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Book Title: An Armenian Sketchbook|
The author of the book: Vasily Grossman
Edition: NYRB Classics
Date of issue: February 19th 2013
ISBN 13: 9781590176184
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Reader ratings: 7.7
Format files: PDF
The size of the: 4.86 MB
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An NYRB Classics Original
Few writers had to confront as many of the last century’s mass tragedies as Vasily Grossman, who wrote with terrifying clarity about the Shoah, the Battle of Stalingrad, and the Terror Famine in the Ukraine. An Armenian Sketchbook, however, shows us a very different Grossman, notable for his tenderness, warmth, and sense of fun.
After the Soviet government confiscated—or, as Grossman always put it, “arrested”—Life and Fate, he took on the task of revising a literal Russian translation of a long Armenian novel. The novel was of little interest to him, but he needed money and was evidently glad of an excuse to travel to Armenia. An Armenian Sketchbook is his account of the two months he spent there.
This is by far the most personal and intimate of Grossman’s works, endowed with an air of absolute spontaneity, as though he is simply chatting to the reader about his impressions of Armenia—its mountains, its ancient churches, its people—while also examining his own thoughts and moods. A wonderfully human account of travel to a faraway place, An Armenian Sketchbook also has the vivid appeal of a self-portrait.
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Read information about the authorрусс: Василий Гроссман
Born Iosif Solomonovich Grossman into an emancipated Jewish family, he did not receive a traditional Jewish education. A Russian nanny turned his name Yossya into Russian Vasya (a diminutive of Vasily), which was accepted by the whole family. His father had social-democratic convictions and joined the Mensheviks. Young Vasily Grossman idealistically supported the Russian Revolution of 1917.
When the Great Patriotic War broke out in 1941, Grossman's mother was trapped in Berdichev by the invading German army, and eventually murdered together with 20,000 to 30,000 other Jews who did not evacuate Berdychiv. Grossman was exempt from military service, but volunteered for the front, where he spent more than 1,000 days. He became a war reporter for the popular Red Army newspaper Krasnaya Zvezda (Red Star). As the war raged on, he covered its major events, including the Battle of Moscow, the Battle of Stalingrad, the Battle of Kursk, and the Battle of Berlin. In addition to war journalism, his novels (such as The People are Immortal (Народ бессмертен)) were being published in newspapers and he came to be regarded as a legendary war hero. The novel Stalingrad (1950), later renamed For a Just Cause (За правое дело), is based on his own experiences during the siege.
Grossman's descriptions of ethnic cleansing in Ukraine and Poland, and the liberation of the Treblinka and Majdanek extermination camps, were some of the first eyewitness accounts —as early as 1943—of what later became known as the Holocaust. His article The Hell of Treblinka 1944) was disseminated at the Nuremberg War Crimes Tribunal as evidence for the prosecution.
Grossman died of stomach cancer in 1964, not knowing whether his novels would ever be read by the public.
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