Jump to ratings and reviews
Rate this book

One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich

Rate this book
The only English translation authorized by Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn

First published in the Soviet journal Novy Mir in 1962, One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich stands as a classic of contemporary literature. The story of labor-camp inmate Ivan Denisovich Shukhov, it graphically describes his struggle to maintain his dignity in the face of communist oppression. 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 documents to have emerged from the Soviet Union and confirms Solzhenitsyn's stature as "a literary genius whose talent matches that of Dosotevsky, Turgenev, Tolstoy"--Harrison Salisbury

This unexpurgated 1991 translation by H. T. Willetts is the only authorized edition available, and fully captures the power and beauty of the original Russian.

182 pages, Paperback

First published January 1, 1962

Loading interface...
Loading interface...

About the author

Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn

352 books3,405 followers
also known as
Alexander Solzenitsyn (English, alternate)
Αλεξάντρ Σολζενίτσιν (Greek)

Works, including One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich (1962) and The Gulag Archipelago (1973-1975), of Soviet writer and dissident Aleksandr Isayevich Solzhenitsyn, awarded the Nobel Prize for literature in 1970, exposed the brutality of the labor camp system.

This known Russian novelist, dramatist, and historian best helped to make the world aware of the forced Gulag.

Exiled in 1974, he returned to Russia in 1994. Solzhenitsyn fathered of Ignat Solzhenitsyn, a conductor and pianist.


Ratings & Reviews

What do you think?
Rate this book

Friends & Following

Create a free account to discover what your friends think of this book!

Community Reviews

5 stars
35,446 (32%)
4 stars
42,633 (39%)
3 stars
23,149 (21%)
2 stars
5,185 (4%)
1 star
1,557 (1%)
Displaying 1 - 30 of 5,535 reviews
Profile Image for TK421.
556 reviews261 followers
April 3, 2011
Dear Mr. Solzhenitsyn,

I am not a Russian scholar, not even in the armchair variety. But you have done something magical in ONE DAY IN THE LIFE OF IVAN DENISOVICH that eclipsed this reader's ignorance: you have transmuted what it was like to live a life day-in and day-out in much the same fashion. Think about it: Morning, the same as yesterday. Afternoon: the same as yesterday's afternoon. The night: yep, the same. And this made me yearn for a day when Ivan would awaken and see that it would be different.

This ability to create (which you lived for a time) a life of perpetual recycling was heartbreaking, and so real that it made me think of not only Russian dissidents (political or otherwise), but of all the people incarcerated now in prisons, relationships (marriages, dating), loneliness, jobs, or, to a certain degree, aimless lives. To think that every morning is going to be bleak when one awaits sleep, mortified and numbed and haunted my thoughts as I read this novel.

Add in the fact that Ivan never knew if more time was going to be added on his sentence or if he was going to die in this desolate gulag, I had a real hard time distancing myself from this character. I live a very happy life. I have a wife I love and adore and two beautiful children, a house, a career (at times I would trade this), always a full stomach, clothes, cable, thousands of books, and countless friends. But even with all these pleasures, the thought of being isolated in a world were insubordination was met with violence or, worse, disappearance, became my mental reality, trapping me in this world that you created.

Dark thoughts permeated throughout my mind like a giant shark searching for prey and ate my happiness. Rarely has such a deft, short novel made such an emotional impact on me.

This, sir, is why you are one of my favorite authors.

Profile Image for Lisa.
977 reviews3,327 followers
July 23, 2019
Some Nobel Prizes in Literature resulted in more trouble than glory for the laureates. Little did it matter to Harry Martinson that his genius epic poem Aniara: An Epic Science Fiction Poem spoke for his worthiness as a Nobel Laureate, the bad press that followed the announcement ruined his mental health.

In the case of Solzhenitsyn, the attention he received internationally after the award quite literally threatened his physical well-being and his ability to live and write in the country he considered his home, despite its oppression and cruelty.

His most well-known work, describing one single day in the life of an inmate in a Soviet Gulag, quite miraculously was approved for publication in the Soviet Union in 1962, and played a major role in the decision to award Solzhenitsyn the Nobel Prize in 1970.

As a harrowing, cold, sharp witness account of the suffering of Gulag prisoners, it is a document of universal importance. It does for Soviet history what All Quiet on the Western Front does for the history of World War I, depicting the experience of one protagonist in a sharp realism that makes the reader shudder.

I felt cold, I felt hungry, I felt scared, I felt harassed, I felt helpless, I felt hopeless, I felt powerless, I felt humiliated.

Every single emotion described in the book immediately transferred to me, and made me live through this one particular day in the gulag. Very much like the soldier in All Quiet on the Western Front, the prisoner does not have time to be worrying about the political system that placed him in his living hell. His sole focus must be to get through the day, and then wake up the next morning and face it again, constantly fighting the biological needs of his body. The repetition of the suffering is the hellish part of the story, made crystal clear in the heartbreaking final sentence:

“The end of an unclouded day. Almost a happy one. Just one of the 3,653 days of his sentence, from bell to bell. The extra three were for leap years.”

For the reader, suffering through the ONE SINGLE DAY in a reading chair, with a cup of hot tea and shortbread and a warm blanket, was hard. The unimaginable reality of the real prisoners is summed up in the accurate account of how many of those days they LIVED through, not forgetting the three extras for leap years. Imagine reading this story 3,653 times. And it would still be much more comfortable than living it. And don't forget that you only have to deal with one of the unclouded, almost happy days! And you don't have to die in the end, after years of suffering, like the hero of All Quiet on the Western Front, who lived through the trench warfare reality only to die in October 1918, a completely unimportant, random detail in the big schemes of things.

One day in one life, but there were so many days,and so many lives!

Solzhenitsyn received the Nobel Prize "for the ethical force with which he has pursued the indispensable traditions of Russian literature".

This was already perfectly outlined in "One Day", and then shown in a magnificent parable in the Cancer Ward, where different individuals from a variety of political and social backgrounds find themselves with a disease that destroys them from within, and there is nothing they can do to prevent it from happening. The gulag was one symptom of the symbolical illness that spread in the Soviet Union!

A must-read for people interested in the connection between literature and history. Put on a warm jacket, though, it is going to be freezing cold!
Profile Image for Ahmad Sharabiani.
9,566 reviews56.6k followers
October 31, 2021
‭Один день Ивана Денисовича = Odin den Ivana Denisovicha = One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich, Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn

One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich, is a novel by Russian writer Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn, first published in November 1962 in the Soviet literary magazine Novy Mir (New World).

The story is set in a Soviet labor camp in the 1950's and describes a single day in the life of ordinary prisoner, Ivan Denisovich Shukhov.

عنوانهای چاپ شده در ایران: «یک روز از زندگی ایوان دنیسوویچ»؛ «یک روز از زندگی ایوان دنیسویچ»؛ «یک روزِ ایوان دنیسوویچ»؛ تاریخ نخستین خوانش روز بیست و یکم ماه فوریه سال1972میلادی

عنوان: یک روز از زندگی ایوان دنیسوویچ؛ نویسنده: الکساندر سولژنیتسین؛ مترجم جواد میرکریمی؛ تهران، صبح امروز، سال1343؛ در166ص؛ موضوع داستانهای نویسندگان روسیه - سده 20م

عنوان: یک روز از زندگی ایوان دنیسویچ؛ نویسنده: الکساندر سولژنیتسین؛ مترجم هوشنگ حافظی پور؛ تهران، دریا، سال1350؛ در236ص؛

عنوان: یک روزِ ایوان دنیسوویچ؛ نویسنده: الکساندر سولژنیتسین؛ مترجم: رضا فرخفال؛ تهران، فاریاب، سال1363؛ در230ص؛ چاپ دیگر تهران، نشر کوچک، سال1388؛ در191ص؛ شابک9789645589460؛ چاپ دیگر تهران، نشر ماهی؛ سال1394، در206ص؛ شابک9789642092208؛

عنوان: یک روز از زندگی ایوان دنیسویچ؛ نویسنده: الکساندر سولژنیتسین؛ مترجم فهیمه توزنده جانی؛ تهران، تندیس، سال1390؛ در177ص؛ شابک9786001820526؛

نخستین بار، در ماه نوامبر سال1962میلادی، در مجله ادبی «نوی میر (دنیای نو)»، در «شوروی پیشین» منتشر شد؛ کتاب درباره ی اردوگاه‌های کار اجباری، در دهه ی پنجاه سده بیستم میلادی، در «شوروی پیشین» است، و زندگی یک روز یک زندانی معمولی، با نام «ایوان دنیسویچ شوخوف» را، بازگو می‌کند؛ انتشار کتاب، رویدادی نامعمول، در تاریخ ادبیات «شوروی» بود، چرا که پیش از آن، هیچ کتابی درباره ی سرکوبی‌های دوران «استالین»، منتشر نشده بود؛ سردبیر مجله ی «نوی میر»، مقدمه ی کوتاهی، با عنوان «به جای پی‌نوشت» نوشت، تا خوانشگران، برای آنچه تجربه خواهند کرد، آماده باشند؛ کتاب دست کم چهار بار، به «انگلیسی» ترجمه شده است، که ترجمه آخر را، «سولژنیتسن» تأیید کرده است؛ «ایوان دنیسویچ شوخوف»؛ محکوم به حبس، در مجموعه زندانهای «گولاگ»، در «شوروی پیشین»، به جرم جاسوسی برای «آلمانی‌»ها، پس از به اسارت گرفته شدن در جریان جنگ جهانی دوم می‌شود؛ او بی‌گناه است، با اینحال، حکومت او را، به جرم جاسوسی تنبیه می‌کند؛ او به ده سال زندان محکوم می‌شود، اما در کتاب تأکید می‌شود، که بسیاری، هیچگاه آنجا را، ترک نمی‌کردند؛ در بند آخر گفته می‌شود، که «شوخوف» دقیقاً ده سال در آنجا می‌ماند – نه بیشتر و نه کمتر؛

تاریخ بهنگام رسانی 05/1399هجری خورشیدی؛ 08/08/1400هجری خورشیدی؛ ا. شربیانی
Profile Image for Brad.
Author 2 books1,691 followers
March 9, 2011
I want to appreciate life the way Ivan Denisovich Shukov does.

