Literary Mumblings

A few words about the books I’ve read…

One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovitch by Alexander Solzhenitsyn

Posted by Amanda on April 13, 2009


My grandmother has this one used book store that she have been going to for the last couple decades. She goes there regularly and she has brought me there a few times. Each time, I find myself in the classics section because there are so many books there that I can never find in a normal bookstore. I found The Mysteries of Udolpho by Anne Radcliffe there and nearly started jumping up and down. I also found some of Solzhenitsyn’s work, which I have been interested in ever since one of my early college classes. At that point, I gave in and selected One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovitch.

One Day is exactly that: one day in the life of a man in the Soviet Gulag, from the early hours of the morning, through the day at the job, till the final lights out. The reader sees Ivan Denisovitch’s life and how the men there struggled with their circumstances and their fellow men to survive.

I have to say, this book was amazing in it’s simplicity. It was rather short but you saw so much. Solzhenitsyn presents this day as a normal day for Ivan Denisovitch but that normalcy is rather devastating to think about. I suppose the proper word is stark, however overused that term may be.

This was one of the books I really just consumed. I read it very quickly and though I don’t think it is quite right to say that I enjoyed a book about a man’s life in the gulag, I think you will understand me if that is the term I use. I also enjoyed this book for it’s historical messages and for the idea of what could happen when the circumstances found in Soviet Russia are set in motion. Simply, a powerful book and one that I think people should read.



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