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Download Life and Fate: The Complete Series (Dramatised) Audiobook

Extended Audio Sample Life and Fate: The Complete Series (Dramatised), by Vasily Grossman
4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 4.00 (1,818 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: Vasily Grossman Narrator: Kenneth Branagh, David Tennant Publisher: AudioGO Format: Original Staging Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date:
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Kenneth Branagh stars in BBC Radio 4's ambitious eight-hour dramatisation of Life and Fate, Vasily Grossman's epic masterpiece set during the Battle of Stalingrad. This powerful work, completed in 1960, charts the fate of both a nation and a family in the turmoil of war. Its comparison of Stalinism with Nazism was considered by Soviet authorities to be so dangerous that the KGB placed the manuscript under arrest and Grossman was informed his book would not be published for at least 200 years.

Having been a household name as one of Russia's most distinguished war correspondents, Grossman died aged 58 - the banning of his book hastening the end of his life - and he would never know the fate of his masterpiece: smuggled out of the Soviet Union on microfilm, to freedom and eventual publication in the West. Today it is increasingly hailed as the most important Russian novel of the 20th century.

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Listener Opinions

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 by Verity | 2/19/2014

    " I think this might be the greatest 20th-century book I have ever read. Vast, profound, compassionate, searching and very affecting. I can think of no better dissection of totalitarian regimes, on both sides of the political spectrum. The author was uniquely placed to write about his subject - both he and this novel deserve far greater recognition. Truly a masterpiece. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 by jeni | 1/24/2014

    " I'm still in the midst of it -- well, it's 900 pages long! -- but it's a really brilliant book. Grossman was a Soviet war correspondent with the Red Army all the way through the taking of Berlin, and here he distills his experiences into a historical novel -- which was confiscated by the KGB and thus unpublished until well after his death. Featuring an extended cast of characters (sometimes a bit too extended, if you hear me) the novel swings from the front lines of Stalingrad to the Siberian prison camps to the Ukrainian ghettos. It's not as depressing as it sounds. Fantastic imagery, lots of wry observations on the human character... an evocative portrayal of ordinary people struggling through an epochal moment. That kind of thing. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 by Sarah Harkness | 1/22/2014

    " I wanted to read this after the Radio 4 dramatisation - it is an extraordinary work....a great novel is meant to take you into other people's lives and experiences, and this totally immerses one in the experiences of the Russians, Jews and Germans in Stalingrad in 1942. An extraordinary witness statement - he was there, saw the camps, he lost his mother in a massacre, he reported on Stalingrad as it happened...we must never forget how badly people can behave under terrible pressure. And yet, as he argues, the most redeeming human feature is kindness - as long as the individual can find kindness within himself, humanity will survive. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 by Elinor | 1/19/2014

    " I'm reluctant to give this book only 3 stars, given the amount of time I put into it! In some ways it's very compelling as it recounts the parallels between the Nazi regime and Stalinist Russia. The author doesn't give you a chance to grow attached to the characters, however, because the book alternates between about 10 different story lines, all with different people you have to keep track of. Though there are some moving scenes, overall I would say the book is somewhat flat in its weak character development and its occasional lack of subtlety. "

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