Everything Flows by Vasily Grossman
(New York Review Books Classics)

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Synopsis

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Everything Flows is Vasily Grossman’s final testament, written after the Soviet authorities suppressed his masterpiece, Life and Fate. The main story is simple: released after thirty years in the Soviet camps, Ivan Grigoryevich must struggle to find a place for himself in an unfamiliar world. But in a novel that seeks to take in the whole tragedy of Soviet history, Ivan’s story is only one among many. Thus we also hear about Ivan’s cousin, Nikolay, a scientist who never let his conscience interfere with his career, and Pinegin, the informer who got Ivan sent to the camps. Then a brilliant short play interrupts the narrative: a series of informers steps forward, each making excuses for the inexcusable things that he did—inexcusable and yet, the informers plead, in Stalinist Russia understandable, almost unavoidable. And at the core of the book, we find the story of Anna Sergeyevna, Ivan’s lover, who tells about her eager involvement as an activist in the Terror famine of 1932–33, which led to the deaths of three to five million Ukrainian peasants. Here Everything Flows attains an unbearable lucidity comparable to the last cantos of Dante’s Inferno.
 

About Vasily Grossman

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Vasily Semyonovich Grossman was born on December 12, 1905, in Berdichev, a Ukrainian town that was home to one of Europe's largest Jewish communities. In 1934 he published both "In the Town of Berdichev"-a short story that won the admiration of such diverse writers as Maksim Gorky, Mikhail Bulgakov, and Isaak Babel-and a novel, Glyukauf, about the life of the Donbass miners. During the Second World War, Grossman worked as a reporter for the army newspaper Red Star, covering nearly all of the most important battles from the defense of Moscow to the fall of Berlin. His vivid yet sober "The Hell of Treblinka" (late 1944), one of the first articles in any language about a Nazi death camp, was translated and used as testimony in the Nuremberg trials. His novel For a Just Cause (originally titled Stalingrad) was published to great acclaim in 1952 and then fiercely attacked. A new wave of purges-directed against the Jews-was about to begin; but for Stalin's death, in March 1953, Grossman would almost certainly have been arrested himself. During the next few years Grossman, while enjoying public success, worked on his two masterpieces, neither of which was to be published in Russia until the late 1980s: Life and Fate and Everything Flows. The KGB confiscated the manuscript of Life and Fate in February 1961. Grossman was able, however, to continue working on Everything Flows, a novel even more critical of Soviet society than Life and Fate, until his last days in the hospital. He died on September 14, 1964, on the eve of the twenty-third anniversary of the massacre of the Jews of Berdichev in which his mother had died. Robert Chandler is the author of Alexander Pushkin and the editor of two anthologies for Penguin Classics: Russian Short Stories from Pushkin to Buida and Russian Magic Tales from Pushkin to Platonov. His translations of Sappho and Guillaume Apollinaire are published in the Everyman's Poetry series. His translations from Russian include Vasily Grossman's Life and Fate, Everything Flows, and The Road (all published by NYRB Classics); Leskov's Lady Macbeth of Mtsensk; and Aleksander Pushkin's The Captain's Daughter. Together with Olga Meerson and his wife, Elizabeth, he has translated a number of works by Andrey Platonov. One of these, Soul, won the 2004 AATSEEL (American Association of Teachers of Slavonic and East European Languages) Prize. His translation of Hamid Ismailov's The Railway won the AATSEEL Prize for 2007 and received a special commendation from the judges of the 2007 Rossica Translation Prize. Elizabeth Chandler is a co-translator, with her husband, of Pushkin's The Captain's Daughter; of Vasily Grossman's Everything Flows and The Road; and of several volumes of Andrey Platonov: The Return, The Portable Platonov, Happy Moscow, and Soul. Yury Bit-Yunan was born in Bryansk, in western Russia. He graduated from the Russian State University for the Humanities in Moscow, and completed his doctorate on the work of Vasily Grossman. At present he is lecturing on literary criticism at the Russian State University while continuing to research Grossman's life and work.
 
Published May 1, 2010 by NYRB Classics. 272 pages
Genres: Political & Social Sciences, Literature & Fiction. Fiction

Unrated Critic Reviews for Everything Flows

NPR

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While writer Anthony Marra sees literary links between Ukraine's past and present turmoil, conflict in Kiev and the arrest of the infamous "El Chapo" remind novelist Zachary Lazar of a Mexican author.

Feb 28 2014 | Read Full Review of Everything Flows (New York Re...

The Telegraph

Grossman was a bold, unconventional writer, and the form of his book echoes its title, ingeniously employing a variety of narrative lenses as it winds in and out of the corridors of a society feeding upon itself.

Jun 13 2010 | Read Full Review of Everything Flows (New York Re...

The New York Review of Books

Anna Aslanyan, a regular contributor to the BBC Russian Service, translates from English to Russian the work of Mavis Gallant, Jonathan Lethem, Zadie Smith, and others.

Dec 01 2009 | Read Full Review of Everything Flows (New York Re...

Time Out New York

Ukrainian war reporter Vasily Grossman was one of the first to describe a Nazi death camp in print, and his 1944 article “The Hell of Treblinka” was used at the Nuremberg War Crimes Tribunal as evidence of the Holocaust.

Dec 01 2009 | Read Full Review of Everything Flows (New York Re...

The Jewish Chronicle

As a war reporter accompanying the Red Army during its pyrrhic victory over the invading German forces, Vasily Grossman was present at the siege of Stalingrad.

Jun 24 2010 | Read Full Review of Everything Flows (New York Re...

A Work in Progress

Contemplating which books I will be spending time with, which have been sitting too long unopened and require attention, which books I think I will start reading over the weekend and which I might be able to finish.

Nov 01 2013 | Read Full Review of Everything Flows (New York Re...

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