We Never Make Mistakes: Two Short Novels

We Never Make Mistakes: Two Short Novels

We Never Make Mistakes: Two Short Novels

We Never Make Mistakes: Two Short Novels

Excerpt

Alexander Solzhenitsyn Two Stories appeared in the January, 1963, issue of the Soviet literary magazine, Novy Mir (New World), which had previously published his sensational story of life in the Stalinist labor camps, One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich. In a foreword to this earlier work, Alexander Tvardovsky, Editor-in-Chief of Novy Mir, wrote that "it marks the appearance on the literary scene of a new, original and mature talent." He had such a feeling of gratitude for the honesty and candor of Solzhenitsyn's work that his "greatest wish" was that "this gratitude be shared by other readers." Hence the publication of these "Two Stories," or two short novels.

To the reader who lives in an open, unregimented society, this kind of remark may seem puzzling. What, one may ask, is so unusual about appearance of a new Soviet author who writes openly and honestly about life as he has known it? And why should the Soviet reader be grateful for the opportunity to read his works?

There are no simple, direct answers to these questions. The explanation lies deep in the nature of Soviet society and the role which the artist, especially the writer, is called upon to play in it.

The impression created by the Soviet system on the visitor from one of our open, Western societies is one of "togetherness gone mad." The state has created an official ideal image of Soviet society as a sort of grandiose, prize-winning collective in which each . . .

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