Robert Chandler, Elizabeth Chandler
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|Buy Paperback||RRP £9.99 £8.49||1st September 2011 | 9780857381941|
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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.
‘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.
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