- Paperback: 204 pages
- Publisher: Bantam Books (1963)
- Language: English
- ASIN: B000I34AQO
- Product Dimensions: 6.9 x 4.2 x 0.7 inches
- Shipping Weight: 4.8 ounces
- Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars See all reviews (391 customer reviews)
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #557,741 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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One Day In The Life Of Ivan Denisovich Paperback – 1963
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Top Customer Reviews
Like anybody who's been in a highly structured and disciplined environment for a long time, Shukhov has developed his own individualized way of living day to day, bending the rules, avoiding punishment, and making life a little more bearable under the circumstances. Temperatures are commonly well below zero and the food is barely nutritional enough to keep the prisoners alive, but Shukhov has adapted well enough to know how to stay warm and make the most out of his meals. On this particular day, Shukhov's squad is forced to work construction; the novel describes how well Shukhov has honed his masonry skills as he expertly lays blocks and mortar building a wall for a building that will be used to hold future prisoners. Life at the camp has made him tough and independent; his only weakness is tobacco, for which he will beg, borrow, or steal.
The novel is based on Solzhenitsyn's own experience as a labor camp prisoner under Stalin's reign, and therefore it has a sincere, natural, brutal quality that not even someone like Orwell could imitate. More than anything, though, it portrays a man whose spirit is strong enough to triumph over the most extreme adversity.Read more ›
However, it is more than all the above. "One Day" is actually a searching look at human nature. The biting wind, jagged wire, frigid climate, watery soup, and the warmth provided by an extra pair of mittens or an hour of hard physical labor all find matches in the colorful crowd of characters that parades through this narrative - from the prison guards to the prisoners themselves to the prison director to the turncoat prisoners who sold their integrity for the favor of their oppressors.
This is a book to be read, first of all, for its historical value - a tribute to those who were imprisoned but whose voices were never heard, and a silent plea to commit all our forces to the proposition that such vileness will never reach our liberty-loving shores. No less importantly, this is a book that should prompt us to turn our eyes inward and question ourselves whether, in our own way, we are capable of committing the same atrocities against our fellow man, and whether, if subjected to the same suffering, we would have the strength of character to find as much comfort in a bowl of soup as we do now in the transient, unfounded knowledge that such inhumanity will not touch us.
As the title indicates, the story covers one day in Ivan Denisovich's ten-year prison sentence. Ivan is a peasant who runs afoul of the authorities when the Germans capture him during the war. When he finds his way back to the Soviet camp, the authorities charge him with treason and sentence him to the camps. Denisovich is luckier than many of his fellow convicts; they are serving 25-year sentences. This day is better for Ivan than most; he ends up getting a better work assignment, a member of his squad gets a parcel loaded with food, and Ivan manages to get extra food rations. He even scores some tobacco, his only weakness.
Ivan lives day by day; it is the only way he can survive the camps. What is most shocking about this book is the matter-of-fact way in which the story is told. All of life is reduced to acquiring food and staying warm. Following the rules and avoiding punishment is just as important. Woe to the man who ends up in the guardhouse cells for ten days.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
My husband kept recommending that I read this and I am glad I finally did. The author makes you feel cold, tired and hungry right along with the narrator. Read morePublished 7 hours ago by Amazon Customer
Not crazy about this book. No heroic virtue and enough cuss words. Not a single admirable character.Published 3 days ago by Angel
A dark story masterfuly crafted in a simple yet elegant structure.Published 14 days ago by Fredrik Rydlun
A classic. Truly gives an insight to what it's like to live under communism.Published 18 days ago by Hector I Chavez
This is the story of prison life - "a day in the life" - which is supposed to represent a typical day in a Siberian work camp. Read morePublished 1 month ago by The Brilliant Reviewer