St One must pick up the language along the WAY LEST ONE BE AS BLIND AS GRANDFATHER II lest one be as blind as Grandfather II is he Stay stay the abandoned slag heaps of the mine where they tossed the bodies attracted bears for many ears he whispered that he had shot people himself with a Nagant rifle he whispered that there are still undiscovered graves near the town he knew where he could show me if I didn t believe him the old man was scared the source of all this impoverishment destitution and privation beckoned the way a struck dog on the side of the road flies in *Its Exposed Guts Catches Your Eye It *exposed guts catches Notes sur la mlodie des choses your eye itour imagination by the honest openness of ugliness snow blackened by the smokestacks fell on the graves black snow It looked like ashes from an old fire falling from the sky then the stacks belched smoke the sky then the stacks belched smoke color of cinnabar and the snow turned deep red melting on my face spotting the cemetery paths Stay stay until the end If ou can stand the haunting images that Lebedev paints inside our head I want to thank the publisher and the Goodreads Giveaway program for sending me this book in return for an honest review I give this book 35 starsrounded up to 4 out of 5This was a book overwhelmed with imagery Much of the book takes place in dream seuences or in the narrator s mind The premise of the book is the narrator trying to find out about the man he knew as Grandfather II This man was not his actual grandfather but did watch over him as he grew up Grandfather II dies and leaves the narrator his small house and everything in it He finds some letters and decides to find the man who wrote the lettersHis uest leads him into the remains of former Soviet gulagsSome examples of imagery He sought it in uestions he must have heard not only the words but also how they bumped into one another head on or obliuelyThe objects stood there huddled in bunches like sheep without a shepherd I took a long time to read this book starting it on Feb 16 reading it for 6 days then putting it aside until March 19 and finishing it on March 23The translation was excellent Sergei Lebedev s Oblivion was shortlisted for the 2017 Best Translated Book Award and from comments on the Mookse and Gripes forum perhaps the best received among readersI started to read this on a flight from London to Korea an 11 hour flight a large part of which is spent flying over the vast area of Siberia home of the gulags and labour camps in Soviet Russia see Lebedev s moving debut novel tackles the relatively underexplored once suppressed topicThe novel consists of three parts The first doesn t directly address the camps at all but rather focuses on the childhood of the first person narrator and in particular his interaction with an elderly man living close to his family s dach Lots of layers and tangents Almost too poetic in places but the descent into past is documented beautifully I m fascinated with gulags and the collective amnesia which has struck Russians over this part of their history History told as nightmare Has a little passing similarity to Heart of Darkness but Conrad s Marlowe could remain detached from the foreigners he observed while Lebedev s anonymous narrator can never escape what he discoversFinished this book as conflicted about it as many of the earlier reviewers and for the same reasonsA God de vader en God de moeder young Russian undertakes a personal journey literally and into the past The journey becomes an archeological study of Soviet prison camps in the remote north the brutal and ultimately pointless madness of the 20th century Communist oppression the narrator s own partial inheritance of exiles and murders Much of the story seems imagined but parts have a documentary feel and may reflect observations made during the author s severalears working on geological expeditionsThe exploration and the coming to an understanding of the blank horror of the past a past still tainting the present is compelling But the book reads like poetry set in novel form Sometimes the verbal flights engage and clarify sometimes they confuse and seem irrelevant drifting at times into long digressionsThe endless flow ends up being counterproductive Many of the swooping images and shorter turns of phrase present themselves as passing thoughts rather than as deliberately chosen elements of the longer story The arbitrary and highly personal nature of much of the writing thus seems ephemeral while the story itself is embedded in graniteIn summary a rather dazed 4 stars rather than 3 in recognition of the importance and profundity of the subject despite feeling endlessly clubbed by stream of consciousness perceptions and fugitive thoughts. Ne worked in tandem with nature to destroy millions of lives during the Soviet century Emerging from today's Russia where the ills of the past are being forcefully erased from public memory this masterful novel represents an epic literary attempt to rescue history from the brink of oblivion.
