*Starred Review* Even the title was truncated when The First Circle, an expurgated English translation of Solzhenitsyn’s Soviet-censored masterpiece In the First Circle, was published to acclaim in the West in 1968. Written in the mid-1950s just after Solzhenitsyn’s eight years in the gulag,... read more
“For the prisoners a day off meant that the heavy iron doors were locked from the outside, after which no one came in to summon a prisoner or haul him out. For those few short hours not a sound, not a word, not an image could filter through from the outside world to trouble a man's mind. That was what their day of rest meant--the whole world outside, the universe with all its stars, the planet with its continents, capital cities with their blazing lights, the whole state with some at their banquets and others working voluntary extra shifts, sank into oblivion, turned into an ocean of darkness barely discernible through the barred windows by the dead yellow half-light from the lights in the prison grounds.”
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