Stalingrad is the prequel to Life and Fate, one of the twentieth century’s greatest novels. This is its first publication in English. A publishing event.
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'One of the great novels of the 20th century, and now published in English for the first time' Observer
'A gripping panorama of the human experience' Kenneth Branagh
In April 1942, Hitler and Mussolini plan the huge offensive on the Eastern Front that will culminate in the greatest battle in human history.
Hundreds of miles away, Pyotr Vavilov receives his call-up papers and spends a final night with his wife and children in the hut that is his home. As war approaches, the Shaposhnikov family gathers for a meal: despite her age, Alexandra will soon become a refugee; Tolya will enlist in the reserves; Vera, a nurse, will fall in love with a wounded pilot; and Viktor Shtrum will receive a letter from his doomed mother which will haunt him forever.
The war will consume the lives of a huge cast of characters – lives which express Grossman’s grand themes of the nation and the individual, nature’s beauty and war’s cruelty, love and separation.
For months, Soviet forces are driven back inexorably by the German advance eastward and eventually Stalingrad is all that remains between the invaders and victory. The city stands on a cliff top by the Volga River. The battle for Stalingrad – a maelstrom of violence and firepower – will reduce it to ruins. But it will also be the cradle of a new sense of hope.
Stalingrad is a magnificent novel not only of war but of all human life: its subjects are mothers and daughters, husbands and brothers, generals, nurses, political officers, steelworkers, tractor girls. It is tender, epic, and a testament to the power of the human spirit.
‘You will not only discover that you love his characters and want to stay with them – that you need them in your life as much as you need your own family and loved ones – but that at the end... you will want to read it again’ Daily Telegraph
“One needs time and patience to read Stalingrad, but it is worth it. Moving majestically from Berlin to Moscow to the boundless Kazakh steppe… A multitude of lives and fates are played out against a vast panoramic history”
Evening Standard, *Book of the Week*
“If you have read Grossman before, you will already very likely know that you urgently want to read Stalingrad. If you haven’t, I can only tell you that when you do read this novel, you will not only discover that you love his characters and want to stay with them – that you need them in your life as much as you need your own family and loved ones – but that at the end, despite having finished an 892-page novel, you want to read it again”
Julian Evans, Daily Telegraph
“This is a big event… [Stalingrad] gives voice to a dizzying array of experiences… [you] feel as though you are there, wandering through those devastated streets among the starving, dead, and mad”
Claire Allfree, Daily Mail
“A dazzling prequel… His descriptions of battle in an industrial age are some of the most vivid ever written… Stalingrad is Life and Fate’s equal. It is, arguable, the richer book – shot through with human stories and a sense of life’s beauty and fragility”
Luke Harding, Observer
“Few works of literature since Homer can match the piercing, unshakably humane gaze that Grossman turns on the haggard face of war”
“‘How wonderful to see Grossman’s vision finally come to life. A masterwork told with devastating detail, humour, and profound insights into the essence of truth. I was riveted’”
Lara Prescott, author of The Secrets We Kept
“The almost polyphonic breadth and rich nuance of Grossman’s prose is perfectly captured by Chandler’s translation, accomplished with his wife Elizabeth. At close on 1,000 pages, it’s a monumental achievement”
UK Press Syndication
“[Grossman’s] characters witness, suffer and reflect with a hyper-real intensity. It illuminates nearly every page like the hellish glow that lights up the night sky over Stalingrad”
“Stalingrad… teems with love, devotion and wonderful flashes of humour. Sometimes all three arrive at once… but the most indelible passages arrive during the battle itself. The blow-by-blow accounts of young men willing to die to gain enough time for reinforcements to arrive from the east bank of the Volga are positively Homeric”
Tobias Grey, Financial Times
“An amazing achievement of translation and scholarship. It’s lucid and readable, with moment of wonderfully evocative prose… an astonishing example of the compromises between creativity and censorship”
Marcel Theroux, Guardian
“[Grossman’s] faith in common decency and kindness as the best antidote to totalitarian tyrannies blows like a gale through the book”
Max Davidson, Mail on Sunday
“Grossman’s most humane writing about injustice and atrocity paradoxically emerges from his own didactic Socialist Realist style. His desire to connect individual lives with the great flow of history transformed itself in an ability to speak for individuals lost and destroyed in the flow… Even now, Vasily Grossman remains a stepson of the time”
Rachel Polonsky, Times Literary Supplement
“Rare is the book that weighs the same as an artillery shell, rarer still one that weighs on the conscience as if a moral obligation. Stalingrad does that… This is a book to be absorbed over the course of a life, read and re-read from new perspectives… Each reading of Stalingrad would represent a movement closer to its elusive core, to its heart that keeps on beating through time”
Alasdair McKillop, Herald
“Stalingrad has been beautifully translated by Robert and Elizabeth Chandler, and lovingly pieced together, with the censored passages restored. Anybody who knows and admires Life and Fate would enjoy it (many of the same characters reappear)… It is a powerful war book”
Victor Sebestyen, New Statesman
“Compelling… [and] extraordinary storytelling… The English translation is an epic in itself… the story of the publication process sheds new light on how the typescript became almost as much of a battleground as the streets of Stalingrad. It gives a clear insight into the nature of Soviet political pressure, and of Grossman’s bravery… It’s a pleasure, albeit a bleak one, to see more of his brave work at last being rediscovered and published today, and his truth told”
Vanora Bennett, Prospect
“More than a novel, more than a history, more than graphic imagery, Stalingrad is written with an acute insight into the relationships of people caught up in the momentous tectonic shifts of history. A truly symphonic work… Robert and Elizabeth Chandler’s superb translation and editing…captures Grossman’s poetic intensity, bringing home the pain and the pity of a dying city”
Gordan Parsons, Morning Star
“A gloriously written book”
Mark Glanville, Jewish Chronicle
“The novel in this new, uncensored version does constantly what the best journalism does, which is to offer us significant details and show how they form part of a larger story… [a] wonderful novel… The translation that the Chandlers have put together is a masterpiece of empathy, a true mirror of the values that Grossman consistently champions over the course of Stalingrad… an engrossing, coherent and deeply moving work of art… a truly remarkable achievement”
James Womack, Literary Review
“An argument to read him not only as a fervent critic of totalitarianism, but as a deeply compassionate writer with an extraordinary gift for portraying psychological complexity and sensory detail”
“This first English version of Stalingrad is a triumph on many levels… [Stalingrad] captures a definitive moment… [and Grossman] delivers an enduring tribute to the power of human spirit”
Ella Walker, Herald
“A seething fresco of combat, domestic routine under siege and intellectual debate, it confirms that Grossman was the supreme bard of the second world war”
Economist, *Books of the Year*