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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

Paperback, Book. English. Historical. Historical fiction.
New ed.
Published London: Vintage, 2011
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Statement of responsibility: Vasily Grossman ; translated by Robert Chandler
Edition statement: with an introduction by Linda Grant.
ISBN: 0099560631, 9780099560630
Note: Previous ed. of this translation: 2006.
Language note: Translated from the Russian.
Physical Description: xl, 863 p. : maps ; 20 cm.
Series: Vintage classics
Subject: Soviet Union Social conditions Fiction.; World War, 1939-1945 Soviet Union Fiction.; Stalingrad, Battle of, Volgograd, Russia, 1942-1943 Fiction.
Uniform Title: Zhizn i sud'ba. English
Series Title: Vintage classics.

Author note

Vasily Grossman was born in 1905. In 1941 he became a correspondent for the Red Army newspaper,Red Star, reporting on the defence of Stalingrad, the fall of Berlin and the consequences of the Holocaust, work collected inA Writer at War. In 1960 Grossman completed his masterpieceLife and Fateand submitted it to an official literary journal. The KGB confiscated the noveland Grossman was told that there was no chance of it being published for another 200 years. Eventually, however, with the help of Andrey Sakharov, a copy of the manuscript was microfilmed and smuggled out to the west by a leading dissident writer, Vladimir Voinovich. Grossman beganEverything Flowsin 1955 and was still working on it during his last days in hospital in September 1964.

Linda Grant was born in Liverpool on 15 February 1951, the child of Russian and Polish Jewish immigrants. She is the author ofSexing the Millennium: A Political History of the Sexual Revolution, The Cast Iron Shore, Remind Me Who I am Again, Still Here, The People On The Street: A Writer's View of Israel,The Clothes On Their Backs,The Thoughtful DresserandWe Had It So Good. Her second novel,When I Lived in Modern Times, set in Tel Aviv in the last years of the British Mandate won the Orange Prize for Fiction in 2000.


"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||"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||"A literary genius. HisLife And Fateis rated by many as the finest Russian novel of the 20th century"
Mail on Sunday||"One of the world's great war novels"
Independent on Sunday

Back cover copy


Books shape our lives and transform the way we see ourselves and each other. The best books are timeless and continue to be relevant generation after generation. Vintage Classics asked the winners of The Orange Prize for Fiction which books they would pass onto the next generation and why. Linda Grant choseLife and Fate.

This is 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.

'I have urged all my friends to read it.... I want others to feel as I have done - that they are entering the heart of the twentieth century, touching its pulse' Linda Grant

See also:So Long, See You Tomorrow