Vasily Grossman's Life and Fate
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Vasily Grossman: his life and legacy
Andrew Marr discusses the life and work of the writer Vasily Grossman in a special programme recorded at an event in Oxford to celebrate his greatest novel, Life and Fate. Grossman was a Ukrainian Jew who spent most of WWII reporting on the front line with a humanity and attention to detail that defied the Soviet censors. His masterpiece, Life and Fate, pitted communism against fascism but came down on the side of human kindness. Start the Week looks at the legacy of a writer who is largely ignored in his own country, and asks how Grossman's depiction of the war compares to the authorised version in Russia today. Andrew talks to the historian Antony Beevor, the writers Andrey Kurkov and Linda Grant.
Kenneth Branagh and David Tennant star in an eight-hour dramatisation of Life and Fate by Vasily Grossman. Thirteen episodes will be broadcast from 18 to 25 September on Radio 4. This epic masterpiece, centred around the bloody battle of Stalingrad, charts the fate of both a nation and a family in the turmoil of war. Completed in 1960, the novel was deemed so dangerous by the KGB that the book itself was arrested. All the episodes are available to download.