A nightmarish novel right from the opening as we are taken on a horrendous journey beyond the Gulag and into a man’s soul. The author conjures up language of poetic intensity to express the inexpressible in this haunting portrayal of sapped humanity in a brutal setting. A bleak and chastening novel with startlingly distinct imagery.
I’m always telling myself I don’t have many feelings. Even when something does affect me I’m only moderately moved. I almost never cry. It’s not that I’m stronger than the ones with teary eyes, I’m weaker. They have courage. When all you are is skin and bones, feelings are a brave thing. I’m more of a coward. The difference is minimal, though, I just use my strength not to cry. When I do allow myself a feeling, I take the part that hurts and bandage it up with a story that doesn’t cry, that doesn’t dwell on homesickness.