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Publisher's Summary

One of the most extraordinary literary documents to have emerged from the Soviet Union, this is the story of labor camp inmate Ivan Denisovich Shukhov and his struggle to maintain his dignity in the face of Communist oppression. Based on the author’s own experience in the gulags, where he spent nearly a decade as punishment for making derogatory remarks against Stalin, the novel is an unforgettable portrait of the entire world of Stalin’s forced work camps. An instant classic upon publication in 1962, it confirmed Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn’s international stature as “a literary genius whose talent matches that of Dostoevsky, Turgenev, Tolstoy” (Harrison Salisbury).

©1978 Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn (P)1992 Blackstone Audio, Inc.

What the critics say

“Richard Brown’s razor-sharp narration perfectly suits this fine translation.”– ( Library Journal)
" One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich yields, more than anything else, a beautiful sense of its author as a Chekhovian figure: simple, free of literary affectation, wholly serious.” ( New Republic)

What listeners say about One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich

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  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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  • Jan
  • 2013-03-25

I wanted way more than one day -

I agree with one reviewer that the first 10 minutes are painful and I did consider turning it off. So glad I didn't though. This snapshot "day" opens the world of Stalin's forced labor camps. There is magic in the details, the thoughts, the motives... the bite of sausage, the bread in the mattress. I am so glad it was a good day he chose to share, since I felt almost as if with him. A classic I should have read years ago and will read again.

15 people found this helpful

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  • Mike McGuire
  • 2011-11-03

Most engaging book I have heard/read in months

I was a little reluctant to listen to this book as I was aware of the subject matter, a detailing of life in the Soviet gulag post- World War II, which sounds rather depressing. The reality of the experience was quite the opposite - a detailed description of a day in the life of an inmate of a forced labour camp, Ivan Denisovich, was engaging, and completely absorbing. Listening how the men were able to survive the seemingly endless series of days without hope of release or improvement in their gray, difficult tormented lives was in a strange way, very uplifting. Their endless sense of resourcefulness was touching, and despite the vast unjustness of their situation, the book paints a wonderful picture of human resilience, and leaves one with the sense that no matter how bad things get, one can always find meaning in the minutae of daily existence.

16 people found this helpful

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  • Lana Pennington
  • 2018-05-10

Narrator's voice spoils story

Having studied and read the text, I was deeply disappointed by Richard Brown's reading. His voice is grating, nasal and not suited to this novel at all. I struggled to get through this audio book, and wish I had bought the other version on Audible. This is what happens when you don't listen to a sample first before purchasing.

6 people found this helpful

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  • Gary
  • 2012-11-19

Will haunt you the rest of your life

What made the experience of listening to One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich the most enjoyable?

Actually, this is not an "enjoyable" book. It is, on the other hand, one of the most important books ever written about the 20th century. The story of Russia under Stalinst rule would be completely unbelievable if it weren't completely true.

What did you like best about this story?

How understated it is. By not overdoing it the auther made the story more powerful.

Which scene was your favorite?

I did not have a favorite scene. The book is so short it reads like a one-act play

Who was the most memorable character of One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich and why?

The narrator because his is the only mind tha author explores.

Any additional comments?

The reader for this book was a perfect choice. His almost machine like delivery might annoy some people but it suits the material.

4 people found this helpful

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  • Paul
  • 2012-02-04

use a little expression please

What did you like best about One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich? What did you like least?

I remember my elementary teachers would always coach us to

What did you like best about this story?

The story it's self. The description of the gulag life is overwhelming. That humans can adjust and live under those circumstances..... amazing

How did the narrator detract from the book?

no expression.... very boring

Was One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich worth the listening time?

I've read this book 4-5 times, it never looses its impact.

8 people found this helpful

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  • Tina
  • 2011-08-29

Best narrative so far.

This was by far the best translation I have read yet. I loved it!

2 people found this helpful

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  • Tedd Walther
  • 2021-01-15

A timely story

A classic that everyone should read (or hear). It depicts the dreary horror of life in a Soviet gulag. It isn't exactly a story of hope & light but the sheer ingenuity & dogged persistence of the prisoners under the harsh conditions does inspire admiration. It also puts in perspective the struggles we face today while simultaneously warning us about the end result of socialist government of any stripe. The reading is ok(it annoys me when they mispronounce Russian words & names) but the audio quality varies, with obvious post edits & muffled audio periodically.

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  • Sam Gilley
  • 2020-12-31

Decent Story

but it could have used more tension and I'm not a fan of the Narrator.

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  • F M.
  • 2020-12-19

This Book Matters

The years and years indignities and deprivation pile on pebble by pebble as Solzhenitsyn reveals all the inner and outer events of one mans day in a Soviet work camp. This is a one day version of The Gulag Archipelago and provides a good if super condensed version of some of the topics Archipeligo covers. If you have been meaning to get to the larger work, but haven't had time yet, this could be the short version to just start with. Very much worth the time.

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  • Seth Castle
  • 2020-12-10

Great book, great narration

Learned of this book from watching Dr Jordan Peterson. The narration could not of been any more perfect in my opinion. Book was more on the optimistic side than I had thought it would be which was very nice. Very interesting and well translated.