January books meetup - Life and Fate by Vasily Grossman

We're taking a break over Christmas which gives us a couple of months to tackle a longer book this time: Life and Fate by Vasily Grossman.

"Life and Fate is an epic tale of a country told through the fate of a single family, the Shaposhnikovs. As the battle of Stalingrad looms, Grossman's characters must work out their destinies in a world torn by ideological tyranny and war.

Completed in 1960 and then confiscated by the KGB, this sweeping panorama of Soviet Society remained unpublished until it was smuggled into the West in 1980, where it was hailed as a masterpiece."

One of the greatest masterpieces of the twentieth century (Times Literary Supplement )

It is only a matter of time before Grossman is acknowledged as one of the great writers of the 20th century... Life and Fate is a book that demands to be talked about (Guardian )

One of the finest Russian novels of the 20th century (Daily Telegraph )

It's shorter than War and Peace! Come along to talk about this book, other books, life in general or maybe fate.

Radio 4 discussion about Vasily Grossman and the book:


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  • Abdul

    The meet up was brilliant. A bit thin on the ground..due to the freezing weather perhaps, but the people who did attend had a good discussion.

    January 24, 2013

  • Paul

    Having just zipped through this book, maybe it's time for something a bit longer and more demanding? What do you think, any suggestions for next month? We'll make a decision at the meeting on Thursday. See you there.

    January 22, 2013

    • Damon K.

      Paul - I have just finished "Stranger in a Strange Land" by Robert Heinlein. This is the 3rd time I have read it and it never ceases to amaze me at the depth, layers of complexity, beauty and effervescence that he brings to the story and also highlights the notion of language as a force. This book is nothing short of amazing and what a wonderful title to discuss in the club. The only issue I see is that we may not have enough time in the evening to cover its vast and comprehensive subject matter. Please pretty please...

      January 22, 2013

    • Paul

      Thanks for the suggestion. It sounds interesting. Anyone else?

      January 23, 2013

  • Kelly R.

    I can't come this month, I've got to work. Sorry guys, I was really looking forward to seeing what everyone else thought of it. See you next month I hope! K x

    January 21, 2013

    • Becky M

      Well I will be there! Now Kelly, are you sure you've read all 858 pages?! Should you wish to send in a bullet pointed list of key thoughts, we'd enjoy analysing it for key evidence proving you're not just using it as a door stop.

      January 21, 2013

    • Kelly R.

      The wonder of a kindle - no extra weight training required. I've only got 2% to go... although that's actually a surprisingly substantial amount.

      January 21, 2013

  • Damon K.

    Just to say HIYA!... so looking forward to meeting you all and discussing this book and anything else that takes our fancy! Have a good New Year too ALL on here. Bliss!... Damon.

    December 30, 2012

    • Paul

      I'm well behind schedule at the moment - some serious reading needed. I like what I've seen so far though.

      January 8, 2013

    • Paul

      Hi Amanda, up to you whether you come or not, but my feeling is that with this book it might not be a big problem. It's the siege of Stalingrad and the Jewish holocaust so you know how that ends already. What I've read so far the knowledge of what's coming is a big part of what makes it so powerful and moving. Or maybe there's a twist and they all live happily ever after. We'll see.

      January 11, 2013

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