I want to take pride in my work; I want to taste every bite of sausage, suck the marrow out of every fish bone, enjoy every puff of every cigarette, bask in a sunset, watch the moon cross the sky, fall asleep content; I want to focus on the necessities of living; I want to focus on life, but I have too much. It's not much compared to most everyone I know, but it is still too much.

And because it is too much I can't appreciate life the way Ivan Denisovich Shukov does. Reading about it is not enough, but right now it is what I have.

I'll keep trying.
Profile Image for Luís.
1,864 reviews524 followers
November 9, 2022
But how long it was, this day spent in the company of Ivan Denisovich.
Long after a preface that is very useful to read.
This cold winter day (almost minus 40 degrees below zero) is like a chronogram with no indication of the hours. Besides, what would a watch or a clock do for the poor zeks of this prison??
This day does not end in this infinite pain of Ivan Denisovich and his companions in misfortune.
A worthy (sic) heir of Ivan the Terrible and his gang of degenerates sent Ivan Denisovich to lose himself in the gulag. Only the death of the red tyrant will allow them to get out, these triple numbers. These numbers had to repaint periodically; may the guard count them and recount these ghosts from another life! Let the escort, armed with machine guns, take and bring back the cohort, in five ranks, from the zeks from the barracks to the construction site and vice versa.
For Ivan Denisovich Choukhov, who has not lost his soul, the day starts with pains that the night has not dismissed. As short as the day is long, the night is full of pitfalls and marked by the fear of being sent to the dungeon for ten hellish days.
However, in this hell, the ex-commander of the fleet still gives voice, and the believer retains an indestructible faith. How do they survive?
This book hugged me, and I was almost exhausted. I was so cold with Ivan Denisovich. But it enlightened me, like that rare sun like fish in zek soup or that cigarette of sparingly measured tobacco.
But what a day!
Profile Image for karen.
3,979 reviews170k followers
October 2, 2018
it's all about perspective.

yeah, ivan denisovich shukov is in a soviet labor camp, where he is freezing and has to work at bullshit tasks and is being punished for something he didn't even get to do (because being a spy is cool, while being punished for being a spy when you didn't even get to have the fun of being a spy is lame), and it's all terrible with no end in sight, but come on.

he got to sleep late. his punishment for oversleeping is he had to wash some floors - indoors - instead of working out in the russian subzero nightmare. he got extra food time and time again,he didn't get caught with his secret contraband, he networked and got some karma for future favors in his karma bank, he got some smokes and was recognized for his hard work, and he had a fever, which had to be good for keeping him a little warmer than those people who didn't have fevers.

pretty good day all around.

me, i am not in a russian gulag, but i didn't get to sleep late. it is nearly 7 pm and i have not had any food today, nor any cigarettes, i have not been praised for my hard work, even though i did indeed work very very hard today (you try keeping your composure when someone yells "hey" at you from across the floor and with no preamble thrusts his sweaty cell phone at you so you can talk to his friend who wants books about russian icons, but doesn't have any titles, but commands you to just "type it in" and he will "memorize" the list. this man has very optimistic ideas about the search capabilities of the computers at barnes and noble) after work i had to go to staples because my power strip exploded, then to the hardware store and the organic market, even though all i wanted to do was go home to have the pleasure of working on my ALA presentation for the rest of my friday night. i did not network. i have no future karmic payload coming. as for the contraband... well, that's my little secret.

still and all - i feel like karen brissetova's day was more exhausting and less rewarding overall.

and i don't even get to see any snow.

snow, sausage, and cigarettes sound pretty good to me, man.

come to my blog!
Profile Image for Ines.
320 reviews196 followers
December 6, 2019
It’s been days since I finished this novel, but I couldn’t write a review, not because I didn’t have time but I felt some impediment by the the historical and human complexity read there. The tragedy of the Stalinist lagers( Gulag) is still today , in the 21st century, debated and not condemned by all. It’s a mind-boggling reading that leaves the reader with the redundant head of this obsessive, repeated, and always-equal daily routine, colliding with the miracle of the human factor. The possibility that men, torn apart and crushed by the Stalinist power, can still save their dignity and humanity through relationships of esteem and respect.
The original title of this novel was "Sč-854" , but deliberately changed by the Regime because it was considered too direct and brutal ( it was only the serial number of a gulag prisoner)
The story revolves all around Ivan Denisovich, who in the narration we will know with the name of Suchov, and of his living the days in the gulag through commitments always equal and never in the years changed: the alarm clock, the count, the distribution of the soup o creamy cereal meal, the work for the construction of a building or the cleaning of the various cabins of the gulag.
This obsession with returning the scan of the days is crazy, it even enters your bowels creating almost a sense of physical nausea and sickness. Suchov, however, lives the reality not according to the subdivision of the day, but moment by moment, with the idea of always finding strategies or favors, pleasures always in relationships of respect and honesty, in order to receive his farmstead ( cream of poor cereals) a little more 'abundant than the 100 grams counted for each imprisoned.
Moves to read as in front of an organized prison system and detached from any possibility of good, Suchov, his Turjn camp team, Pavlo the deputy Ukrainian foreman and other characters......create this kind of survival based on the will to have at heart life, their destinies and respect for the other imprisoned. A kind of attitude accepted by all of them, without words, but lived deeply and respected in every day, month and year lived together. It strikes as a whipping that the reality of God, was not taken out by the soul of these people, shyly and repeatedly Suchov invokes the mystery! He, who has done everything and cannot do anything against the evil of man because he deliberately created free.
You close this shocking book having in mind that all this was experienced in the 1950s! Most of these characters are men who really existed, who also spent 25 years in the Stalinist gulags for the most disparate reasons.
What a greatness this reading!

Very interesting is all the historical condition on which this work is based, Solženicyn, with his most important works " Cancer Ward and The Gulag Archipelago ", created a real earthquake, unfortunately after the removal to the power of Nikita Kruscev ( who wanted the publication of this novel "sč-854"), was prevented from publishing them if not in 1973!!!!

PS: I was shocked at how many european and american writers and intellectuals have denigrated, criticized and reduced to a crazy prisoner Solženicyn and his works. -as if the saving power and Christian dogmatism present especially in the Gulag Archipelago, annihilate and erase the experience and tragedy of entire lives spent in these places. Just Go to search yourself and see how many beautiful souls, even one Nobel prize person went public being very cold about this man, many have refused to consider the grandiosity and the thickness of Solženicyn’s works.

Sono ormai giorni che ho terminato questo romanzo, ma non sono riuscita a scrivere una recensione, non perche non avessi tempo ma sentivo un qualche impedimento data la complessità storica e umana ivi raccontata. La tragedia dei lager( Gulag) staliniani è ancora oggi , nel 21° secolo, dibattuta e non da tutti condannata. E' una lettura sconvolgente che lascia il lettore con la testa ridondante da questa quotidianità ossessiva, ripetuta e sempre uguale che si scontra con il miracolo del fattore umano. La possibilità che uomini, dilaniati e schiacciati dal potere stalinista, riescano comunque a salvare la loro dignità e umanità tramite rapporti di stima e rispetto.
il titolo originale di questo romanzo era Sč-854, ma volutamente cambiato dal regime perchè ritenuto troppo diretto e brutale ( altro non era che il numero di matricola di un detenuto del gulag)
La storia gira tutta intorno ad Ivan Denisovich, che nella narrazione lo conosceremo con il nome di Suchov, e del suo vivere i giorni nel gulag attraverso impegni sempre uguali costanti e mai negli anni mutati: la sveglia, la conta, la distribuzione del rancio, il lavoro per la costruzione di un edificio o la pulizia delle varie baracche del Gulag.
Questo ossessività nei riportare la scansione delle giornate è pazzesca, ti entra perfino nelle viscere creando quasi un senso di nausea fisica. Suchov però, vive la realtà non in base alla suddivisione della giornata, ma momento per momento, istante per istante, con l'idea di trovare sempre strategie o favori, piaceri sempre in rapporti di rispetto e onestà, in modo tale da ricevere la sua cascia ( crema di cereali poveri) un filino piu' abbondante dei 100 gr contati per ogni detenuto.
Commuove leggere come di fronte a un sistema carcerario organizzato e avulso da ogni possibilità di bene, Suchov, il suo campo squadra Turjn, Pavlo il vice caposquadra ucraino e altri personaggi......creino questa sorta di sopravvivenza basata sulla volontà di avere a cuore la vita, i loro destini e il rispetto per il prossimo. Una sorta di atteggiamento accettato da tutti loro, senza bisogno di parole, ma vissuto profondamente e rispettato in ogni loro giornata,mese e anno vissuti insieme. Colpisce come una frustata che la realtà di Dio, non sia stata fatta fuori dall' anima di queste persone, timidamente e piu volte Suchov invoca il mistero! colui che ha fatto tutto e non può niente contro il male dell' uomo perchè creato volutamente libero di arbitrio.

