Shalamov has suffered the most horrible conditions in the Soviet Gulag system -- 15 years in the Kolyma region, one of the coldest and harshest places on Earth. He lived to tell about this experience.
“Suffering—elemental suffering—can never be told. There is no other state where the distance between a narration merely truthful and a narration that is truth itself creates such an achingly unfathomable abyss. It is this that elevates the work of Varlam Shalamov. His torturous secret resides in how the focus of his attention is turned only toward the frozen crenellation of palpable concrete details. What he knew about the human being was appalling. And although none of this can be transmitted—nonetheless, he transmits it to us.” —László Krasznahorkai
We will read four stories: