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Alexander Solzhenitsyn, One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich – Part I

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When the manuscript for One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich landed on the desk of the editor at Russia’s premier literary magazine, he was both thrilled and terrified. This was a masterpiece and had to be published, but it could not be published because it spoke the truth. He sent it to his boss for approval who sent it to his boss who sent it to committee. All agreed it was brilliant. All agreed not to publish it. Ultimately, it went to Khrushchev himself who allowed it to be published. It became an instant hit in Russia, and then the world. The year was 1962. The book was about an average camp, on an average day in the life of an average prisoner. It is a book filled with code Russian readers would understand. The totalitarian regime with its bright camp lights blotting out God’s scarlet sky and stars. The sun directly overhead indicating noon only to be informed by the guard that the state has decided it is one o’clock. Bribes to anyone who had any authority over them. Oppression at every turn. Readers understood that their entire country was a camp and like Ivan, prisoners too.

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