#160 the gulag

An avid reader, I have always loved reading the writings of  Russian authors (Turgenev, Tolstoy, to name a few)…although these were translated versions but the way the writers candidly sculptured life using words, especially those by Anton Chekhov.

However with the late Mr Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn’s writings, it was my interest in understanding the communist regime that led me to his writings. The first book I read was ‘One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich’ — though a thin book, I had to reread to understand some of the grotesque description. This was my initiation to the grim regime. This was followed by The Cancer Ward. I had wonderings if these were fictitious or reality. As I grow older, and having actually seen the late author on the media, I realise he was writing about his experiences in fiction. The Gulag Archipelago was a compelling series I read to gain greater insights…I had to read and reread these books to fully comprehend a glimpse of the realities that humans lived through.

Though he was expelled by his country leaders after he wrote a personal letter to his friend criticising Stalin, he returned to his homeland when allowed. He eventually accepted the highest literary award from the then-President Vladimir Putin in 2007. On Sunday, 3rd August, at the age of 89 he RIP.  

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