Friends have been telling me to read Grossman:-
As part of my Year of Russian Reading, I have begun Life and Fate, Vasily Grossman’s magnum opus which was ‘arrested’ by the KGB in 1961. It was the book that was arrested, not its author, because he was the highly esteemed Soviet journalist who had documented the Battle of Stalingrad, and the first to document the horrors of Nazism when Treblinka was liberated. So the Soviets were careful not to make a martyr of him.
Grossman was allowed to go on writing, but Life and Fate was stuck in the censor’s office. Beyond the USSR nobody knew about him or his work, so there were no campaigns for freedom of speech on his behalf as there were for other dissident writers, and he died in 1964 with the novel unpublished. But a copy had been smuggled out on microfilm, and in 1980 it was translated by Robert Chandler. It was recently reissued under the Vintage Classics imprint as…
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