Life and Fate (Vintage Classics) by Vasily Grossman
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
This 800+ page novel is difficult to describe because of its scope. The setting is the Soviet Union during the seige of Stalingrad, but the dozens of characters deal with their place in the war, their relationship to Stalinism and/or Fascism, and their more basic human relationships. It follows dozens of characters and has an aspect of being a history, but it is also thoughtful and often poetic. In its dealings with the psychology of the characters in relationship to a totalitarian STate, it reminded me of Orwell's 1984, but it goes much deeper and gives a greater sense of the reality of that existence.
Don't let the Russian names or the eight page list of characters scare you off: this is a definite must read.
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