Si chiude il libro sconvolti che tutto questo è stato vissuto negli anni 50! la maggior parte di questi personaggi sono uomini realmente esistiti, che hanno passato anche 25 anni nei gulag staliniani per i motivi piu' disparati.
Che grandezza questa lettura!
Interessantissima è tutta la condizione storica su cui si basa quest'opera, Solženicyn con le sue opere piu importanti "Divisione cancro e Arcipelago Gulag" creò un vero terremoto, purtroppo dopo la rimozione al potere di Nikita Kruscev ( che volle la pubblicazione di questo romanzo "Sč-854"), gli venne impedito di pubblicarli se non nel 1973!!!!

PS: Sono rimasta allibita,sconvolta da quanti scrittori e intellettuali abbiano denigrato, criticato e ridotto a un pazzo carcerato Solženicyn e le sue opere. -come se il potere salvifico e il dogmatismo cristiano molto presente soprattutto in Arcipelago gulag, annientano e cancellino l' esperienza e la tragedia di vite intere passate in questi luoghi. Andate, andate a vedere quante anime belle, anche vincitori di Nobel hanno deriso e rifiutato disconoscendo lo spessore delle opere di Solženicyn
Profile Image for Henry Avila.
458 reviews3,242 followers
April 4, 2022
In cold windswept Siberia Ivan Denisovich (Shukhov) struggles through another bleak day a prisoner in the Gulag labor camp one of millions, the time 1950 the reason he's there does not matter. His crime invented but the chill is real and guards like their jobs pummeling the inmates, in fact enjoy it. Often his frozen feet cause Ivan agony still they must walk step by step mile after mile, snow on the ground the dull sky above and misery incessant, to reach the work site. His gang 104, his name S-854 a carpenter before prison, today a bricklayer without pay the eighth year of Shukhov's endless incarceration. Working hard to keep warm, fast and faster he is the ablest man in his gang the only real family Ivan Denisovich has, not the one back home. Survival the sole reason to get up from your bunk in the frigid barracks during the chilly morning too many did not .The little food given hardly enough nourishment as the stomach growls for the four hundred prisoners, hence they steal and trade for any substance that look like protein. Never think of the outside the Siberian wilderness will always be his residence either in the stockade or exile. This novel from Solzhenitsyn is quite autobiographical telling the world about the Soviet's brutality and atrocities. The impressive writer shows a vivid
atmospheric panorama, recreating the conditions in these inhuman camps were countless lives were lost and the people who suffered should never be forgotten.This great book will guarantee that will never happen as long as people read classics and certainly this is in that category.There is something about Russian literature which is unique the dark aspects notwithstanding, their words are so captivating the subject maybe unpleasant yet the excellence is self- evident.
Profile Image for Guille.
757 reviews1,554 followers
October 16, 2022

"Shujov estaba condenado por alta traición. Él había confesado y declaró que se dejó coger prisionero con intención de traicionar a su país, y que fue puesto en libertad para cumplir una misión del servicio secreto alemán. Cuál fuese esa misión, no pudo precisarlo Shujov ni el juez de instrucción."
En el prólogo a mi edición Llosa se pregunta acerca de la posibilidad de separar el valor literario de la novela de su importancia documental. En su respuesta negativa tuvo seguramente mucho que ver el año en el que se hacía la pregunta, 1988, un año antes de la caída del muro de Berlín.
“¿Quién es el mayor enemigo del preso? El otro preso.”
Todavía ahora, en 2022, se puede encomiar la valentía del autor al denunciar la experiencia que aquí relata, ponderar su valor testimonial, lejos ya del escándalo que supuso su publicación en 1962, año en el que todavía muchos reconocidos intelectuales de izquierda apoyaban al supuesto "paraíso socialista".
"El arte no es el qué sino el cómo."
Sin embargo, yo sí soy capaz de separar literatura y testimonio y en verdad lamento que el "cómo" no me haya parecido parejo al "qué".
Profile Image for Valeriu Gherghel.
Author 6 books1,303 followers
June 7, 2022
„Astfel de zile a trăit Ivan Denisovici în lagăr, trei mii şase sute cincizeci şi trei. Iar dacă socotim şi anii bisecţi, trebuie să adăugăm încă trei zile”.

Cînd, în 1962, revista Novîi Mir i-a publicat povestirea O zi din viața lui Ivan Denisovici, Alexandr Soljenițîn era un necunoscut. Povestirea l-a impus imediat atenției, nu numai în URSS, ci și în Occident.

Discuțiile (în special, cele de ordin politic) s-au încins. Din „minciună și invenție a capitaliștilor”, Gulagul devenea, în sfîrșit, realitate. Toți cei care se îndoiseră de veridicitatea relatărilor despre lagărele lui Stalin au fost constrînși să recunoască adevărul. Povestirea despre deținutul Ivan Denisovici Suhov conta, așadar, în primul rînd, ca document istoric. Aspectul estetic al acestei proze era, în chip inevitabil, aș zice, ignorat de exegeți. Puțini au realizat și au fost dispuși să recunoască atunci forța și talentul prozatorului. Prea puțini i-au remarcat stilul de o impresionantă economie. Și mai puțini i-au observat ironia. Aleksandr Soljenițîn se înscria în linia marelui realism rus, a unor Tolstoi și Dostoievski, dar cîți au avut puterea să accepte acest fapt semnificativ?

În Adevărul minciunilor, Mario Vargas Llosa a comentat primirea unilaterală (și partizană) a povestirii în chipul următor: „După un sfert de secol, toată lumea a aflat despre realitatea Gulagului și despre genocidul din epoca lui Stalin... Dar în 1962, numeroși progresiști din lumea întreagă refuzau încă să accepte brutala dezmințire a himerei raiului socialist... Efectul cărții a fost exploziv. Cine mai putea nega acum evidența? Omul care depunea mărturie o făcea chiar din Uniunea Sovietică, iar ceea ce spunea reflecta propria lui experiență... Cînd am citit-o pentru prima oară, era imposibil să nu consideri cartea lui Soljenițîn o mărturie politică".

Llosa recunoaște că nici măcar în 1988 (cînd își redacta eseul despre O zi din viața lui Ivan Denisovici) lectura (doar) estetică a povestirii nu era posibilă: „Dacă vrem să judecăm (povestirea despre deținutul Suhov) separînd-o de contextul ei istoric și ideologic, ca pe o creație artistică aseptică, ar însemna să privăm cartea de tot ceea ce-i imprimă dramatism și vitalitate: caracterul ei documentar și critic... Ca și Condiția umană și Speranța de Malraux sau Amintiri din casa morților de Dostoievski, O zi din viața lui Ivan Denisovici este mai aproape de istorie decît de literatură".

Deși consider că povestirea lui Soljenitin a devenit, pentru cititorul de astăzi, mai aproape de literatură decît de istorie, nu neg îndreptățirea opiniei lui Mario Vargas Llosa. În fond, lectura este un fapt istoric și multiplicitatea interpretarilor e o dovadă a istoricitatii sale ireductibile. Nu mai putem citi O zi din viața lui Ivan Denisovici în maniera abruptă a criticilor și ideologilor de acum cinci decenii, folosind criterii exterioare esteticului. Ne întoarcem la modestul Șuhov și vedem în mica lui fericire precară, de la sfîrșitul chinuitoarei zile în lagărul siberian, o mărturie despre puterea de supraviețuire a umanului pur și simplu...
Profile Image for Paul Bryant.
2,196 reviews9,483 followers
June 29, 2012
this was like the last couple of holidays i have been forced to go on with my family. they make you do all this crap and then they make you pretend you are having a good time doing it as if just doing it is not enough for them you have to keep saying you are having a good time and grinning like a babboon. so i could see where the guy in this book was coming from. but that didnt make it suck less. they made me go in a zoo which is gross the animals are not really like on tv and some of them resent you you can see it. the guy in this book is in prison for some stuff he probably didn't do and I can relate to that because i probably didn't do all the shit they say i did all the time. you know what i'm saying. this world is a giant prison i think. thats called existentalism. its tough ivan dennisovitch didnt' live in a time when there are ipods because at least you can listen to your stuff whn you are in your cell waiting to get raped . anyway this was better than gullivers travels like how could it be worse anyway, that would just not be possible unless its by dickens, but it wasn't as good as Chained Heat, Barbed Wire Dolls and Bare Behind Bars, which are movies about prisons which are better than this book because the weather is a lot better which means that the ladies in the prisons have clothing that falls off a lot lol.

also just a little thing but guys if you are going to write a novel have a name you can pronounce, even if i liked this i couldnt tell anyone he should have called him self Alex Sol that would have been a good cool name so that will be wy this book is unknown to any person that is not a teacher
Profile Image for Fabian.
947 reviews1,565 followers
September 14, 2019
Moral of this tale: No matter your socioeconomic position in life, or the degree of happiness in it, hard WORK is just the thing to let the hours sift on by....

