Life and Fate by Vasily Grossman

  • March 12, 2013 · 7:00 PM
  • Angie's House

Grossman began his writing career as a journalist, including several years as a correspondent for the Soviet military paper.  He spent much World War II on the frontlines of Germany's invasion of the Soviet Union.  The events he witnessed during those years, particularly the battle of Stalingrad, form the background against which much of the story of Life and Fate is told.

After submitting the manuscript for publication, Grossman's apartment was raided by the KGB, and all traces of the novel, including typewriter ribbons, were confiscated.   Despite Grossmans pleas that the novel be granted freedom, the novel remained unpublished in the hands of the Soviet government for years.  Eventually, one of Grossman's friends and fellow writer, was able to obtain a copy of the novel and smuggle it out of the country.  Written in 1958, the novel was not published until 1980 - fourteen years after Grossman's death.

The novel is considered by many to be comparable in quality and importance to Tolstoy's War and Peace, telling the story of Russia's fight to expel the Nazis in much the same way Tolstoy wrote of Russia's fight to expel the French.  Like War and Peace, Grossman's story is grand in scale and epic in scope.  It clocks in at about 900 pages, depending on the edition, which is why this meeting is being posted so early.  Hopefully, it will provide people with ample time to finish.

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  • Jan L.

    Great discussion. Although there was a satisfying feeling of accomplishment in finishing this unruly monster... still ambivalent whether this was a work of art or high end journalism.

    March 13, 2013

  • Barbara

    As always, a wonderful discussion with time spent comparing and contrasting different points of views. Book club always provides a great evening!

    March 13, 2013

  • Will B.

    Sorry, have to cover for someone on the unit. Suggest,"The Finkler Question as a reading.
    Will

    March 11, 2013

    • Angie R.

      Sorry you won't be able to make it, Bill. I hope we see you next month. I've heard good things about The Finkler Question, but I don't think it really fits into the scope of this group.

      March 12, 2013

  • A former member
    A former member

    What's the book for April. If I'm going to finish in time I need to start really soon especially if it is a long one. Back in Philly April 3.

    March 10, 2013

    • Angie R.

      We'll decide the next book tonight and I will get the meeting posted either tonight or tomorrow morning. We'll always allow extra time for a really long book like this one was.

      March 12, 2013

  • Mabel

    Hi all, won't be able to make it this month after all. Have fun!

    February 17, 2013

    • Angie R.

      Sorry you aren't going to make it. Hope we see you in April.

      February 18, 2013

  • Angie R.

    Maria, are you going back to the UK for good, or are you just going to be gone for this meeting?

    January 13, 2013

    • Maria C

      Hi Angie. Sorry for the delay in responding - I thought I'd get emailed if I ever got a message through this website! I'm not exactly sure how long I'll be back in the UK for. I hope to be back in Philadelphia in June. I'll be sorry to miss the book clubs in the meantime, and hope you're still going when I get back! Thanks so much for organising such great events - I've thoroughly enjoyed all of them. Book club has definitely been a highlight of my time in Philadelphia so far:-) Maria xx

      January 30, 2013

  • Nick P.

    I just picked it up at the library. It's quite the tome! I look forward to reading it and meeting everybody.

    January 16, 2013

  • A former member
    A former member

    Okay, I'm going to get this book and enjoy the book club vicariously. Best wishes from Atlanta.

    1 · January 15, 2013

  • Angie R.

    Hooray! We've finally found a book to lure Jan back out.

    December 29, 2012

    • Barbara

      I am smiling and giving a "LIKE".

      December 29, 2012

    • Jan L.

      It looks like a very good choice too, Angie. THANKS! Can't wait to see you guys again.

      December 31, 2012

  • Barbara

    I just received my copy of the book from Amazon. I also got a book called "A Writer at War" which is a collection of the war writings of Vasily Grossman. Really looking forward to getting into this.

    December 29, 2012

    • Angie R.

      You'll have to let me know how that is. I thought about picking it up, but wasn't sure I'd accomplish much more than feeling guilty about not reading it.

      December 29, 2012

    • Barbara

      LOL.

      December 29, 2012

  • A former member
    A former member

    Plans changed to stay in Houston beyond the 12th and Skype is not really a good alternative to being there. Got the book on Kindle too. I may just read it anyway.

    December 29, 2012

  • Barbara

    I have ordered this and another book written by the author from Amazon. Looking forward to our meeting!

    December 29, 2012

  • Maria C

    Unfortunately, I'm going to have to miss this because I'm returning to the UK, which is a real shame considering I suggested the book! I hope you all enjoy it, and I'll look at the website to check for your comments on the book!

    December 29, 2012

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