Life and Fate

Life and Fate (Russian: ) is a novel by Vasily Grossman, written in the Soviet Union in 1959 and published in 1980. Technically, it is the second half of the author’s conceived two-part book under the same title. Although the first half, the novel Stalingrad, written during the rule of Joseph Stalin and first published in 1952, expresses loyalty to the regime, Life and Fate sharply criticises Stalinism. In 2021, the critic and editor Robert Gottlieb, writing in The New York Times, referred to Life and Fate as “the most impressive novel written since World War II.”Vasily Grossman, a Russian Jew, became a correspondent for the Soviet military paper Krasnaya Zvezda, having volunteered and been rejected for military service in 1941. He spent approximately 1,000 days on the front lines, roughly three of the four years of the conflict between the Germans and Soviets. He also wrote the novel The People Immortal. He was one of the first journalists to write about the genocide of people in Eastern Europe and was present at many famous battles. Life and Fate was his defining achievement, its writing in part motivated by guilt over the death of his mother in the Berdychiv massacre at Berdychiv (UkSSR) in September 1941.


Read or listen to Life and Fate

by Vasily Grossman