The book that caused such a general sensation back then is but a significant albeit very tiny beep on the literature radar now. The smallness made big by elegant & overexpressive prose is a sight to behold, but not, alas, a true wonder to read.
Profile Image for ماجد دحام.
87 reviews137 followers
December 19, 2020
واخيرا اكتملت قراءتي لهذه الروايه ، مع انها تكن مملة او طويله على الإطلاق (مائتا صفحه فقط ) لكنني لم اعرف الى الآن ماهو السبب الذي جعلني استغرق كل هذا الوقت الطويل في قراءتها ...
حسنا اليكم قراءتي الكامله لهذه الرواية .
فتيات روسيات في مقتبل العمر تزين رؤوسهن زهور بيضاء وقفن في صفين متقابلين ، قسم منهن وضع الخبز في اطباق ، بينما رفع القسم الاخر منهن آنية الخمر في وضع المناوله ، هذا المشهد سبق نزول الكسندر سولنجستين من سلم الطائرة التي اقلته الى ارض الوطن بعد رحلة اغتراب قسريه قضاها بعيدا عن ربوع بلاده ، مشهد كان في العام 1995 وقد مضى له اكثر من عشرون عاما لازالت ذاكرتي تختزن احداثه الى الآن ، لم اعرف معنى حفاوة الاستقبال تلك لكنني الآن اخمن ان الفتيات كن يمثلن طهارة الارض الروسية وبكارتها وجمال ربيعها بينما يمثل ماحملن من خبز وخمر رمزية المناوله المقدسة وطقوسها في الكنائس و التي ظلت حاضرة في وجدان الكسي حتى في اصعب مراحل حياته اي في معسكرات الغولاغ الرهيبه . كما قد يلخص ذلك الاحتفال ايضا البهجة بنهاية الكفاح المرير الذي قادته الكنيسة الارثوذوكسية ضد الدولة السوفييتية .
في الحقيقة انا لست من الميالين كثيرا لقراءة اعمال سولنجستين الموغلة كثيرا في الواقعية _لكن مجرد ذكر اسم الغولاغ في الحقبة الستالينية ومن شخص روائي اعتقل فيه لمدة خمس سنوات تعد من الاشياء المغرية و التي يصعب على المرء مقاومة قراءتها . مع هذا تبقى الرمزية الحقيقية لكل من ابتهج بعودة هذا الكاتب العظيم الى روسيا هي رمزية انتصار القلم على السلاح ، فستالين الذي استطاع جيشه قهر النازيين والفاشيين وصنع الطائرات واعتى انواع الاسلحه وارسى قواعد وصول الانسان الى الفضاء عجز عن قهر كاتب بسيط او بالأحرى فشل في شراء ذمته او ولائه .وهذا التخمين ان صدق فانه يعد رسالة الى جميع الطغاة في العالم خاصة العرب منهم وهي ان لا تحاولوا مقارعة الكتاب الحقيقيين او شراء ذممهم لانكم حتما ستخسرون .
عودا الى الروايه :
- ها ان روحك يا ايفان دينيسوفيتش تهفو لان تصلي لله ، فلم لا تتركها وشأنها ؟
- القى شوخوف على اليوشكا المعمداني القابع معه في السجن نظرة جانبية ، كانت عيناه دافئتين ، كأنهما شمعتان ثم تنهد بعمق .
- لان الصلوات يا اليوشكا ، مثلها مثل الإلتماسات إما أنها لا تصل ، وإما أن يأتي الجواب ( رفضت الشكوى ) أمام عنبر القيادة توجد 4 صناديق للإلتماسات وكلها مختومة ، ، وفي كل شهر يأتي المفوض لإفراغها ، الكثيرون يلقون الالتماسات في تلك الصناديق ، وينتظرون ، ثم يحتسبون الوقت : لكن الجواب لا يأتي ، وإن أتى فهو ( مع الرفض )
بهذه الجمل وغيرها ختم المؤلف روايته والتي كانت تتمحور حول يوم من حياة سجين في معتقل الأعمال الشاقة في سيبيريا حيث لم يكن هناك من قانون سوى عنجهية ستالين و تسلطه على رقاب ملايين السوفييت القابعين تحت سلطته .
في نهاية ذلك اليوم وحينما خلد ايفان للنوم كان في غاية الرضى ، فلم يزجوا به في الإنفرادي ، ولم يسوقوا مجموعته الى الضاحية الإشتراكية ، كما أنه حصل على عصيدة اضافية في الغداء ، وقام بعمله في بناء الجدار على أكمل وجه ، كما انه نجا بجلده من التفتيش حينما حصل على النصل الحديدي ، وفي المساء حصل على وجبة بالاندا اضافية واستطاع شراء حفنتين من التبغ .كما أنه لم يمرض ، ولم يعكر صفو يومه شي من اهانة أو عقاب .
هناك في المعتقل حينما أفاق ايفان أو تشيخوف صباحا كان يحسب درجة حرارة جسمه هل تتساوى مع درجة حرارة الجو ( ثمانية وأربعون درجة تحت الصفر ) كما أنه ظل حائرا بين أن يرتدي مزيدا من الملابس لمقاومة هذا الطقس البارد أو يتركها خوفا من المصادرة ، ففي تلك المعتقلات تتعدى الممنوعات حتى حدود المنطق .
لكم أن تتخيلوا أن يكون حد طوحات الإنسان في تلك الظروف هو الحصول على عصيدة إضافية في الغداء ، أو الحصول على عقب سيجارة ، أو عظام سمكة تغوص في قعر الإناء ، اي ان غاية أهداف المعتقل في معسكرات الأعمال الشاقة تتمثل في تنفيذ الأوامر والتقيد بها كي يكون في حل عن الاهانة او الضرب او الاعتقال الاضافي كي يملأ بطنه بمزيد من الطعام .
انها يوميات عادية لأحد السجناء في معسكرات الغولاغ لسجون غير عادية تفوق في بشاعتها تصورات الكثيرين .
Profile Image for Diane.
1,080 reviews2,656 followers
April 12, 2014
"The degree of civilization in a society can be judged by entering its prisons." -- Fyodor Dostoevsky

This book was a good way to take my mind off of my own problems. Reading about the grueling conditions of a Soviet gulag made my daily worries seem trivial.

The novel is set in Stalin's Russia of the 1950s and follows the prisoner Shukhov from the moment he wakes up at 5 a.m. to when he finally goes to bed after laboring all day. Shukhov was sentenced to 10 years of hard labor, even though he was innocent. While fighting for Russia in World War II, he was captured by the Germans. He managed to escape and return to his own lines, but then he was accused of being a spy. Faced with being shot or doing hard labor, he signed a confession to spare his life.

Shukhov has already served eight years and knows how to survive in prison. He stays out of trouble and tries to do small favors for people who can get him a little extra food each day. He is a hard worker and believes that prisoners have to help each other to stay alive. He learned this lesson from his first squad leader, who told the new inmates: "Here, men, we live by the law of the taiga. But even here people manage to live. The ones that don't make it are those who lick other men's leftovers, those who count on the doctors to pull them through, and those who squeal on their buddies."

The prisoners are forced to work in brutally cold weather and have very little food. This book makes you appreciate being warm and well-fed, to be sure. When Shukhov is refused a favor from a guard who works indoors and who sits near a heater, he wonders, "How can you expect a man who's warm to understand a man who's cold?"

In other sections, we see how important it is to eat slowly and to treasure each bite: "More than once during his life in the camps, Shukhov had recalled the way they used to eat in his village: whole pots full of potatoes, pans of oatmeal, and, in the early days, big chunks of meat. And milk enough to bust their guts. That wasn't the way to eat, he learned in camp. You had to eat with all your mind on the food -- like now, nibbling the bread bit by bit, working the crumbs up into a paste with your tongue and sucking it into your cheeks. And how good it tasted -- that soggy black bread!"

While reading "One Day," I was reminded of some other great books about work camps, such as "Escape from Camp 14," which was about a North Korean prison, and several about the Holocaust: Viktor Frankl's "Man's Search for Meaning," Elie Wiesel's "Night" and Art Spiegelman's "Maus." Each of those books has their own insights into how people survive in subhuman conditions.

I appreciated the spare, straightforward language of Solzhenitsyn. According to the introduction, Solzhenitsyn himself had served eight years in a Russian concentration camp, reportedly for making a derogatory remark about Stalin. The book was published in 1962 during Khrushchev's reign, and was considered an attack on Stalin's human rights violations. I admired Solzhenitsyn for having the courage to tell this story.
Profile Image for Horace Derwent.
2,232 reviews171 followers
February 24, 2021
that day, some people hit their first bottle of beer or have their first kiss kissed

that day, some people wreck their car on some red dirt road and some of them tear it all to pieces

that day, people lose cherry or go banana

that day, some people find jesus sitting on their bedroom wall and whispering to them "it's alright, kiddo"

that day, some junkies swallow their pains and a bullet down together into their throat, meanwhile, some wolves with their stomach human-flesh-stuffed feel joyous under the warm bright sunlight with their naked eyes wide open


on that day i see the devil, he tells me that violence has made good friends with lie

...i live in china...born and raised

Profile Image for Baba.
3,563 reviews863 followers
December 30, 2021
This modern classic is the tale of Ivan Denisovich Shukhov a Communist/Stalin era labour-camp inmate - this rather short (a novella?) story is sparsely told yet deep in detail and eloquence. Admittedly when reading this I rushed through it, and it appears this is another lowly rated book by me that needs revisiting asap. 5 out of 12!

