'Readers familiar with his novels will be surprised by his short fiction. They show a writer of infinite variety' Victor Sebestyen, The Sunday Times.
'No one knew better than Grossman what people are capable of. These stories and essays are one of the cultural monuments of the 20th century' David Herman, New Statesman.
'The unstinting championing of ordinary human emotion is what strikes hardest in Grossman's style ... Grossman manages to find human simplicity in his characters at the very apex of pain and disaster' Daily Telegraph.
'This collection of short fiction and essays from the remarkable and criminally under-read Soviet writer includes haunting short stories and his excoriating wartime exposé of the Treblinka death camp' Benjamin Evans, Sunday Telegraph.
'Grossman's stories are so affecting partly because they look so unflinchingly at human nature, combining a journalist's eye with a fascination for humanity enduring under near-intolerable circumstances.' Metro.
'The only subject and the only hope is humanity' Brian Morton, Scottish Sunday Herald.
'Grossman deserves a special, if not revered, place as a recorder of some of the worst excesses of the 20th century - indeed, of any century. A casual reader may be lured into thinking this to be a collection of fictional short stories depicting the hardships and privations of Soviet life. But on page 126 comes an abrupt and horrifying awakening … 'The Hell of Treblinka' ... nothing prepares us for the force of Grossman's description; his detailed, harrowing reconstruction of what happened' Scotsman.
'Grossman's trajectory is clear in his short fiction and essays: early essays explore the ardent patriotism that fired Russia; later ones such as the title story, 'The Road', an allegory of a beaten mule pulling a munitions train that offers a bitter reflection on life, hint at dangerous disillusionment ... The Road is an excellent introduction to Grossman's hauntingly powerful fiction and reportage' James Urquhart, Financial Times.
'a richness and clarity to a fascinating period and define Grossman as one of the great literary figures of the last century' Good Book Guide.
'This superbly edited compendium of his writing, containing short stories, journalism and letters to his dead mother, allows us to access the nature and success of his enterprise. Through its lucid notes and essays it also serves as a first-class companion to the terrible history of mid-20th-century central Europe.' Jewish Chronicle.
'...his vivid dispatches, some newly translated for this superb collection, retain a freshness that only the finest journalism can. The 11 short stories also collected here show a writer of infinite variety, and the bulk of them will enhance his reputation ... his is a powerful voice of conscience' Sunday Times.
By the author of Life and Fate, now a major Radio 4 drama starring Kenneth Branagh.
Vasily Grossman is widely recognized as one of the outstanding literary figures of the twentieth century. The short fiction collected here - satire, comedy, tragedy and pure narrative - illustrate the remarkable breadth of his work, and demonstrate all the bold intelligence, delicate irony and extraordinary vividness for which he has become known.
In addition to the eleven stories, this volume includes the complete text of 'The Hell of Treblinka', one of the first descriptions of a Nazi extermination camp; a powerful and harrowing piece of journalism written only weeks after the camp was dissolved.
Beautifully illuminated by Robert Chandler's introductions and endnotes, with photographs from the family archive, and an Afterword by Grossman's stepson, Fyodor Guber.
Vasily Grossman was born in 1905 into a Jewish family in Ukraine. Life and Fate, his masterpiece, was considered a threat to the totalitarian regime, and Grossman was told that there was no chance of the novel being published for another 200 years. He died in 1964.
Robert and Elizabeth Chandler have together translated the works of Andrey Platonov and Everything Flows by Vasily Grossman. Robert is the translator of Grossman's Life and Fate and the author of Alexander Pushkin (Hesperus, 2009).
July 4, 2011 3:07 pm
How terribly moving, amidst this collection of essays and fiction, to come across two letters written by Grossman to his dead mother. The first is written 9 years after her death: "One night, at the front, I had a dream. I entered a room, knowing that it was your room, and saw an empty armchair, knowing that it was where you slept. Draped across it was a shawl you used to put over your legs you used to put over your legs. I looked at this empty armchair for a long time; when I woke from the dream, I knew that you were no more." The second, twenty years after: "through all these twenty years the grief has been constantly with me." These letters bering a harrowing perspective to Grossman's portrayals of the brutal darkness and beauty of Europe in the first half of the century. The translation is apt, shapely, beautiful, and yet still holds some feel of the original Ukraine voice.
I wholeheartedly recommend this collection, and only wonder why it has taken so long for the name of Vasily Grossman to come into common literary parlance.
MacLehose Press staff memberBack To Top ^