novela política, una novela de amor. Es todo eso y mucho más. Vasili Grossman aspiraba quizás a cambiar el mundo con su novela, pero lo que es seguro es que «Vida y destino» le cambia la vida a quien se adentra en sus páginas.… (lisätietoja)
Merkitty asiattomaksi
libreriarofer | 88 muuta kirja-arvostelua | Apr 25, 2024 |
I've had The People Immortal on the TBR since it was first published in translation in 2022, but I only got round to reading it now because, thinking it was a new title by Grossman, I borrowed the library copy that was on display... before realising that I had borrowed a book that I've already got...

(Conversely, I borrowed a library copy of Gail Jones' new novel One Another and was about half way through when I realised I had to have my own copy, and I bought it this week at Benn's Bookshop where I met up for the first time with Jennifer from Tasmanian Bibliophile at Large.)

It's difficult to write about novels of war at this time. There is a proxy war of attrition between the US and Russia, and there is asymmetrical warfare in the Middle East, both of these wars causing suffering on all sides, and neither of them are being objectively reported by independent war correspondents. The People Immortal is to some extent a work of propaganda too, although unlike the journalists reporting on the current conflicts, Grossman was 'on the ground' reporting for the Red Star, and he spoke the lingua franca of the soldiers among whom he travelled. And although there were constraints on what he could publish, he wrote about the realities of war, with tenderness and clarity emerging from his first hand experience among ordinary people.

(Soviet war correspondents were not the only ones constrained by wartime censorship. John Steinbeck's brilliant Once There was a War begins with a piece written from a troopship travelling to an unknown destination, which we now know was heading for the D-day landings. But Steinbeck did not have to fear his political leaders in the way that Grossman did, see my review of An Armenian Sketchbook.)

FWIW the bestselling (i.e. populist) British historian Antony Beevor has a very high opinion of Grossman's war reportage. He has even edited a translation by Dr. Lyubov Vinogradov of Grossman's A Writer at War: Vasily Grossman with the Red Army 1941–1945. The blurb at Goodreads describes it as a vivid eyewitness account of the Eastern Front and 'the ruthless truth of war.'

The 'ruthless truth' was that in 1941, a poorly prepared Russia was reeling from Hitler's breach of the Molotov-Ribbentrop non-aggression pact. You only have to watch a couple of episodes of the documentary Soviet Storm on YouTube with its helpful maps to see how rapidly the German invasion over-ran the Soviets, occupying vast swathes of Soviet territory all the way to the outskirts of Moscow. (The post-Soviet Russian-made Soviet Storm is also a work of propaganda, but it's a useful corrective to the Cold War propaganda that WW2 was won on D-Day. It acknowledges the catastrophic losses and the suffering, and it also identifies Stalin's purges of military leaders and disastrous decisions by the Stavka, and acknowledges Lend Lease and other allied contributions.)

Grossman's novel, published in the early stages of the war, is about a group of soldiers who were part of the thousands trapped in a massive German encirclement, summarised in the blurb like this:
Set during the catastrophic first months of the German invasion of the Soviet Union, this is the tale of an army battalion dispatched to slow the advancing enemy at any cost, with encirclement and annihilation its promised end.

Writing even at this early stage of the war, Grossman saw the scale of the conflict:
In vain do poets make out in song that the names of the dead will live forever. In vain do they write poems assuring dead heroes that they continue to live, that their memory and names are eternal. In vain do thoughtless writers make such claims in their books, promising what no soldier would ever ask them to promise. Human memory simply cannot hold thousands of names. He who is dead is dead. Those who go to their death understand this. A nation of millions is now going out to die for its freedom, just as it used to go out to work in field and factory. (p.150)

To read the rest of my review please visit https://anzlitlovers.com/2024/04/01/the-people-immortal-1942-by-vasily-grossman-...
… (lisätietoja)
Merkitty asiattomaksi
anzlitlovers | 1 muu arvostelu | Mar 31, 2024 |
Cronicas de a segunda guerra mundial
Merkitty asiattomaksi
amlobo | 14 muuta kirja-arvostelua | Mar 31, 2024 |



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