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Susan Gershman

West Palm Beach, Fl, US

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  • 21 titles in library
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  • Life and Fate: The Complete Series (Dramatised)

    • ORIGINAL (7 hrs and 35 mins)
    • By Vasily Grossman
    • Narrated By Kenneth Branagh, David Tennant
    Overall
    (48)
    Performance
    (39)
    Story
    (40)

    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authorities to be so dangerous that the KGB placed the manuscript under arrest and Grossman was informed his book would not be published for at least 200 years.

    Alifa says: "Vasily Grossman's Life and Fate"
    "captivating"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    Where does Life and Fate: The Complete Series (Dramatised) rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

    The similarity between Stalin's communism and Hitler's fascism is striking, although in the end they both deprive ordinary citizens of freedom and make them paranoid. The horrors of war to all sides is apparent here; and the fear of the people and bravery of the soldiers and arrogance of their leaders also shows itself in todays society and politics. As a Jew myself, I was tearful at times on both sides of the War, the cattle car, the "showers",(the Jew who only closes the door) the fear that neighbors would turn you in. The sound effects were so real. I felt I was there in the mud and stink of war.I don't know how the actors manage to create their characters in a room in front of a microphone with such conviction. They were amazing! The pain and disbelief in Krymov's voice as he was tortured without knowing why he was betrayed after being loyal to the Party all his life. Viktor's mother's sadness as she read the letter to him, so far away,before she died , etc. I felt it. I jumped when I heard the bombs; it so happened a plane flew overhead when I was listening to the recording. It made it more real. I recommend this book to someone who is familiar with Russian novels. There are always so many characters with long similar names. Sometimes difficult to keep track of when you're reading them, let alone listening. You might have to backtrack a few times to familiarize yourself with the voices, but it's definitely worth it.


    What other book might you compare Life and Fate: The Complete Series (Dramatised) to and why?

    I haven't heard any other dramatized books like this. Only Shakespearean Comedies. No comparison.I've read many books about the Concentration camps and Stalin in Russia, but never put together such as this book has been.


    Which character – as performed by Kenneth Branagh and David Tennant – was your favorite?

    Krymov---David Tennant. I wish he had a Tardis to take him and the other actors out of there. His betrayal by his wife and Party was so devastating. His entire life was destroyed by lies.


    If you were to make a film of this book, what would be the tag line be?

    The extremes of the political scale will lead to the same result. Persecution. Denial of Rights. War. Hate. Distrust Communism and Fascism supposed opposites, both granted power and wealth to the leaders. Stalin and Hitler. The same. Millions imprisoned and dead. Soldiers are fed hate and false ideals. They fight, die and kill for them. Citizens are stuck in the middle; Though they are also fed the diet of hate and fear of the "enemy" they're homeless, starving, being rounded up,raped, beaten and tortured, dying. The same on both side of the struggle. Suffering the same fate. The circle never ends even today. How many wars are there at this moment in the world?


    Any additional comments?

    I think this would be a great movie, with the same actors and I hope it's in the works. I will read the book on Kindle next. I know there is a lot more to this story.

    4 of 5 people found this review helpful

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