Sergei Lebedev æ 0 free downloadWn brother to the Gulag Robbed of names families and freedom multitudes were banished to places where everything from landscape to speech was meant to dehumanize Their destruction was complete branded as enemies of the people they were crossed out of contemporary records and died in anonymity so that their deaths took place in geography not in history The Soviet State viewed its people as *dispensable and their lives as subordinate to production targets But the gigantic construction projects devised *and their lives as subordinate to production targets But the gigantic construction projects devised the Party and built by slave labor such as the White Sea canal and railways constructed beyond the Polar Circle proved useless Lebedev alludes to this through the story of an abandoned railroad he saw in the mountains near the Arctic Ocean He makes the reader feel the anguish of prisoners who cleared the rock with bare hands only to realize futility of their labor The railway line was left unfinished the ends of rusty rails hung over the emptiness The mountain where prisoners toiled opens a view to the lake with striking contours A mean trick of nature a joke that had waited several million ears the lake looked like Lenin s profile which was imprinted on us by medals badges stamps statues paintings and drawings in books Numerous lives were sacrificed to the socialist dogma Soviet history was a series of falsifications its ideals were stillborn and the end of the Soviet era spelled out their demise Soviet textbooks and insignia with Lenin s profile were discarded paper money too toxic to be burned was dumped in plastic bags in a northern mine But Stalinism did not end there the old guard resisted the change Oblivion is a first person account a meditation on the memory of millions and on personal memory The narrator recalls his family s neighbor at their dacha whom he had met in childhood and whom he named Grandfather II The old man is hiding his past so his story unwinds slowly until it becomes apparent that Grandfather II was a warden in a Gulag camp where prisoners dug radioactive ore he had administered death through labor For this service the state rewarded him with a luxury apartment Grandfather II is blind and his secretiveness and blindness are suggestive of Russia s suppression of facts about the past Having outlasted his epoch dead inside the old man wants to continue living through the boy The episode of Grandfather II saving the boy s life by donating his scrawny blood is symbolic The transfusion takes place in 1991 when the Soviet Union collapsed and the new era dawned Grandfather II dies and the boy saved by his blood grows like a graft on old wood This is a fitting image for an embryonic Russian democracy grafted on Stalinist stock The Stalinist legacy is pervasive in contemporary Russia There were barriers everywhere warning signs no entry symbols guard boothsMan was not master in these lands and the guard booths were the architectural descendants of prison camp guardhouses this land was infected with a fungus the fungus of the watchman and all of this the fences wire barricades was like a single never ending shout Stop or I ll shoot The northern town where Grandfather II had lived supervising prisoners in a nearby uranium mine was built by slave labor Every brick tells the story of working under duress Love of labor has been destroyed here forever which is why the whole town drank its residents bent on self destruction The town s self isolation is a part of the Soviet legacy and of Russia s present The town cut off its own path to the outside destroyed the window to the big world Russia s failure to deal with its Stalinist legacy to establish the truth by remembering the millions who died has invited the past to return Lebedev s imaginative novel is thoroughly pessimistic as it s meant to be This text is a memorial a wailing wall for the dead and the mourners have no other place to meet except by the wall of words An insightful and soulful tale about Russia s historical amnesia Oblivion speaks of the need for us to remember and to renounce evil regimes with their man made calamities When countries do terrible things to their own people it is easy to find reasons for everyone to pretend it never happened This doesn t change the past it just leaves a rotten area under everything that comes after There are many examples of this throughout history this just happens to be about the work camps in the former Soviet UnionBeautiful language throughout but not an easy read his images running again in my head I couldn t sleep Who was Grandfather II Is he even real And the narrator What part of his story is dreamThis one s deeper than mo. Ong the forgotten mines and decrepit barracks of former gulags is a world relegated to oblivion where it is easier to ignore both the victims and the executioners than to come to terms with a terrible past This disturbing tale evokes the great and ruined beauty of a land where man and machi. I felt obliviated