Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Aimless Reading: The S's, Part 39 (Alexander Solzhenitsyn)

One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich
Solzhenitsyn, Alexander
One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich

Purchased at the Fordham University Bookstore for a an undergraduate course called, "The Individual vs. The Institution," which I have mentioned before on this blog. Great reading list, terrible class. I remember reading the book and enjoying it; however, looking back on it now I realize that I had very little context within which to understand the book.

Growing up during the cold war in a conservative family, we knew very little about the Soviet Union or Communism, and even less about dissident Soviet writers. Communism was bad. The Soviet Union was evil. Ronald Reagan was great because he stood up to them. That's pretty much what we were taught.

None of which took away from my interest in the story, it's just that my ignorance didn't lead me outside the book itself, at least not until later on.

from One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich

Reveille was sounded, as always, at 5 a.m.–a hammer pounding on a sale outside camp H.Q. The ringing noise came faintly on and off through the windowpanes covered with ice more than an inch thick, and died away fast. It was cold and the warder didn't feel like going on banging.

The sound stopped and it was pitch black on the other side of the window, just like in the middle of the night when Shukhov had to get up to go to the latrine, only now three yellow beams fell on the window–from two lights on the perimeter and one inside camp.

He didn't know why nobody'd come to open the barracks. And you couldn't hear the orderlies hoisting the latrine tank on the poles to carry it out.

2 comments:

Seika Amano said...

who is the author that did the translation for that book? H.T Willer is it??

Michael Kelleher, North Haven, CT said...

No, it was Hingley and Hayward.