Alexander Solzhenitsyn and the lesbians

Solzhenitsyn died at age 89.  Here's the AP obituary.

I first read his novel “A Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich” when I was a 17 year old high school senior and it rocked my world.  I had no clue about the larger connection to the Gulag and the Soviet Union or any other political themes.  I just vanished into this intimate description of one not-so-bad day in what seemed a pretty horrible life.  That resonated with me — finding a reason to see what wasn't so bad about any particular day.  Days that were, in fact, pretty bad.  For me, too.

In the early 1990's, I read most of the Solzhenitsyn canon in preparation for my master's thesis in political theory.  Reconciling my increasing feminist perspective with my love for Russian literature proved too overwhelming and I found myself a thousand miles away from graduate school working with poor rural families.  Which led me here.

Solzenhenitsyn never stopped resonating with me, however.  Not when I left the Church.  Not when I identified as a liberal.  Not even when I came out.  It doesn't matter that his female characters are one dimensional and timid, never the hero.  I still get him. 

Russian literature pushed me into social work.  Reading Dostoevsky's The Brothers Karamazov put the nail in the coffin after reading a passage where one of the brother rails against a God that would allow an innocent child to die at the hands of her own parents.  I remember thinking he would be better served to use his wealth and privilege to help said child than to go about ranting and wailing — it was easier for him to blame God than to take some responsibility for being the change. I know it was a literary device, but I was just done with political theory at that point.  Not so much the political as the theory.  I wanted action.

Man, did that take me down some interesting paths. 

Anyway, Solzhenitsyn is dead.  And I doubt he would want to be lauded by a lesbian, but here we are.  May God rest his soul.

**************************************************************** Note: I made the colossal error of confusing my Russians.  Sooo embarrasassing.  Tolstoy and Dostoevsky are not interchangeable and I'm very sorry for the error.  My favorite work by Tolstoy is “Two Old Men.”  Sheesh.  Some tribute. 


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