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Kolyma Stories by Varlam Shalamov

Kolyma Stories

Kolyma Stories by Varlam Shalamov
Paperback
Jun 12, 2018 | 768 Pages
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  • Paperback $22.95

    Jun 12, 2018 | 768 Pages

  • Ebook $14.99

    Jun 12, 2018 | 776 Pages

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Praise

“As a record of the Gulag and human nature laid bare, Varlam Shalamov is the equal of Solzhenitsyn and Nadezhda Mandelstam, while the artistry of his stories recalls Chekhov. This is literature of the first rank, to be read as much for pleasure as a caution against the perils of totalitarianism.” —David Bezmozgis

“Available only for the last five years in Russia itself, a searing document, worthy of shelving alongside Solzhenitsyn.” —Kirkus Reviews, Starred Review

“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

“Shalamov’s experience in the camps was longer and more bitter than my own…I respectfully confess that to him and not me it was given to touch those depths of bestiality and despair toward which life inthe camps dragged us all.” —Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn

“[Shalamov’s] prose is as simple and spare as a scientist’s. The stories are exciting because they deal with extremes, like stories of Shackleton’s expeditions, or Jack London’s Klondike tales…Sit with them long enough and you begin to sense the depths of feeling under the permafrost, and something approaching Chekhovian artistry…these stories are literature—great literature, with their own terrible beauty.” —Alex Abramovich, Bookforum

“Like the landscape gardeners of the late 18th century, Shalamov builds ruins. The sketches remain fragments because they are about fragments—of men, of society, of dreams.” —Jay Martin, The New York Times Book Review
 
“There can be no doubt that Shalamov’s reportage from the lower depths of the Gulag of a society building a ‘new world’ will remain forever among the masterpieces of documentary or memoir literature and an invaluable source for the present and future understanding of the ‘Soviet human condition.’” —Laszlo Dienes, World Literature Today
 
“A numbness of sorts pervades the tales as a whole, as if the accumulation of horrors could not be related or understood except under very heavy sedation. In Andrei Sinyavsky’s apt characterization of Varlam Shalamov: ‘“He writes as if he were dead.’” —Maurice Friedberg, Commentary

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