An Armenian Sketchbook

An Armenian Sketchbook An NYRB Classics OriginalFew writers had to confront as many of the last century s mass tragedies as Vasily Grossman who wrote with terrifying clarity about the Shoah the Battle of Stalingrad and t

An NYRB Classics OriginalFew writers had to confront as many of the last century s mass tragedies as Vasily Grossman, who wrote with terrifying clarity about the Shoah, the Battle of Stalingrad, and the Terror Famine in the Ukraine An Armenian Sketchbook, however, shows us a very different Grossman, notable for his tenderness, warmth, and sense of fun After the SoAn NYRB Classics OriginalFew writers had to confront as many of the last century s mass tragedies as Vasily Grossman, who wrote with terrifying clarity about the Shoah, the Battle of Stalingrad, and the Terror Famine in the Ukraine An Armenian Sketchbook, however, shows us a very different Grossman, notable for his tenderness, warmth, and sense of fun After the Soviet government confiscated or, as Grossman always put it, arrested Life and Fate, he took on the task of revising a literal Russian translation of a long Armenian novel The novel was of little interest to him, but he needed money and was evidently glad of an excuse to travel to Armenia An Armenian Sketchbook is his account of the two months he spent there This is by far the most personal and intimate of Grossman s works, endowed with an air of absolute spontaneity, as though he is simply chatting to the reader about his impressions of Armenia its mountains, its ancient churches, its people while also examining his own thoughts and moods A wonderfully human account of travel to a faraway place, An Armenian Sketchbook also has the vivid appeal of a self portrait.

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An Armenian Sketchbook

  1. Vasily Grossman Robert Chandler Elizabeth Chandler says:
    Born Iosif Solomonovich Grossman into an emancipated Jewish family, he did not receive a traditional Jewish education A Russian nanny turned his name Yossya into Russian Vasya a diminutive of Vasily , which was accepted by the whole family His father had social democratic convictions and joined the Mensheviks Young Vasily Grossman idealistically supported the Russian Revolution of 1917.When the Great Patriotic War broke out in 1941, Grossman s mother was trapped in Berdichev by the invading German army, and eventually murdered together with 20,000 to 30,000 other Jews who did not evacuate Berdychiv Grossman was exempt from military service, but volunteered for the front, where he spent than 1,000 days He became a war reporter for the popular Red Army newspaper Krasnaya Zvezda Red Star As the war raged on, he covered its major events, including the Battle of Moscow, the Battle of Stalingrad, the Battle of Kursk, and the Battle of Berlin In addition to war journalism, his novels such as The People are Immortal were being published in newspapers and he came to be regarded as a legendary war hero The novel Stalingrad 1950 , later renamed For a Just Cause , is based on his own experiences during the siege.Grossman s descriptions of ethnic cleansing in Ukraine and Poland, and the liberation of the Treblinka and Majdanek extermination camps, were some of the first eyewitness accounts as early as 1943 of what later became known as the Holocaust His article The Hell of Treblinka 1 1944 was disseminated at the Nuremberg War Crimes Tribunal as evidence for the prosecution.Grossman died of stomach cancer in 1964, not knowing whether his novels would ever be read by the public.

434 Reply to “An Armenian Sketchbook”

  1. I said I wanted books to be like these churches, simply made yet expressive, and that I would like God to be living in each book, as in a church.The monastery at Geghard, which Grossman visited.This is a short but intensely personal travel memoir written by Vasily Grossman on an extended trip to Armenia from 1961 1962 He was supposed to be there to translate a bricklike socialist realist novel about a smelting plant The manuscript for his long wandering epic about the war on the Eastern Front an [...]

  2. Martiros Saryan 1880 1972 Armenia s national artist What a coincidence just a few days after reading Burton Watson s charming The Rainbow World, I happen to read Vasily Grossman s An Armenian Sketchbook I love little stories of real, existing human beings told by people who still love our sad little species And since, in my view, there is no real love without close and illusion free acquaintance, such love is tempered with a clear knowledge of our trivialities, our inconsistencies, our envious a [...]

  3. Grossman n bu kitab n okuyunca Ermenistan k skand m, yazar ke ke benim memleketime de gelse b yle anlat verse dedim B y k bir yazar n dilinden, y re inin safl ve d r stl nden damla damla akan bir gezi an kitab ki ayl k Ermenistan ik meti esnas nda yoksul halk n, k yl lerin, gelenek ve g reneklerin, ta larla dolu ovalar n, Sevan G l n n ve g ldeki prenses bal klar n, t ften binalar n, pagan inan lar n, Ermeni d n adetlerinin d nyas nda okurlar n bir seyre kar yor yazar Bu noktada evirmenin pay da [...]