Looking at the 31 March finished reading date, this looks suspiciously like a (short) book I forced my self to rush-read to get my numbers up for this month! Tsk tsk.

2006 read
Profile Image for Mohammed  Ali.
475 reviews1,101 followers
April 29, 2017
أين ؟؟

- معتقلات الغولاغ .


- غلافنايا اوبرافلينية اسبرافيتلنيا ترودفيخ أي ( الإدارة الرئيسية لمعسكرات الإصلاح والعمل ) و التي أطلق عليها اسم معسكرات الرعب و الموت.

متى ؟

- جوزيف فيساريونوفيتش ستالين !!

بمعنى ؟؟

- شبكة من المعتقلات و المعسكرات أنشأها الحزب الشيوعي الستاليني بهدف تطهير الولاء و الإنتماء لستالين، من معارضين، خونة، إرهابيين، موالين لأعداء الحزب و أيضا من أجل اعتقال كل فئات الشعب سواء كانوا متّهمين أو غير متّهمين، إنّها الديكتاتورية في أبهى حللها .

هل من الممكن أن تشرح أكثر ؟

- شملت الاعتقالات كل فئات الشعب ولم يكن الانتماء للحزب والولاء لستالين نفسه يقي صاحبه من حملة التطهير والإرسال إلى معسكرات ا��اعتقال (الغولاغ ) التي ضمت كل من يتم تصنيفه بوصفه احد " أعداء الثورة وخونتها" في أجهزة الدولة وصفوف الجيش الأحمر والحزب. غير أنها شملت أيضا من أشار إليهم ستالين بتعبير " الطفيليين السامين" أو " العناصر الضارة". بين هؤلاء يوجد أشخاص امتلكوا منزل أو أكثر من أربعة بقرات أو العمال الذي كانوا يأتون متأخرين إلى العمل أو لاعبي فريق كرة القدم إذا خسروا إحدى المباريات الهامة أو المواطنين الذين لهم اسم عائلة أجنبي.
بعد انتزاع الاعتراف بالعمل ضدّ الثورة حيث يعدم البعض مباشرة ،يتم إرسال الباقين إلى معسكرات إعادة التأهيل ( التي بلغ عددها 467 )في القطارات إلى مناطق نائية في الدولة السوفياتية المترامية الأطراف وكانت الرحلة تستمر شهرا في ظل ظروف غير إنسانية حيث يتم حشر الجميع في أقفاص حديدية ولا يُسمح للواحد بغير قطعة خبز واحدة وبعض السّمك المملّح وجرعة ماء وحيدة في اليوم وهو ما أفضى إلى موت كثيرين جوعا ومرضا هذا إن لم يقم الحرس ذاتهم بالإجهاز عليهم تخفيفا للحمولة . عندما يصل المسافرون إلى المحطّة الأخيرة منهكين القوة وعلى حدود الموت تستقبلهم لافتات مكتوب عليها شعارات من نوع:" بيد من حديد نقود الإنسانية إلى السعادة". وفي مكان آخر من المعسكر نجد لافتة أخرى تقول:" بالعمل تصل إلى الحرية".

شكرااا على هذا الشرح. هل من الممكن أن تحدّثنا عن الرواية ؟

- نعم. و لكن يجب أن نعرف معلومة عن الكاتب .

ما هي هذه المعلومة ؟

- أنّ هذه الرواية وليدة التجربة، فالكاتب ضاق ويلات السجن لمدة طويلة .

آه!! .. حسنا .. إذن كانت الرواية مشوقة جدا ؟؟

- لا .. بالعكس !! كانت مملة جدا، غارقة في التفاصيل، مليئة بالوصف و الحوارات .

لم تعجبك إذن ؟؟

- أحببتها جدا .


- يوم واحد في معتقل، يوم يبدأ بجرس، و ينتهي بجرس، يكفيك هذا اليوم لتعرف أنّ الحياة هناك .. مؤلمة .
يوم واحد فيه من ضروب الهوان و الذل، فيه كل أنواع الألم المختلفة، فيه اجتماع لكل الظروف التي تجعل من الإنسان حيوانا فقط . يوم واحد ستعرف فيه أن الإنسان في ظل ظروف ما سيصبح شبه إنسان، همه الوحيد شيء - نعم شيء - يملأ به ذلك البطن .
يوم واحد ستتجرد فيه من معظم التعريفات التي تعرفها عن الحياة. يوم واحد ستتكتشف فيه تعريفات جديدة جد مبسطة لمفاهيم مختلفة، برد، قبعة، قطعة من الحديد، خرقة بالية، إنسان، مرض، شيء، هكذا، الصمت، التبغ، انكسار، شمس، و غيرها من المفاهيم الأخرى.

Télécharger des photos
Profile Image for Paul Weiss.
1,224 reviews169 followers
August 26, 2022
One day in the life of a Siberian concentration camp!

ONE DAY IN THE LIFE OF IVAN DENISOVICH is Alexander Solzhenitsyn's first book, a classic of modern Russian literature and the title that propelled him onto the literary world stage. As for the plot - well, the title itself serves as a synopsis. The story, such as it is, describes a single day in the life of Ivan Denisovich Shukhov who is serving a term in a Stalinist labor camp for offenses against the state. That they were never clearly described is surely Solzhenitsyn's method of making his readers aware of the fact that millions of prisoners were suffering the same fate on meaningless charges fabricated from thin air with nothing by way of evidence to support them. The novel, clearly built on a foundation of Solzhenitsyn's personal experiences spent in a gulag, is a courageous (and, under the circumstances, perhaps almost foolhardy) critique of the tyranny that was the Russian experience under the dictatorship of Stalin.

The story that Solzhenitsyn tells could hardly be categorized as compelling. In fact, it's anything but. Solzhenitsyn has expertly portrayed an overwhelming atmosphere of dreary darkness, hopelessness, despair and exhaustion through the banality of the prisoners' daily existence - the hunger, the cold, the de-humanization, the repetitive grinding work, the isolation, and the stark paucity of everyday living in a setting without joy. It wasn't so much that there were physical punishments, cruelty or the terror that one reads about in other prison stories such as PAPILLON, THE SHAWSHANK REDEMPTION or A TALE OF TWO CITIES, for example. The punishment in Shukhov's camp arose more obviously out of the deprivation and unutterable tedium of an inhumanly spare existence devoid of pleasurable experience. Indeed, it was clear that even the guards and prison staff were probably suffering only a scant degree less than the unfortunate inmates.

On hunger:

"How often had Shukhov in his youth fed oats to horses! Never had it occurred to him that there'd come a time when his whole soul would crave for a handful of them."

On sleeping in the inhumanly cold Siberian winter:

"He must make his bed now - there wasn't much to it. Strip his mattress of the grubby blanket and lie on it (it must have been '41 when he last slept in sheets - that was at home; it even seemed odd for women to bother about sheets, all that extra laundering). Head on the pillow, stuffed with shavings of wood: feet in jacket sleeve; coat on top of blanket and - Glory be to Thee, O Lord. Another day over."

As I said, spare writing that is itself a metaphor for the very things it so powerfully describes.

Highly recommended.

Paul Weiss
Profile Image for Lyn.
1,868 reviews16.5k followers
May 1, 2016
Totalitarian communism could produce some harsh results.

Such is the succinct message sent by Soviet writer Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn in his 1962 publication One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich. First published in the Soviet journal Novy Mir, and then later translated into many, many languages including English, Solzhenitsyn uses severe realism to describe conditions in a Soviet political prisoner camp.

Literally telling a twenty-four hour period in the life of the camp, we follow various characters throughout the brutally cold day. These are hard men taking care of business. Many were assigned a sentence of hard labor and we see them building and working and surviving on the unforgiving Russian steppe.

Only a few are actual criminals, having committed some crime against persons or property; by far most are there because they had run afoul of the Soviet system. Ten years is a lighter sentence, most have been sent to the camp for a twenty-five year sentence of cruel and inhuman servitude. Speaking out against the government or like-minded open and obvious political malfeasances are also rare; most “confessed” to some ridiculous treason after a period of ruthless and senseless interrogation. Many were prisoners of war during and after World War II, escaping the Germans only to find themselves back home amidst suspicious circumstances and then jailed for being Nazi spies. Some were incarcerated because they were Baptists.

The enduring significance, though, and high praise for Solzhenitsyn in pulling the literary achievement off, is a sense of perseverance and obdurate humanism. These men live day to day, scrounging and surviving and striving and all with a distant hope that someday, years in the future, they will be free.

No doubt the years of press have diluted the stern message exposed in 1962, but this remains a difficult but important work.

Profile Image for Anna.
Author 3 books185 followers
June 13, 2008
My copy of the 1963 novel that won Alexander Solzhenitsyn the Nobel Prize is thirty-six years old, and it looks it--not just because it is dog-eared and the pages tinged yellow, but because the jacket copy is thick with Cold War fever.


"the terrifying story of an almost unbelievable man-made hell--the Soviet work camps--and of one man's heroic struggle to survive in the face of the most determined efforts to destroy him--a scathing indictment of Communist tyranny that has shaken the whole Soviet world."

