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Life and Fate by Vasily Grossman

Life and Fate is on my book pile and has been described as a life changing book

Vassily Grossman Life and Fate

A Soviet War and Peace, one of the greatest 20th century novels, Grossman chronicles the Battle of Stalingrad  (1942-3, when the German advance was halted by the Red Army) and the extended family of the Shaposhnikovs.  It is the story of these characters caught up in immense struggle of opposing armies and ideologies – Nazism and Communism

Grossman was a proud son of Ukraine, steeped in Russian culture. A Soviet Jew journalist, who as a war correspondent and covered the Battle of Stalingrad and the liberation of the extermination camp, Treblinka

In this book he writes unsparingly of war from his first hand experience on the front line, but also he recounts acts of kindness that redeem humanity. Ultimately his message is one of hope

Life and Fate is dedicated to Grossman’s mother, who was killed in the holocaust at Berdychev in Ukraine in September 1941. Sadly Grossman never saw his novel published, a labour of ten years, as he died from cancer two years after its completion

Grossman’s writings still hold relevance today with the recent war between Russia and Ukraine

I first came across Grossman on BBC Sounds when I listened to Grossman’s War, his dark and honest account of the Battle of Stalingrad

Candida Hopkinson

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