  4. In 1962, Vasily Grossman, the author of the controversial WWII novel in the Soviet Union , Life and Fate, which dared to suggest the Soviet military might be as savage as the German, traveled to Armenia This record of his journey is a delightful celebration of the human spirit he found there Above everything Grossman admired about Armenia was its people, the peasants of this mountain republic who ve endured the stoney hardships of pulling a living from resistant earth As he writes the events of [...]

  5. Nove scritti Alcuni sono racconti sul periodo bellico, come Il vecchio maestro e sulla persecuzione nazista agli ebrei altri sul periodo staliniano ante e dopo guerra, sul clima di terrore e insicurezza collettiva durante le grandi purghe, le ineguaglianze sociali, l alterigia, la grettezza, l insensibilit , la rapacit di cui ancora sono impastate le relazioni umane nella societ del socialismo realizzato Sono i leitmotiv che verranno trattati ampiamente nel capolavoro di Grossman Vita e destino [...]

  6. Here is further evidence that non fiction soothes the soul Vasily Grossman is known for his stunning writing on monumental tragedies of the 20th century the holocaust, the Eastern Front, Stalinism An Armenian Sketchbook appears to be a simple travelogue, written after Grossman spent some time there translating an Armenian epic Although it contains some witty pen portraits and lyrical descriptions of vistas, it is really a book of profound reflections on life by a man who has seen the absolute wo [...]

  7. But the supreme human gift is beauty of soul it is nobility, magnanimity, and personal courage in the name of what is good 97 Vasily Grossman possessed this gift I fell in love with him, to put it dramatically, after reading his magnificent novels Life and Fate and Everything Flows the former, especially, is very great and far too little read I decided to read An Armenian Sketchbook next, which is his account of the time he spent in Armenia in 1961, working on a translation of an Armenia novel i [...]

  8. From his first day in Yerevan to his last vignette, a wedding at Mount Aragats, Vasily Grossman s glimpses of life in Armenia of 1962 hold your interest.You feel enriched after each page of this book, whether it is describing the trout on Lake Sevan, Arutyun s sons, the Geghard monestary or Grossman s thoughts on nationalism the writing has both insight and beauty.The book is brief making every word work.A year or so ago I saw the film herefilmfo which despite a very iritating love story shows t [...]

  9. I, who have always loved books on travel, had never heard of An Armenian Sketchbook Yet, as I started reading Vasily Grossman s book, I saw that this was not only one of the greatest of all travel books on a par with Patrick Leigh Fermor, Sir Richard F Burton, and the great E Lucas Bridges, author of The Uttermost Part of the Earth but also a great work of literature in its own right.Arriving in Yerevan, the capital of Armenia, Grossman is not met at the railroad station, but must find his way t [...]

  10. I found An Armenian Sketchbook by Vasily Grossman an absorbing, wonderful book to read I was drawn to the book because I have visited Yerevan, the capital of Armenia, twice, the first time in 2015, the second time in 2016 So I wanted to know what Vasily Grossman thought about his visit to Armenia when he wrote his memoir in 1962, two years before he died in 1964 As he is a novelist, I liked the way he was able to give life on the page to every one he met during his two month visit to Armenia His [...]

  11. I read this book written by the Ukrainian Vasily Grossman, whose work as a writer was rejected by the Soviet Union, to see what his reaction to visiting Armenia would be He was noted for writing in great detail about war and terrorist situations But what I found surprised me.He arrived in Armenia in a chatting, analytical and philosophical mood, which he shared most enthusiastically He described the peasants, the statue of Stalin, the train, Yerevan, and the mountains where the peasants lived in [...]

  12. Armenians get a bad rap if you live in Glendale They re called bad drivers, tacky and pushy But that s because they are All immigrants are and despised as such when they first arrive in the United States because they want the American Dream, which has been forced fed us through every media and educational institution since birth and broadcast over the world as a marketing ploy It works People come here to get rich and if they do, they flaunt it Maybe they will even become president one day and w [...]

