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Let's read Mikhail Sholokhov’s “Fate of a man”

“Fate of a man” is a short story (72 pages) by the Nobel Prize winner (1965) Mikhail Sholokhov, that narrates the life if a simple man, a car driver, who fought in the war and escaped from a German prison camp. He survived what he thought was the worst – only to face new trials.

“”Fate of a man” is more than a mere story… Sholokhov found an extraordinarily compressed, striking form, that combined epic with laconism, remarkable single-mindedness with tremendous range, The “Fate of a man” represents the discovery of a new form, which can conveniently be called the epic short story.” (From “Mikhail Sholokhov: A Critical Introduction” by G. Mukherjee, p. 163)

A few random questions in advance - if you like (in addition to hopefully your less random ones).

I.  Biography of Sholokhov on the Nobel prize website notes some parallels between his work (primarily “And Quiet Flows the Don”) with that of Lev Tolstoy (the paragraph below). Can this be said of “Fate of a man”?

“Reminiscent of Tolstoy in its vividly realistic scenes, its stark character descriptions and, above all, its vast panorama of the revolutionary period, Sholokhov's epic became the most read work of Soviet fiction. Deeply interested in human destinies which are played against the background of the transformations and troubles in Russia, he unites in his work the artistic heritage of Tolstoy and Gogol with a new vision introduced into Russian literature by Maxim Gorky.”

II.  Both Ernest Hemingway and Mikhail Sholokhov worked as war correspondents during World War II and extensively wrote about it. Do you see any similarity in their story telling?

III.  Lastly I encountered the article below that claims that Soviet literature has not been taught in the US colleges (while it is not the case in Great Britain). Why do you think Russian writers of the Soviet period have not become better known to American intellectuals – if this is true?

We will also discuss the venue for our future meetings as our customary location can be quite noisy at times.

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  • A former member
    A former member

    I found an acceptable read at:

    No download, just open.

    August 13, 2014

  • A former member
    A former member

    it would be helpful if someone who read the novella could also listen to the audio and tell us if the audio version is complete.

    August 13, 2014

    • Roger

      The audio download is not complete and is somewhat the worse for its exclusions.

      August 13, 2014

  • A former member
    A former member

    audio download at

    Available at Library of Congress.
    Other downloads but I do not trust them.

    August 11, 2014

    • Erica L.

      Dan, I'd like to add my thanks. The copy I ordered never arrived, so really glad to find this download!

      August 12, 2014

    • Teaira

      Thanks! After listening to this, I've decided to sit this one out.

      August 13, 2014

  • Sasha D.

    unfortunately, we became victims of what is known the Mickey Mouse Copyright Act (feel free to Google it, but basically the length of copyright protection is periodically extended to keep Mickey Mouse cartoons outside of public domain, per Disney lobbying). Sholokhov wrote, and was translated to English, when Mickey Mouse was already live and kicking. That's why for a war prose, I prefer "Gallic Wars" by Caesar -- Disney cannot take this away from us :-) Well, "War and Peace" is OK, too.

    July 21, 2014

  • Tania

    Alice, I will see if we can help you with the text. I thought such an old work should be readily available for a free download.

    July 21, 2014

  • Alice S.

    I can't download the book. Nor can I find it in any library. Any suggestions?

    July 21, 2014

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