Thursday, January 11, 2007

Lunchtime read: Russian Short Stories

What A Pity - Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn

This is a short story that on the face of it seems like it is going to be the usual thing about someone running into trouble with the authorities but it is more complex than that. A woman walks down a street and sees a three day old newspaper on display that has a piece about her father and she gets caught stealing it and let off by a sympathetic policeman. In the article a journalist trying to ingratiate themselves with the party line praises the improvements made in a valley and criticizes the Tsarist regime for not implementing them wondering if the man who dreamt up the plans knows they have been realised. The man who dreamt up the plans is in exile and if the journalist knew and the magazine editor’s knew it would never have been published. Trying to attack one old system means they have fallen foul of the current one.

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