My edition also, conveniently, includes Solzhenitsyn's "now-classic letter of protest against censorship." The author himself spent eight years in these labor camps, and three more years in exile, all for the crime of making derogatory comments about Stalin in a letter to a friend.

I was bemused by the shrieking of the book cover, but you understand that I began the story of Ivan Denisovich with the understanding that I would be led to dark places. I anticipated something depressing. Probably somebody, or many bodies, would die. There would be no color. It would be a Tragedy, fitted into a narrative understanding of Hope and Human Possibility.

I happen to be a big lover of big old Russian books. I was ready for it all.

But something strange happened, something that turned my expectations around and made me admire Solzhenitsyn all the more.

This one day of Ivan Denisovitch Shukhov's life is actually a rather good one. Check out one of the last paragraphs:
Shukhov went to sleep, and he was very happy. He'd had a lot of luck today. They hadn't put him in the cooler. The gang hadn't been chased out to work in the Socialist Community Development. He'd finagled an extra bowl of mush at noon. The boss had gotten them good rates for their work. He'd felt good making that wall. They hadn't found that piece of steel (he'd hidden on his body) in the frisk. Ceasar had paid him off in the evening. He'd bought some tobacco. And he'd gotten over that sickness.

Nothing had spoiled the day and it had been almost happy.

This is the author's brilliant move. In a short novel in a dreary and unjust landscape, he gives us a protagonist who we come to like, and who sleeps happily at the end. It is the dissonance of what makes Shukhov so happy, and what we readers hope for him--it is that gap in between--that makes this novel sing.

Solzhenitsyn takes readerly expectations--like the ones I had--and turns them on us. We keep waiting for something to go terribly wrong for Shukhov that breaks that day up. But of all the things that happen--the scenes--things turn, if any way, in his favor. That "Tragedy" catharsis is never fulfilled; it's just an ordinary. But the narrative makes clear that this--only this--is the best Shukhov can hope for. He falls asleep at the end, and we know soon he will wake up, and the morning will look exactly like it did on page one.

I think it's a wonderful narrative strategy, and its couched in plain speech--short paragraphs, lots of dialogue, few adjectives and adverbs, zero lyricism--that is absolutely appropriate.

Another terrific narrative strategy: naming. From the title, you open the book ready to meet "Ivan Denisovich." Rather, you start following around "Shukhov," and it takes a bit to realize they are one and the same. The few times when Shukhov is called by his title name are significant. Again, Solzhenitsyn reveals impressive ability to manipulate reader expectations. When we come to meet the protagonist, we're looking for his dignified, formal, public name--full first name and patronymic, classic traditional Russian. Who we find in his stead is a man reduced to the blunt two syllables of his last name. He is at first unrecognizable to us, who've never met him, as he might be also unrecognizable to his former self, or to the family he is forgetting.

But there is a thing about the language. With all due respect to Mssrs. Hingley and Hayward, I didn't like my translation. It can be hard to parse out responsibility for the language of a translated book, but I feel pretty confident in laying this one in the hands of the H-H team.

First of all, I was frustrated by the rendition of the work camp slang and swearing, which is posited as being hard-edged. Some of the awfully dated 1970s slang is worthy of eye-rolls, but forgivable. Other times it wasn't so much the old-timey insult that threw me off, but an awkwardly worded phrase construction that is intended to spat out or shouted, but comes off as formal and ridiculous. It did pull me out of the story. Often, actually, in this heavily voiced novel.

Second, the translators chose a weird strategy for--well, you can't call them endnotes or footnotes, because they appear in the beginning of the book, all of them, before chapter one. None of them are numbered; they are marked in the text as an asterisk that alerts the reader to turn back to the beginning of the book and run her finger down the list to find the word that appears after the last word she looked up. It's bizarre. I didn't like how it made me move through the book. On the bright side, the explanations were simple and clear and few.

But if Solzhenitsyn can survive Soviet labor camp, he can survive a poor translation.

The author won the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1970 "for the ethical force with which he has pursued the indispensable traditions of Russian literature." He was not able to speak at the prize ceremony--it seems that his acceptance speech was smuggled out of the USSR. But this is what he said (and it is, in full, really quite something):

"But woe to that nation whose literature is disturbed by the intervention of power. Because that is not just a violation against 'freedom of print,' it is the closing down of the heart of the nation, a slashing to pieces of its memory. The nation ceases to be mindful of itself, it is deprived of its spiritual unity, and despite a supposedly common language, compatriots suddenly cease to understand one another. Silent generations grow old and die without ever having talked about themselves, either to each other or to their descendants. When writers such as Achmatova and Zamjatin--interred alive throughout their lives--are condemned to create in silence until they die, never hearing the echo of their written words, then that is not only their personal tragedy, but a sorrow to the whole nation, a danger to the whole nation.

"In some cases moreover--when as a result of such a silence the whole of history ceases to be understood in its entirety--it is a danger to the whole of mankind."
Profile Image for Nandakishore Mridula.
1,243 reviews2,257 followers
December 5, 2018
Shukhov looked up at the sky and gasped - the sun had climbed almost to the dinner hour. Wonder of wonders! How time flew when you were working! That was something he'd often noticed. The days rolled by in the camp - they were over before you could say "knife." But the years, they never rolled by; they never moved by a second.

This is the reality of prison-camp life: the days, colourless, marked only by toil and the struggle to survive, pass on in a jiffy; but there is no termination to the endless procession of the hours. It is eternity divided into diurnal and nocturnal cycles.

The Soviet Union is a piece of history to most young people nowadays - and Stalinist Russia is ancient history. For communists across the globe, Joseph Stalin is the man with the magnificent moustaches whose portrait adorns their offices, a sort of legend. For conservatives, he is the mass murderer and devil incarnate. Very few know of the real man, one of the greatest leaders of the modern world, as well as one of the most ruthless dictators.

During the years he ruled the Soviet Union with an iron hand, Stalin killed off many suspected dissidents and condemned many more to living death in the so-called labour camps, in the trackless wastes of Siberia. Many lived and perished there until Khrushchev reversed the Stalinist policies and reinstated many of the prisoners. Amongst them was Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn, who became a writer and went on to win the Nobel Prize for literature. This is his first novel, written based on his labour camp experiences.

Ivan Denisovich Shukhov is serving a sentence of ten years for the crime of spying on Russia for Germans - a trumped-up charge, but something he willingly accepted as an alternative to being shot. We meet him when he has served eight of them, and become quite a veteran at the art of survival. His simple mantra: keep a low profile and get through the day without being fingered by the powers that be. Take each day as it comes.

From reveille to lights out, we see in Shukhov a man composed in parts of honesty, selfishness, compassion, ingenuity and low cunning. He is compassionate towards his fellow prisoner but always looks after number one. He doesn't mind hiding bread in his pillow, cheating the cook to get an extra bowl of stew, or sucking up to his superiors for small favours. Yet he does an honest job of building a wall which has been entrusted to him, helps out his compatriots when he can and even returns borrowed tobacco to other prisoners. In fact, he is an animal whose senses are attuned to only one thing: survival.

Solzhenitsyn describes the prison camp in deft strokes without any emotion. These are not active death factories like the ones built by Hitler, but rather passive hells where death takes place by attrition. We have heroes as well as villains here, but all are human, including the guards; all caught in this wasteland of history, where time and space are buried under a canopy of ever-present snow.

This is the story of one day, and a rather good one at that.
Shukhov went to sleep fully content. He'd had many strokes of luck that day: they hadn't put him in the cells; they hadn't sent his squad to the settlement; he'd swiped a bowl of kasha at dinner; the squad leader had fixed the rates well; he'd built a wall and enjoyed doing it; he'd smuggled that bit of hacksaw blade through; he'd earned a favour from Tsezar that evening; he'd bought that tobacco. And he hadn't fallen ill. He'd got over it.

A day without a dark cloud. Almost a happy day.

Now, Shukhov has to survive many other days like this, in his total stretch of three thousand six hundred and fifty three days. One at a time.

This short novel has been written by one such prisoner who survived - and went on to become a literary icon. Read it. For all its bleak background, it is a testament of hope.
Profile Image for Dem.
1,186 reviews1,098 followers
September 18, 2019
A short novel at just over 180 pages but a painstaking and laborious read which is probably fitting as the story is set in a Soviet labor camp in the 1950s and describes a single day in the life of ordinary prisoner, Ivan Denisovich Shukhov , He is innocent, but is sentenced to ten years in a forced labor camp.

The book's publication was an extraordinary event in Soviet literary history, since never before had an account of Stalinist repression been openly distributed and therefore the importance of this publication would have made this book an extraordinary piece of writing given the fact that Russia had hidden any details and accounts of what went on in the camps for years so I get how important
as a political tract and as a literary work this must have been at the time.

I read this novel as book club read and having read it a couple of years previously I knew that this was a difficult read and not because it graphic but more that it is stark and eventual read (for the reader) where a day in the life goes slowly by as you read the prisoner's daily routine from he gets up in the morning until the end of his day and yet what is uneventful for the reader is monumental in achievements for the prisoner and it is in understanding this that makes the book so important.

I adapted a different approach to this novel second time around and printed off the discussion questions for the book beforehand in order to read this one and get more from it than I did first time around and I can honestly say I read the book differently and understood it better having the discussion questions to keep me focused.

