Alexander Solzhenitsyn

One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich


I had once started this little book on a too fast pace and shortly I had to give it up; it surely isn't the way to fully enjoy this wonderful piece of high literature: not a David Copperfield, so to speak. Given it another try, I savoured every line, in fact every sentence used by the author to convey the human drama represented by the life -one day in the life, in fact- of this prisoner of Soviet communism in Siberia. The language is meant to express what Ivan is going through, from the morning call to his falling asleep, his labors and worries, his anxiety and fears, his hope -which is all about suriving one more day in this frozen hell- and his physical surroundings with his co-prisoners and jailers. We are in a Soviet labor camp with Ivan; we feel the cold that he feels; we dress what he dresses; he works his mind minutely to grasp for chances of improving his condition, even if it's only in a tiny way: whatever helps his body and keeps his mind fighting for survival another day; and also, as seen in the last pages, there's room at the end of the day to look for some spiritual nourishment, whatever helps to survive will not be refused. It's therefore a full book in the sense that, even though short in pages and in the chronological sense, it covers the whole range of human facets, condensed into one closely watched and intensely lived day.


The thing about the book is not the story -there is really no beginning or end; it starts in media res- but the power of detail, of so many tiny details involving decisions, impressions, sensations, fears, sufferings, etc... The author's power to convey all that, and represented within the frame of a single day and a few pages, is what makes Solzhenitsyn a really great writer.

"Es cierto que el Romano es libre de hacer todo lo que quiera. Pero también lo es que tiene que soportar las consecuencias de sus actos. No importa que se haya equivocado, que le hayan engañado o incluso forzado: un hombre no se deja forzar: etiamsi coactus, attamen voluit. Es libre; pero si distraído, imprudente o atontado, prometió pagar una determinada cantidad y no puede pagarla, se convierte en esclavo de su acreedor."

Rudolph von Ihering

“Slavery, protection, and monopoly find defenders, not only in those who profit by them, but in those who suffer by them.”

Frédéric Bastiat

On the true nature of the Castro Revolution in Cuba: "The revolution was a cover for committing atrocities without the slightest vestige of guilt ... we were young and irresponsible. We were pirates. We formed our own caste ... we belonged to and believed in nothing -no religion, no flag, no morality or principle. It's fortunate we didn't win, because if we had, we would have drowned the continent in barbarism."

Jorge Masetti -In the Pirate's Den

La anarquía, es decir, la ausencia de fuerza estatal, no es una forma de Estado, y cualquiera que acabe con ella por el medio que sea, el usurpador nacional o el conquistador extranjero, rinde un servicio a la sociedad. Es un salvador, un bienhechor, porque la forma más insoportable de Estado es la ausencia de Estado.

Rudolph von Ihering

"El envidioso está afligido no solo por sus males propios, sino por los bienes de los demás."  -Hipias

[la norma de conducta de los progres] "No hacer nada que alguien pueda envidiarme." -Hipasos




Seguimos a la espera de la reedición de este importante libro del gran escritor español José Pla

Historia de la Segunda República.


También a la espera de este importante libro del genial Rafael Abella.

Finales de enero, 1939, Barcelona cambia de piel


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