The first book of the new year is done! I finished Cancer Ward by Alexander Solzhenitsyn earlier today. Loosely based on Solzhenitsyn’s own experience with cancer in the post-Stalinist Soviet Union, Cancer Ward follows the life of Oleg Kostoglotov as he undergoes treatment in a regional cancer clinic. Kostoglotov is a political exile who has spent his entire adult life in the Soviet army and a prison camp. Through his interactions with other patients (including an arrogant Soviet bureaucrat) and the clinic staff, we are given a glimpse of the complex dynamics that governed all facets of Soviet life. Solzhenitsyn’s reflections on the nature of life and death transcend the Soviet setting and speak to readers from any culture. This book can be very depressing at parts, but is ultimately hopeful in the face of all possible resistance. I would definitely recommend this to anyone looking for a deeper read. Many thanks to my good friend Daniel of Surf Waco for turning me on to Solzhenitsyn.
1 Read, 99 To Go