This was not an enjoyable or even an informative read for me, and I think readers who may not be familiar with Russian history, as you would have to have prior knowledge of Russian leaders and events or the history of these camps in order to read this book and connect with it in my opinion. I can understand the importance of the book and how it is still a book that is on many reading lists as it is a stark and realistic telling of a day in the life of an ordinary prisoner.

I liked the book but having read it now twice I can honestly say it is not one for my favorite shelf.
Profile Image for Steven  Godin.
2,385 reviews2,257 followers
September 22, 2018
Solzhenitsyn, a 44-year-old mathematics teacher in the old Russian town of Ryazan who spent eight years in Stalinís concentration camps writes his first literary work, and what a memorable one it turns out to be. It's the simple story of One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich, and there is hardly a detail in Solzhenitsyn's story which, in itself is new. The cruelty, the falseness of the charges, the animal fight for survival, the debasement, the cynical grafting, the brutalizing, the sentences stretching into infinity (or death), the hunger, the suffering, the cold-all this is familiar. But what makes this an important work is that Solzhenitsyn doesn't simply write a mere propagandistic expose. He has created an almost flawless tale employing the eloquence of reticence and understatement in a manner which even the fumbling of translation cannot obscure. Ivan Denisovich Shukov, his central figure, is a simple peasant. His crime was to escape from the Germans who took him prisoner in 1943 and return to his own lines. Had he not said he had been in German hands he would have gotten a medal. By telling the truth he was sentenced to a concentration camp as a spy. Had he not confessed being a spy he would have no doubt been shot.

It's a grim read, but you really could expect nothing more, he takes us by the ankles in chains into the heart of the Stalin state with all of its dehumanising horrors. And there are plenty of them. At times there is a strange surreal edge to this, an odd feeling that may lead readers to pinch themselves to believe that these horrors actually took place in a modern 20th Century society yet the author was speaking right from the heart, and the guts as well. Solshenitsyn smashes us fully in the face with his tragic depiction of a visit by prisoner's wives and the arrest of a suspect and his degrading treatment at the hands of the secret-police. I found myself hoping for some light at the end of a long cold dark tunnel but somehow knew there would be no such thing. This is a work masterfully written, and will hang around in the mind for some time.
Profile Image for Sidharth Vardhan.
Author 23 books687 followers
November 9, 2016
"“Can a man who's warm understand one who's freezing?”

What I have to say might spoil the book. And so here are two quotes from two other Nobel laureates, the first describes the book well enough and the second is in case you feel depressed after on condition of humanity after reading it:

Writer " cannot put himself today in the service of those who make history; he is at the service of those who suffer it."
-Albert Camus

“You can cut all the flowers but you cannot keep Spring from coming.”
― Pablo Neruda
Profile Image for William2.
746 reviews2,969 followers
July 25, 2022
A Gulag story. Beautiful modulation and pacing. Reminds me of Vasily Grossman’s Stalingrad in its soft peddling of the Soviet nightmare. That is, hobbled by the censor but still readable. Yet Solzhenitsyn seems intent upon addressing this idea and thus disarming it.

“You're wrong, old man." Tsezar was saying, good-naturedly. "Objectively, you will have to admit that Eisenstein is a genius. Surely you can't deny that Ivan the Terrible is a work of genius? The dance of the masked oprichniki! The scene in the cathedral!"

Kh-123's spoon stopped short of his mouth. "Bogus" he said angrily. "So much art in it that it ceases
to be art. Pepper and poppy seed instead of good honest
bread. And the political motive behind it is utterly
loathsome--an attempt to justify a tyrannical individual.
An insult to the memory of three generations of the Russian
intelligentsia!” (He was eating his gruel without savoring
it. It wouldn't do him any good.)

"But would it have got past the censor if he'd handled
it differently?"

"Oh well, if that's what matters... Only don't call him
a genius--call him a toady, a dog carrying out his master's
orders. A genius doesn't adjust his treatment of a theme
to a tyrant's taste." (p. 85)

But, oh, I’m wrong, since in the second half of the book Solzhenitsyn addresses the following Soviet crimes.
(1) Stalin’s absurd collectivization plan and the extermination of the kulaks; (2) construction of the White Sea Canal with prison labor; (3) the capricious manner in which sentences for the Gulag were handed out, having absolutely no basis in truth but created simply for the purposes of exiling perceived enemies. (Ivan Denisovich was given ten years for being a German spy — he wasn’t; he had simply been briefly captured — yet on his repatriation he was made to sign a confession acknowledging his treachery.) (4) prison life in Siberian exile; (5) The Great Terror, a series of show trials in Moscow in the 1930s which Stalin used to purge (have shot) fellow Bolsheviks
Profile Image for Ali Karimnejad.
313 reviews150 followers
July 19, 2021

در دور افتاده‌ترین گوشه دنیا، در یک اردوگاه کار اجباری در سیبری، در سرمای منفی 30 درجه، مردمانی که به دلایل واهی به مشقت‌بارترین زندگی محکوم شده‌اند، در بدترین شرایط تحت سبعانه‌ترین قوانین همچنان زندگی می‌کنند؛ اگر بشود به آن زندگی گفت... اما سوال اینجاست: چرا؟

کتاب "یک روز از زندگی ایوان دنیسوویچ" راجع به یک زندانی بی‌گناه هستش که به دلایل واهی به اردوگاه کار اجباری تبعید شده و نویسنده به سبب تجارب تلخ گذشتش تونسته به طرز استادانه‌ای پرده از جلوی چشم خواننده برداره و نشون بده که چطور حتی در چنین شرایطی زندگی و مهم‌تر از اون، میل به زنده موندن، جریان داره. و به نظر من هزار صفحه سیاهه راجع به مفهوم و معنای زندگی نمی‌تونه اونطور که باید حق مطلب رو ادا کنه که این کتاب تونسته.

حقیقت اینه که قبل از اینکه ما انسان باشیم حامل ژنی هستیم که هدف وجودی اون، بقا و تکثیره. تایید این مساله البته در مورد حیوانات ساده‌تره اما در مورد انسان، این مساله به چنان شکل پیچیده‌ای با خلقیات ما در هم تنیده شده که پیدا کردن رد اون در بین رفتارهای ما انسان‌ها گاها بسیار سخت می‌شه. ما انسان‌ها، موجودات مغرور و صاحب عزت‌نفس، برنمی‌تابیم که بپذیریم تا کجا حاضریم شرایط اسفناک رو تحمل کنیم اما زنده بمونیم. به همین خاطر مغز ما این وظیفه خطیر رو بر عهده گرفته که همواره توجیهاتی درخور برای ما بتراشه که در لحظات بحرانی همچنان، زندگی رو بر مرگ ترجیح بدیم.

در حقیقت هیچ حد و مرزی برای تحمل شقاوت و بدبختی برای انسان وجود نداره و هر جامعه‌ای رو به فراخور خشونت می‌شه به هر حدی که تصورش رو بکنی رام و دست‌آموز کرد. فقط کافیه خشونت کافی به خرج بدی و اونوقت اون "ژن خودخواه" تو رو برای گرفتن سهمیه نان ساعت‌ها در سرما نگه‌ خواهد داشت بطوری که بعد از گرفتن اون حتی تشکر هم خواهی کرد!! بدون اینکه تشکر کردن جزو قوانین باشه!ا

خوندن کتاب به واسطه مواجهه با مصائب و شقاوت‌هایی که برای جانور انسان عادی شده، تجربه‌ی بسیار خاص و متفاوتی بود که راستش منو کمی هم به وحشت انداخت.
Profile Image for Maziyar Yf.
494 reviews243 followers
July 7, 2020
این کتاب با نثری ساده و شیوا یک روز از زندگی یک زندانی محکوم به کار در گولاک را به تصویر می کشد . زندانی بیچاره ای که تا قبل از دستگیرشدن در خط مقدم داشته با آلمان ها می جنگیده و حالا به جای یک تشکر خشک و خالی او را به جایی می فرستند که جبهه جنگ در برابرش نه مانند بهشت ، بلکه حداقل به مانند زندگی ایست . زندانی نگون بخت مانند نویسنده جناب سولژنیتسین با یک اتهامی که حتی ارزش بررسی هم ندارد به گولاک فرستاده می شود
.نویسنده به نحوه انتقال به گولاک اشاره نمیکند ولی می دانیم که با قطار مثله همان قطارهای معروف که یهودیان را با آن به آشویتس منتقل می کردند بوده است و اصولا قطارها وظیفه مهمی در کشتن ملت داشتند ! مثلا در واگن مخصوص حیوانات بدون جایی برای نشستن و چیزی برای خوردن ، آن هم در روسیه پهناور که سفر چند روز طول می کشد واضح است که خیلی آمار تلفات در طول سفر زیاد بوده است . به هر حال زندگی یا چیزی شبیه به آن در گولاک فقط و فقط کار است ،مانند شعار معروف در آشویتس که کار شما را آزاد می کند ، کار پست در سرمای سیبری ، بدون لباس کافی و غذا و حتی بدون لوازم مورد نیاز کار و بدیهی ایست که خبری هم از بهداشت نیست و مرگ این بار به شکل بیماری کولاک میکند . رفتار نگهبان ها هم به گونه ای ایست که شخصیت زندانی را کاملا خرد کرده و خلاصه نه به صورت جسمی و نه به صورت روحی چیزی از انسان باقی نمی ماند و انسان به مرحله ای پست تر از حیوان سقوط می کند . افرادی که به خاطر چیزی که ما به آن غذا می گوییم با یکدیگر به شدت می جنگیدند و این کار برای سالهای طولانی تکرار میشده . و جالبه که زمانی هم که افراد آزاد میشدند در جامعه سوسیالیستی شوروی با یک سابقه بسیار بد باید از صفر شروع می کردند . و هیچ چیزی مانند مسکن یا کوپن غذا نداشتند اما باز این امید به برگشتن به جامعه بود که آنها را زنده نگه می داشت (شاید ).
کتاب محلی ایست برای تفکر حداقل چهار نوع دیدگاه متفاوت : زندانی ، نگهبان ، خواننده و کسی که این نوع زندگی را ساخته ( عمو جوزف و حزبش ) و صد البته توان تاب آوری انسان (بنگر که تا چه حد است ) و این بحثه عمیق که انسان تا چه اندازه می تواند سختی را تحمل کند ؟
فکر نمی کنم که بتوان پاسخی به این سوال داد ، با دیدن میلونها انسانی که مثلا در ونزوئلا در سطل آشغال به دنبال غذا می گردند یا مهاجرینی که با چند تکه چوب دل به اقیانوس می زنند و این داستان سر دراز دارد
Profile Image for Sara.
Author 1 book489 followers
May 20, 2018
The real significance of this novel lies in its exposure of the political system that fostered and supported the gulags of Soviet Russia. The writing is stark and matter-of-fact, just like the life of the gulag. It is weighty and yet there is no despair in the character of Shukhov. He brims with hope and appreciation. He is grateful when the weather is warm enough that the mortar doesn’t freeze. “It is a good day for bricklaying” he says.

