Wednesday, March 7, 2018

What I Read: One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich

I've long been interested in Russian literature, so when this title came up in the comments section of my favorite writing blog, I added it to my towering GoodReads "to read" shelf. A book club buddy gifted me a copy earlier this year and so I immediately sat down to read it.

Nothing happens, which will either bother you or it won't. I've long been a fan of the "slice of life" kind of stories, where small struggles gain epic proportions (television shows like The Adventures of Pete and Pete or Seinfeld, movies like Clerks), and that's largely what One Day... is. It's just that the backdrop is a prison camp instead of American suburban life. If your tastes overlap with mine, then you'll get a lot out of it. But if "a book about nothing, set in a gulag" sounds tedious to you, then it probably won't be a lot of fun to read. (Not that it was "fun," exactly.)

Aside: reading this in February in Stockholm is just like...the weather? Relateable struggle, my dude. Actual text I sent a friend (who currently lives in Dubai, the bastard) two weeks ago:


On that particular morning I should note I was wearing a coat, hat, and scarf, plus two layers of bottoms and two or three layers of tops. Was it Soviet gulag cold? (Which according to the book was minus 20 *C?) No, probably not. But still. Relateable struggle.

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