One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich by Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn

Fiction

One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich does just that, follows a prisoner in Soviet era Russia through one day of his imprisonment. The reader witnesses his small victories and defeats, his friends, enemies, and everything else. Ultimately the scariest and most moving part of this book is it shows the ease with which any group of people under any circumstances will become a society in which there are rules and consequences, winners and losers, heroes and villains. The sparse narrative is based on Solzhenitsyn’s own experiences in the Soviet penal system and was very controversial in Russia after its publication. Solzhenitsyn was one of those rare writers that wrote about brave people and was actually very brave himself. His account of the Soviet Gulag prison system is the first of its kind, as well as the most potent.