Cancer Ward

( 5 )

Overview

Cancer Ward examines the relationship of a group of people in the cancer ward of a provincial Soviet hospital in 1955, two years after Stalin's death. We see them under normal circumstances, and also reexamined at the eleventh hour of illness. Together they represent a remarkable cross-section of contemporary Russian characters and attitudes. The experiences of the central character, Oleg Kostoglotov, closely reflect the author's own: Solzhenitsyn himself became a patient in a cancer ward in the mid-1950s, on his...

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Cancer Ward: A Novel

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Overview

Cancer Ward examines the relationship of a group of people in the cancer ward of a provincial Soviet hospital in 1955, two years after Stalin's death. We see them under normal circumstances, and also reexamined at the eleventh hour of illness. Together they represent a remarkable cross-section of contemporary Russian characters and attitudes. The experiences of the central character, Oleg Kostoglotov, closely reflect the author's own: Solzhenitsyn himself became a patient in a cancer ward in the mid-1950s, on his release from a labor camp, and later recovered. Translated by Nicholas Bethell and David Burg.

Death and moral responsibility, examined in the setting of a provincial hospital.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"A literary event of the first magnitude."—Time

"The most moving of Solzhenitsyn's novels."—Clifton Fadiman

"Solzhenitsyn's characteristic strategy for subduing space is to temporize it—to transform it into time . . . This transformation of space into time allows Solzhenitsyn to present a variegated group of people who are caught in a collective situation of relative isolation by following the through their daily routine . . . These forcibly restricted milieus provide a natural and persuasive metaphor for life itself . . . How or why Solzhenitsyn is able to succeed . . . I do not know . . . It is probably finally a matter of genius—which is to say, mystery. But the novels rise above the questions they propound and serve—as great literature always has done—to be both a challenge to and a triumph for the free spirit of man wherever it allows itself to exist."—Earl Rovit, American Scholar

Time

A literary event of the first magnitude.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780374511999
  • Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux
  • Publication date: 11/1/1991
  • Edition description: Reissue
  • Pages: 560
  • Sales rank: 408,067
  • Product dimensions: 5.91 (w) x 8.18 (h) x 1.43 (d)

Meet the Author

Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn, winner of the 1970 Nobel Prize in Literature, was born in 1918. In February 1945, while he was captain of a reconnaissance battery of the Soviet Army, he was arrested and sentenced to an eight-year term in a labor camp and permanent internal exile, which was cut short by Khrushchev's reforms, allowing him to return from Kazakhstan to Central Russia in 1956. Although permitted to publish One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich in 1962--which remained his only full-length work to have appeared in his homeland until 1990--Solzhenitsyn was by 1969 expelled from the Writers' Union. The publication in the West of his other novels and, in particular, of The Gulag Archipelago, brought retaliation from the authorities. In 1974, Solzhenitsyn was arrested, stripped of his Soviet citizenship, and forcibly flown to Frankfurt. Solzhenitsyn and his wife and children moved to the United States in 1976. In September 1991, the Soviet government dismissed treason charges against him; Solzhenitsyn returned to Russia in 1994. He died in Moscow in 2008.

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4
( 5 )
Rating Distribution

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Sort by: Showing all of 8 Customer Reviews
  • Posted May 16, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    Amazing

    Solzhenitsyn writes a very telling novel about post revolution Russian. His characters are touching and real. He deals with a tragic event in a very respectful and realistic way. I loved this book so much that I went out and also purchased his other works. This isn't a light book, it isn't fluff, but it is a work that everyone should read.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 27, 2004

    Outstanding

    This book is marvelous. If you have read any of Solzhenitsyn's other work, you will dfeinately appriciate this work. If anything, the way this book unravles is ravishing. His portrayal of several characters relating to one major theme is ardently Russian. This is a page turner, so make sure you have ample time to read huge chunchs per moment of reading.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 7, 2002

    Brilliant Narrative

    This book will enlighten those of you who actively extol the ideologies of the USSR. Not to mention the brilliant narration, numerous philosophical reflections that should inspire all of us, and the poignant examination of cancer, a disease that still, despite technological progress in the field of medicine, snatches entire lives away and consumes the souls of those left behind.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 10, 2001

    A Moving Tale

    This is one of my favorite novels of all time. The characters are wonderful and memorable. Anyone who is a fan on this time-period in Russian history will especially find this book interesting. I'm a great fan of Russian literature but sometimes the translation is so awkward it masks the beauty of the prose. This translation, however, is one of the better ones I have read, and I feel that it stays true to the original text. After watching both of my grandfathers die of cancer, I found this book extremely moving for its universal portrayal of individuals suffering from an affliction like cancer. The book goes beyond just a social looking glass into post-Stalinistic Russian society.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 26, 2010

    I Also Recommend:

    required reading

    This is a great book. It should be required reading in school because it really shows what socialism is and the realism of it in Russia. The writer's other books also are very good.

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    Posted December 25, 2009

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 4, 2009

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 4, 2008

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