  13. If you want to know how to write a philosophically reflective travelogue I suggest picking up this book You don t have to sign up for courses, read 35 books under the direction of professorial inanity tithed in occasional albeit cheap wisdom at a cost no one seriously seeking the truth will ever pay off you just spend a day or two with Grossman here, and then carry around An Armenian Sketchbook with you I know, I know I must be kidding It can t be this easy Tis, comrade, tis For although Berlin [...]

  14. I have never been lucky enough to visit the ancient land of Armenia, but I don t think you need to have in order to appreciate this short but beautifully written memoir.The particular circumstances of Grossman s visit to Armenia are discussed in the introduction and I won t repeat that discussion here Suffice to say it took place shortly after the KGB arrested his novel Life and Fate , which was Grossman s Magnum opus and a work into which he had poured his life and soul He had been devastated b [...]

  15. Enjoyable if not a little on the short side, the Caucasus region has always been present in russian history and literature, it was enjoyable to read a little about one of the countries of the region Armenia has a very long history, armenian kings dealt with Rome and Persia, armenian suzerainty was always an issue between them I m glad Grossman acknowledged how ancient the country is, long before there was a Russia, Armenia existed.

  16. You know, I d searched for this book for a while and I d always wanted to read it but I had no idea just how delightful it would be So beautifully written, it reads like a conversation with an especially eloquent and profound friend I went to Armenia some 60 years after this book was written, but still, so much of it was really evocative This brought a huge smile to my face.

  17. I liked this book a lot than I thought I would I bought it on a whim at Half Price Books thinking I had read a book by Grossman but I guess I haven t He is an exceptional writer and this book was sad and hilarious at the same time.

  18. In spite of everything, life would go on, the life of a nation making its way through a land of stone p 100 This pretty much sums up not only the Armenian people, but also Grossman s view of them and of this account of the brief time he spent in Armenia.

  19. This is poetic prose It made me laugh, it made me cry Vasily Grossman is quietly becoming a favorite author of mine He sees what s important and what s not so important , writes it down and leaves it for us to enjoy.

  20. This is a delightful little book and a great place to start with Grossman, here at the end of his life on the Armenian steppe in the early sixties The book is part travelogue, part memoir, part philosophy It s all very heartfelt and poignant The passage describing the author s near death experience , written only around two years before he actually perished of cancer, is one of the most amazing such passages I ve read in all of literature.

  21. Although there is a helpful introduction by Robert Chandler and Yuri Bit Yunan in this edition, I have done a bit of research in order to write this review , of course, came to the rescue with the geography I needed On my blog you can see it at left, Armenia bordered by Turkey, Iran, Azerbaijan, and Georgia, which like Armenia was part of the USSR when Grossman wrote his book in 1962 According to , Soviet rule under Lenin was not too bad, compared to the Ottomans Armenia was is a poor country, s [...]

  22. Vasily Grossman writes a memoir about his stay in Armenia, the source of one of the most scattered diaspora from flashy LA party kids to sweaty migrant cooks in Moscow kitchens The book doesn t delve with the long persecuted history of Armenians Also, given that the author didn t understand much Armenian, his ability to go deep into their unique culture is limited He couldn t interact much with the people except for enjoying moments when locals would greet him with niceties or laugh at his attem [...]

  23. Vasily Grossman s An Armenian Sketchbook takes a tone almost like travel writing in describing the people and landscapes he encounters during his exile in Armenia Grossman was in the process of completing Life and Fate when the manuscript was siezed by the Soviet government, and in response Grossman begins translating an Armenian novel into Russian in order to lie low for a while as well as earn some extra money Here is where An Armenian Sketchbook picks up, with Grossman arriving in Armenia and [...]

  24. An author who should be better known through his major novel LIFE AND FATE and his wartime writings New York Review of Books has issued many of his books.Here are some passages that got to me Perfect worlds do not exist There are only the funny, strange, weeping, singing, truncated, and imperfect universes created by the gods of paintbrush and musical instruments, the gods who infuse their creations with their own blood, their own soul When he looks at these worlds, the true Lord of Hosts, the c [...]

  25. I can imagine what an enchanting would be the verse and construct of language in its original Russian, will mark it for a repeat reading Sometimes a grey stone comes to life and begins to move A sheep The sheep too must have been born from stone probably they eat powdered stone and drink the dust of stone And it is hard to say which is the surprising this diversity or the stubborn persistence of the national typeThis diversity is the story of the crazed hearts of women who passed away long ago, [...]

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