Tuesday, December 26, 2017

Book Review: In The First Circle, A. Solzhenitsyn

Contrary to what you may think, I love to read.

Way back in the day I read a ton of Scifi/Fantasy stuff. Then in my thirties, probably due to my second wife, I became very interested in foreign affairs and a Russo-phile. I put down the fiction books and concentrated on history, mostly military history, of course about the Eastern Fronts.

Since I currently have some spare time on my hands and I've read all my books a billion times, I went to my local library and picked up a book that almost bridged the kinds of books I 've been reading.

I'm in suspense for the suspense.

It's set in Russia, written by renowned Russian author Aleksandr Solzhenitysn, and although classified as fiction, this book is obviously based on truths. It was about time I read something like this.

I made to page 206 before I had to put it down.

I think Potapov is now making top shelf vodka.

Most of the opening chapters are confusing dialog and introduction to the characters. I have a decent enough feel for Russian names, but trying to stay on top of this cast of characters was very challenging.

After leaving me scratching my dome, there are then several chapters of the author describing what might be going on in Stalin's head during this time frame. These chapters are incredibly well written and even if you're not a fan of Stalin, you can really get a good feel for him.

Complete and utter bastard.

But after these few chapters, we go right back to confusing dialog and character history that just, at least up to page 206, doesn't make any sense.

As this is an internationally recognized book, I can only assume somewhere down the line, probably page 208, the story and characters start coming into line. But good god man or "Bolzhamaya Muzhik" I tried and tried and couldn't get into it.

I'm gonna try a different Solzhenitsyn book and hope it makes more sense.

I would tell you what the book is about, but I never really figured it out. There's a blurb on the jacket, and I probably could have googled it a bit more, but I wanted to read and enjoy the book, not Clif Note the shit out of it.

On a fun side note, Solzhenitsyn lived in Cavendish VT for a number of years.

So there you go, the first Bigcatbox Book Review.

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