and terrified by the visceral imagery in this examination of the USSR s murderous past The allegory and the reality smacked me across the face and instilled that terror I feel when I think about why we are here on earth God the absence of God the horror of humanity my insignificance outer space and looming deathimmortality Prose poetry stumbling through fog and allusion and literal death The penultimate scene is a doozy Nightmares tonight for sureIn an article by Lebedev he describes a real moment in his life when he figured out a very significant thing was not at all what he had assumed This moment combined with his travels east and north compelled him to tell his idiosyncratic version of the gulag archipelago and post Soviet Russia I most certainly did not understand much of what he tried to convey I ve been to places in the former Soviet Union talked to many people there and here read a lot studied Russian Oblivion can probably be truly felt and digested by someone who lived there and lived through at least the lies if not the horror of the great experiment of communist tyrannyOne of my stock phrases pops up et again It s really tough to maintain a healthy nation when th VERDICT Powerful intense and poetic evocation of Soviet prison camps Reading like a detective story it will haunt the reader and help him escape oblivion Unforgettablemy full review is here sergei lebedev s oblivion predel zabvenya is his first novel and the first of his books to be translated into english with the Deliciously Ella entre amis year of the comet to follow thisear with exuisite prose and amp In One Hundred Years of Solitude Gabriel M ruez tells how in Macondo three thousand workers are machine gunned at the behest of a ruthless banana company Their corpses are thrown into the sea and relatives are told that there haven t been any dead bodies You must have been dreaming Nothing has happened in Macondo nothing has ever happenedThis is a happy town Residents accept the official account and dismiss the testimony of the only "Survivor But Subseuently The "But subseuently the sinks into ruin Such is the story of Macondo and of all world dictatorships which leave a destructive lasting and demoralizing legacy The brutal Stalinist regime left Russia depopulated and suffering from collective loss of memory Millions were destroyed in the Gulag and during the Terror Famine *But in Putin s Russia the history of Communist terror has *in Putin s Russia the history of Communist terror has replaced with the myth of the country s great past There is no national monument to the numerous victims instead there are calls to restore monuments and museums honoring Stalin Recently in her Nobel lecture Svetlana Alexievich called Russia a country without memory the space of total amnesia The loss of Russia s national memory is the main theme in Sergei Lebedev s insightful debut novel Oblivion It belongs to a new generation literature examining the impact of Stalinism on Russia today The novel is masterfully translated by Antonina W Bouis whose list comprises 80 titles writings by famous Soviet and post Soviet authors as diverse as Mikhail Bulgakov and the Nobel Prize Laureates Alexievich and Andrei Sakharov Lebedev s compressed metaphorical novel is the prose of a poet and Bouis renders his original style effortlessly and artfullyLebedev s writing benefited from his training as a geologist he can read the story in a rock or the tundra permafrost As a poet he tells it through imagery creating sensual portraits of objects It was through a break in the fog that I saw the barracks in a mountain pass The barracks stood like plywood cargo crates in which people were stacked The outlines felt like a long scream Having traveled widely in Siberia and Russia s north Lebedev had come across the many decaying barracks of the Gulag Archipelago Soviet labor camps were constructed in desolate places with no witnesses at the limit of the inhabited world as Lebedev aptly puts it Russia s vastness helped conceal the existence of prison camps where conditions were similar to the Mauthausen Scientists philosophers writers dispossessed peasants and international communists shared a single and horrible fate Branded as enemies of the people they were starved and worked to death in
uranium and gold mines or constructing railroads and canals Lebedev creates a collectiveand gold mines or constructing railroads and canals Lebedev creates a collective of the generation which vanished without a trace of people whose lives were smashed by the will of the state His novel traces their experiences through visions and dreams of people becoming prisoners instantaneously of freight cars with barred windows of a train engineer unaware he is transporting his In one of the first twenty first century Russian novels to probe the legacy of the Soviet prison camp system a oung man travels to the vast wastelands of the Far North to uncover the truth about a shadowy neighbor who saved his life and whom he knows only as Grandfather II What he finds am.