Tuesday, April 10, 2007

One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich

written by Alexander Solzhenitsyn

Once again, I blame my husband for the inspiration to read this novel. When he said to me, "it all takes place over one day," at first, I wanted to cry. How could this be interesting? "I woke up, brushed my teeth, took a shower, got dressed, went downstairs, made oatmeal, ate it, and walked to the office to pay rent." Riveting. Then he mentioned the part about it being set in a Stalinist work camp. And let's face it, reading the entirety of his Gutenberg bookshelf is the absolute closest I am going to get to my own education.
So, I read.

The book is short, only 139 pages, and that is reason number one why you can't excuse not reading "One Day in the Life..."

The eloquence behind the writing is a mesmerizing contrast to the horrific subject matter of this novel. The attitude of the men, their determination and dedication to survival and life provided me with a map of sorts to guide my happiness in life. We're taught not to compare ourselves with others. We are all unique and therefore our lives should be too. But, I never succeed in this.
Strangely, I'm dealing with the same topic as I was in the aftermath of "Moral Disorder"...to live life, despite happiness or tragedy and so on, life is to live. This seems to be my new creed, but I will always struggle with the being thankful part.

I grew up loving a good mystery, but reason two to read "One Day in the Life", is the heart-pounding stress I felt at each page turn - it is so much better than a Nancy Drew who-dun-it.

There's such a good feeling I have when at the end of a novel I am relieved to have devoured the story in its entirety and reached the conclusion, but depressed because it's over and there is nothing left (that's perhaps why I'm such a sucker for an author's second or third work). This novel has given me that. I have learned that a good book is supposed to be read more than once and this is a good book. And so, I'll add it to the shelf of works to read over and over again. And I'll ponder life through a little clearer lens and with a little more clarity. That's what a good book does to me, it makes me think again and again.

5 comments:

Anonymous said...

Wow, I am a reader and you are totally amazing me.... to go from nan drew to these. good job hunna-girl
love mumsy

Teal said...

awesome meg.
"one day in the life..." is one of my favorites, and your post makes me want to go read it again. In fact, if I can find a copy, I think I will...

Josh (the oak) said...

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sufferingsummer said...

you chose another of my favorites...sometimes i am so glad we have husbands who just don't give up with the encouraging to read...i never would have picked this one up had it not been for Colin's stating over and over how much i would love it...and i felt much the same as you did about it...i'll probably have to read this one again now! thanks meg!

Beth said...

Oh, i relly really like this book! I read it in highschool and I read it last year again and it is a good, yet very sad, book.