What offence lands a man in such a prison? Very small infractions or none at all can draw a ten years sentence, and frequently that is extended, again without any explanation or reason. The injustice of the system is paled against the suffering inflicted in the camp, being worked at hard labor in freezing conditions, without proper clothing, with little food, and without any possibility of escape or rescue.

Perhaps the saddest thing is that prisoners become used to this life and come to value the small bits of joy they can squeeze from a crust of bread or a tobacco butt passed to them by a more fortunate inmate. And yet, that is what speaks to the spark of humanity that even these kinds of conditions cannot stifle...where there is hope there is life, without it how could any of them endure even a "good" day.
Profile Image for Iman Vaezi.
26 reviews25 followers
November 16, 2019
روز ایوان شوخوف دنیسویچ راس ساعت 5 با صدای زنگ بیدارباش شروع می‌شود و او به همراه بقیه زندانیان، قدم‌رو به درون سرمای گزنده می‌روند، لخت و وارسی می‌شوند که مبادا چیزی ممنوع داشته باشند و به سمت کار تا غروب آفتاب روانه می‌شوند؛ بدون استراحت، بدون شکمی سیر. در این کتاب لاغر 180 صفحه‌ای، زندگی روتین فرساینده شوخوف را دنبال می‌کنیم و می‌بینیم که چطور برای حفظ شرف خود، حتی در مقیاسی کوچک و ظریف، تقلا می‌کند.

سال 1945، در هنگامه جنگ سرد، الکساندر سولژنیتسین به دلیل نوشتن نظری انتقادی در مورد استالین (در نامه‌ای خصوصی به دوستش) به هشت سال زندان در اردوگاه کار اجباری (گولاگ) محکوم شد. پس از طی محکومیت‌اش از اردوگاه آزاد شد ولی او را به قزاقستان تبعید کردند (سال 1953 و چند هفته پیش از مرگ استالین). البته پس از دو سال، در حکم او تجدید نظر شد و به او اجازه بازگشت به شوروی را دادند. بر اساس تجربه شخصی، این کتاب را نوشت تا وحشت و سرسام بی‌عدالتی در گولاگ‌های شوروی را برملا کند. زمانی که برای اولین بار در سال 1962 منتشر شد (به لطف زمانی که خروشچف کمی سانسور را کاهش داد- البته قصد داشت طعنه به استالین بزند)، به سرعت تبدیل به فریادی بلند و دلیرانه علیه رژیم هولناک استالین در شوروی گشت، تا جایی که ناشر او گفت: "در هر کسی یک استالینیست وجود دارد، در خود من حتی یک استالین وجود دارد. ما باید این اهریمن را ریشه‌کن کنیم". جسارت کرده بود تو چشم‌های هیولای شوروی نگاه کند و حتی پلک نزند. البته دوران آن آزادی خفیف هم موقتی بود و سولژنیتسین بهای مخالفت و اعتراض خود را داد و در سال 1974 باز از شوروی اخراج شد. سولژنیتسین به خاطر این رمان جسورانه‌اش برنده جایزه نوبل سال 1970 شد.

ایوان شوخوف دنیسویچ یک کارگر است، هرچند نه در مفهوم "کارگران جهان متحد شوید!". استالین، مارکسیسم را فاسد کرد، و تجسم سولژنیتسین از شوخوف، پاسخی بی‌پرده و طعنه‌آمیز به آن است. ایوان شوخوف دنیسویچ یک کارگر است، او توسط سیستمی به زندان انداخته شد که بر پایه خیزش طبقه کارگر بنیان نهاده شده بود. او به رغم سیستم فاسد، هویت خودش را با سخت کار کردن به جای برای سیستم کار کردن حفظ می‌کند. این کتاب هرگز داستان یک قربانی نیست! پرتره‌ای از یک کارگر زحمتکش است که سعی می‌کند با شرایط سخت و مشقت فوق‌العاده مقابله کند. پیروزی‌ها و دستاوردهای شوخوف به قدری کوچک هستند که در دنیای آزاد اصلا به چشم نمی‌آیند.

یک روز از زندگی ایوان دنیسویچ کوتاه است و در آن نویسنده بر جزئیات شخصیت‌ها و زندگی بیگاری تمرکز کرده و کوشش نموده هویت و سرگذشت شخصیت‌های جانبی را از طریق پروتاگونیست داستان تعریف کند. نویسنده به شیوه‌ای فشرده و بهینه، بدون هدر دادن واژه‌ای، بدون پیروی از عواطف و احساسات و بدون گزافه‌گویی در جزئیات، خوف و بیچارگی زندانی‌ها را به ما تزریق می‌کند. تزریقی به شدت دردناک ولی به طور عجیبی لذیذ! چون کوشیده پاره به پاره، روایتش با پایداری و طنزی تلخ بدرخشد، حتی در مواجهه با ادبار و نگون‌بختی فوق‌العاده. سازگاری و انعطاف‌پذیری روحیه انسان در مواجهه با محیط فاقد ویژگی‌های انسانی، بخش لذیذ این کتاب است.

دوست داشتم کتاب طولانی‌تر بود، بیشتر با همبندان شوخوف آشنا می‌شدم. در همین مقدار کم نیز همه شخصیت‌ها جذاب از آب درآمده‌اند. به طور خاص دوست داشتم از سرگذشت پیرمردی که در زمان شام جلوی شوخوف نشسته بود آگاه بشم. روحیه‌ای قوی در پیرنگ روایت وجود دارد که تنم را مور مور می‌کند. وسعت و حقارت روح انسانی همزمان شانه به شانه هم می‌زدند.

کتاب مجموعه‌ای غنی از جزئیات گیرا، احساسات نیرومند، طعنه‌ها و مفاهیم مختلف است. شوخوف زندانی‌ای سرکش است که سر جلوی نگون‌بختی‌ها خم نمی‌کند؛ مبارزه فروتنانه او برای حفظ شرف و کرامت، خواننده را عمیقا متاثر می‌کند. جمع‌بندی پایانی کتاب در انتهای روز از زبان شوخوف، نیرویی ساده از یک روح ساده است که تا مدت‌ها همراه شما در گوشه ذهنتان باقی می‌ماند. از خوانش این روایت پشیمان نمی‌شوید.

جمله پایانی کتاب: "... و در نهایت پایان یک روز دیگر، از آغاز صدای زنگ تا صدای زنگ بعدی، یک روز از سه هزار و ششصد و پنجاه و سه روز محکومیت به انضمام سه روز اضافه‌ی سال‌های کبیسه." ... یاد شب اول دوره آموزشی سربازی افتادم؛ وقتی که در آسایشگاه به زیر تخت بالایی نگاه می‌کردم و فکر می‌کردم که خب یک روزش گذشت ... ولی این کجا و آن کجا

انتشارات کتابسرای تندیس کتاب را ناامیدکننده چاپ کرده است (چاپ اول). ترجمه قابل تحمل است ولی به ویرایشی اساسی نیاز دارد. حتی اسم شخصیت اصلی، روی جلد اشتباه نوشته شده ��ست. کیفیت چاپ نیز بد است، خطوط در برخی صفحه‌ها کمرنگ و در برخی سایه دارد. ولی طرح جلد خوبی دارد.

پ.ن.: فیلم خیلی خوبی هم از روی این کتاب با همین نام در سال 1970 ساخته شده است. کتاب و فیلم به شدت پیشنهاد می‌شود.
Displaying 1 - 30 of 5,535 reviews

Can't find what you're looking for?

Get help and learn more about the design.