The thrilling cold war masterwork by the nobel prize winner, published in full for the first time
Moscow, Christmas Eve, 1949.The Soviet secret police intercept a call made to the American embassy by a Russian diplomat who promises to deliver secrets about the nascent Soviet Atomic Bomb program. On that same day, a brilliant mathematician is locked away inside a Moscow prison that houses the country's brightest minds. He and his fellow prisoners are charged with using their abilities to sleuth out the caller's identity, and they must choose whether to aid Joseph Stalin's repressive state—or refuse and accept transfer to the Siberian Gulag camps . . . and almost certain death.
First written between 1955 and 1958, In the First Circle is Solzhenitsyn's fiction masterpiece. In order to pass through Soviet censors, many essential scenes—including nine full chapters—were cut or altered before it was published in a hastily translated English edition in 1968. Now with the help of the author's most trusted translator, Harry T. Willetts, here for the first time is the complete, definitive English edition of Solzhenitsyn's powerful and magnificent classic.
The appearance in English of this new version of Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn's best novel, mistranslated as The First Circle when it appeared in Britain and America more than 40 years ago, is an exciting literary event that is destined to be little noticed or appreciated in our Twitterized times. This is a sad but unavoidable fact. A long, demanding novel set in Joseph Stalin's Soviet Union, happily now just an artifact of the distant past, is most unlikely to find a large audience today. Nevertheless, I put it down with an exhilarating hope that this splendid new version, wonderfully translated by the late Harry T. Willetts, will help keep alive one of the most important horror stories of the horrific 20th century. Okay, I'm a romantic optimist. But this is a great and important book, whose qualities are finally fully available to English-speaking readers.