The First Circle

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9780060139490: The First Circle

At the height of Stalin's postwar terror, Innokenty, a young diplomat and scion of a corrupt ruling class, discovers an earlier and more spiritual tradition than that adopted by the October Revolution, the beginning of a process which is Solzhenitsyn's basic theme: the individual's experience of acquiring an immortal soul. Unwisely but generously, Innokenty helps a friend in danger of arrest, only to be arrested himself and sent to a special prison. This, the archetype of the Gulag, is described with masterful psychological insight. There are no heroes and hardly any villains; oppressors are no less victims then the oppressed. In the great tradition of the Russian novel, "The First Circle" is both a brooding account of human nature and a scrupulously exact description of a historical period.

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Product Description:

Set in Moscow during a three-day period in December 1949, The First Circle is the story of the prisoner Gleb Nerzhin, a brilliant mathematician. At the age of thirty-one, Nerzhin has survived the war years on the German front and the postwar years in a succession of Russian prisons and labor camps. His story is interwoven with the stories of a dozen fellow prisoners - each an unforgettable human being - from the prison janitor to the tormented Marxist intellectual who designed the Dnieper dam; of the reigning elite and their conflicted subordinates; and of the women, wretched or privileged, bound to these men. A landmark of Soviet literature, The First Circle is as powerful today as it was when it was first published, nearly thirty years ago.

Review:

"A great novel... A majestic work of genius" Sunday Times "The First Circle is arguably the greatest Russian novel of the century" Spectator "A future generation of Russians will be able to come to terms with their history through books like Doctor Zhivago and The First Circle" Financial Times

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