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Life and fate

Life and fate

Grossman, Vasiliĭ Semenovich

This sweeping account of the siege of Stalingrad gives a panoramic view of the Soviet Union during World War Two, revealing a totalitarian regime where the spirit of freedom that arose among those under fire was feared by the state at least as much as were the Nazis

Book. English. Historical fiction.
Published London: Vintage, 2006
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Statement of responsibility: Vasily Grossman ; translated and with an introduction by Robert Chandler
ISBN: 0099506165, 9780099506164
Note: Includes bibliographical references (p. xxix).
Note: This translation originally published: London: Collins Harvill, 1985.
Language note: Translated from the Russian.
Physical Description: xxix, 864 p. : map ; 20 cm.
Series: Vintage classics
Subject: Soviet Union Social conditions Fiction.; Stalingrad, Battle of, Volgograd, Russia, 1942-1943 Fiction.; World War, 1939-1945 Soviet Union Fiction.
Uniform Title: Zhizn i sudba. English

Author note

Vasily Grossman was born in 1905. In 1941, he became a war reporter for the Red Army newspaper Red Star and came to be regarded as a legendary war hero.Life and Fate, his masterpiece, was considered a threat to the totalitarian regime, and Grossman was told that there was no chance of the novel being published for another 200 years. Grossman died in 1964.


"One of the greatest masterpieces of the twentieth century"
Times Literary Supplement||"It is only a matter of time before Grossman is acknowledged as one of the great writers of the 20th century...Life and Fateis a book that demands to be talked about"
Guardian||"One of the finest Russian novels of the 20th century"
Daily Telegraph||"Vasily Grossman's novel is burnt in my memory, not only by its huge canvas, its meditation on tyranny, and its dazzling description of war, but also because this is the novel that made me cry - not just a few leaked tears, but a full-scale sobbing episode - in Montpellier airport... Grossman lost his mother in a concentration camp. InLife and Fate

,he writes with tenderness, and pain, not only of that experience but of what it is like to survive tyranny. A classic indeed"
Independent||"One of the great writers of the last century"

Back cover copy


'One of the finest Russian novels of the 20th century'Daily Telegraph

Life and Fateis an epic tale of a country told through the fate of a single family, the Shaposhnikovs. As the battle of Stalingrad looms Grossman's characters must work out their destinies in a world torn apart by ideological tyranny and war.

Completed in 1960 but confiscated by the KGB, this sweeping panorama of Soviet Society remained unpublished until it was smuggled into the West where it was hailed as a masterpiece.

See also:War and Peace