Synopsis: The story of a day in the life of soviet gulag prisoner Ivan Denisovich Shukhov.
My Take: I enjoyed this book tremendously. I’ve had a bit of a hit and miss history with Russian writers, some I’ve loved while others I’ve found interminable and depressing. What made this book so rewarding for me was that despite the dire subject matter, the book is ultimately genuinely optimistic. Shukov’s enthusiasm for the small victories he is able to eek out are genuinely perspective building and you can’t help but finish this book more positive about your own lot. Highly recommended.
“A day without a dark cloud. Almost a happy day. There were three thousand six hundred and fifty-three days like that in his stretch. From the first clang of the rail to the last clang of the rail. Three thousand six hundred and fifty-three days. The three extra days were for leap years.”