Vasily Grossman traveled from Moscow to Armenia in 1961 to edit a long war novel. ‘An Armenian Sketchbook’ is arguably the novelist’s most personal work.
Vasily Grossman took a complex path from syncophancy to dissidence under Soviet anti-Semitic oppression. A new biography takes an unsparing look at his career.
“Life and Fate,” the 900-page opus by Vasily Semyonovich Grossman, is important not only as literature, but also as a history of Stalinist Russia. Since 2006 it has been available as a paperback from NYRB Classics, recently turned into a radio play on U.K.’s BBC 4, and a newly minted paperback can now be found in British and European airport and railway station bookshops, at hand’s reach of travellers used to a diet of pulp fiction.
The New York literary scene may currently be all caught up in Book Expo America, but in Toronto a smaller literary celebration is being held tonight at the Canadian Jewish Book Awards. Among the honorees are Robin McGrath for her Newfoundland-based novel, “The Winterhouse” (Killik Press) David Sax for his book, “Save the Deli” (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt) and Winnipeg historian Allan Levine for his comprehensive “Coming of Age: A History of the Jewish People of Manitoba.”