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Solzhenitsyn won the Nobel Prize for his expose of the gulags, One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich. These late stories, available to English readers all together for the first time, cover similar ground, albeit on a broader canvas, encompassing tales of peasants and generals, famous writers in bed with the Soviet leadership and brave intellectuals’ ultimately fruitless struggle to resist the Red behemoth. The ‘apricot jam’ of the title story is a symbol of all that was pure and uncorrupted about Russian peasant life before the revolution: ‘this very amber transparency, this surprising colour and light.’

Canongate/paperback/£8.99/9780857863195

Dan Eltringham

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