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  • As eloquent a memorial to the anonymous little man in the Stalinist state as Dr Zhivago is to the artistic spirit in post-Czarist Russia and The First Circle to the scientific intelligentsia

    New York Times
  • Vasily Grossman is the Tolstoy of the USSR

    Martin Amis
  • Possibly the greatest chronicler of the second world war

  • Only Dante, in his account of Ugolino and his sons starving to death in a locked tower, has written of death from hunger with equal power

    Robert Chandler, London Review of Books
  • Supplies a wealth of information about the social context and Soviet terminology

    Christopher Taylor, Guardian

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