Kolyma Tales by Varlam Shalamov Download (read online) free eBook .pdf.epub.kindle

Kolyma Tales

It is estimated that some three million people died in the Soviet forced-labour camps of Kolyma, in the northeastern area of Siberia. Shalamov himself spent seventeen years there, and in these stories he vividly captures the lives of ordinary people caught up in terrible circumstances, whose hopes and plans extended to further than a few hours This new enlarged edition com

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    Rowena

    Jan 04, 2013

    rated it
    it was amazing

    Recommends it for:
    Anyone interested in Russian history
    Recommended to Rowena by:
    Vera

    This was a tough read but one I am very glad to have read. This was a collection of stories about the conditions in Soviet forced-labour camps during the Stalinist regime. It definitely filled in many of the knowledge gaps I had of what happened in the Siberian gulags. Only someone who spent time in a Siberian labour camp could ever have come up with such a collection of short stories, stories that capture the abysmal conditions of the camps, describe what the camp does to the human psyche (both

    “Nature in the north is not impersonal or indifferent; it is in conspiracy with those who sent us.”

    The disease, hunger, violence and despair are all described in descriptive detail. The conditions beg the question: does anybody really deserve to be sent to such places, regardless of the crime they (allegedly) committed? Siberia is a place where winter temperatures are often around -60F, where temperatures of -13F was considered summery. Of course, what makes things even worse is the fact that most of the people sent to the camp weren’t even criminals, but innocent victims of the Stalinist regime. Plus, often their sentences were disproportionate to their supposed crimes.

    “The arrests of the thirties were arrests of random victims on the false and terrifying theory of a heightened class struggle accompanying the strengthening of socialism.”

    I liked the structure of the book; it was divided into several short stories, each dealing with different characters. Shalamov’s tone was also very matter-of-fact, so it was easier for me to handle the gruesome details.

    This is definitely such an important work of literature. I can only imagine with his 17 years of living in Kolyma, Shalamov had to get everything out of his system.

    To end with a quote I really liked : “Life repeats Shakespearian themes more often than we think.”

    A big THANK YOU to Vera for recommending this book to me 🙂

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    Jonfaith

    Apr 04, 2013

    rated it
    it was amazing

    Shelves:
    mother-rus

    Kolyma Tales was my first used book purchase via Amazon. (I feel obligated to honor our benefactor at every turn now. I even touch my breast when I say Amazon.)

    Emerging from a blue period, I truly had no idea how beautiful this harrowing account would be. I don’t detect any tension between the sublime and Kolyma. Imre Kertész has taught me well. It is chance, it is human. Survival simply wasn’t possible. Those that did emerge, were stripped of something. Kolyma is a protean creation: it is a nov

    Emerging from a blue period, I truly had no idea how beautiful this harrowing account would be. I don’t detect any tension between the sublime and Kolyma. Imre Kertész has taught me well. It is chance, it is human. Survival simply wasn’t possible. Those that did emerge, were stripped of something. Kolyma is a protean creation: it is a novel, a collection, a testament, an indictment, a discarded path towards something which couldn’t be Hope.

    Hungry men will always defend justice furiously (if they are not too hungry or too exhausted).

    Consider my dilemma, I was so moved by this book over the last few days yet the events depicted are so alien and hostile as to defy comment. I kept reading, finding myself strangely hungry. I was spared the standard Kolyma dream of loaves of rye bread. Even while quaffing ale, I thought about those that drank medical alcohol at the expense of their patients. I thought repeatedly about the carpenter’s puppy: that’s all I can say about that particular anecdote. There are always foot rags to be adjusted, heels to be scratched time in the infirmary. There are innumerable others. I give Kolyma Tales my highest recommendation.
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    Roberto


    “La nostra epoca è riuscita a far dimenticare all’uomo che è un essere umano”

    Salamov ci racconta quello che ha vissuto nei 17 anni trascorsi ai lavori forzati nell’inferno della Kolyma, ossia la Siberia orientale. Un luogo inospitale dove d’inverno si raggiungono i sessanta gradi sotto zero. Conosciamo così, tramite i suoi occhi, uno dei più terribili orrori dello scorso secolo: i campi di concentramento sovietici, organizzati da Stalin, dove tra gli anni trenta e cinquanta persero la vita impun

    Salamov ci racconta quello che ha vissuto nei 17 anni trascorsi ai lavori forzati nell’inferno della Kolyma, ossia la Siberia orientale. Un luogo inospitale dove d’inverno si raggiungono i sessanta gradi sotto zero. Conosciamo così, tramite i suoi occhi, uno dei più terribili orrori dello scorso secolo: i campi di concentramento sovietici, organizzati da Stalin, dove tra gli anni trenta e cinquanta persero la vita impunemente quasi tre milioni di persone che stavano scontando pene per colpe che nella maggior parte dei casi erano inesistenti.

    Sono stato all’isola di Sakhalin, in Siberia, che sta un pochino più a sud della Kolyma. Ricordo ancora i paesaggi, il cielo, la desolazione dei paesi, i 50 gradi sotto zero e il vento gelato che soffiava a cento chilometri orari. E non posso non immaginare cosa potesse significare passare vent’anni in quelle condizioni.

    Nella giornata passata alla Kolyma c’è tempo solo per pensare a sopravvivere, anche se spesso si desidera la morte immediata come liberazione. Non c’è dignità umana. Ci sono solamente maltrattamenti, umiliazioni, fame, freddo, pidocchi, sputi che si ghiacciano prima di toccare terra, cancrene e malattia. I rapporti personali sono ridotti al lumicino, il pensiero è sempre alla quotidianità, alla soddisfazione per aver trovato una crosta di pane ammuffito, al freddo, al lavoro, al gelo. Ognuno cerca di arrivare a fine giornata senza pensare a cosa succederà il giorno seguente, perché non si sa se ci sarà un domani.

    La vita interiore è azzerata; non si vive più, si vegeta. Non può non venire in mente, leggendo queste pagine, il libro di Primo Levi”Se questo è un uomo”. La sofferenza è indipendente dalla nazionalità di detenuti e carcerieri.

    Colpisce qui, come in altri racconti dai campi di concentramento, che anche nella disperazione e nella sfortuna alcuni individui tentino sempre di sopraffare gli altri. L’istinto di sopravvivenza fa emergere i lati peggiori delle persone. E purtroppo sono poi le persone più intellettualmente miserevoli a sopravvivere, perché senza scrupoli.

    Il libro è costituto da una serie di racconti senza un apparente filo logico, dove a volte lo stesso personaggio o la stessa situazione si osserva in più d’un racconto, magari da prospettive diverse.
    Purtroppo tanto dolore, tanta sofferenza porta assuefazione, vista la notevole mole del libro. Secondo me 1300 pagine son troppe, una maggiore sintesi avrebbe reso il libro molto più efficace.
    Forse la cosa migliore è affrontare questa lettura impegnativa diluendola nel tempo.

    Molto tragico, molto impegnativo, molto forte, molto angosciante.
    Un altro libro da leggere per non dimenticare.
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