Life and Fate: A Hero of the Soviet Union
By Vasily Grossman
November, 1942. Krymov denounces Grekov as an enemy of the state. After speeches marking the 25th anniversary of the Revolution at which he is cold-shouldered by his colleagues, he slips out to find Stepan Spiridonov at the Central Power Station. He recalls the heady days of 1917 and Lenin's funeral and compares those ideals with the days of the show-trials.
Dramatised for radio by Jonathan Myerson
Nikolai Krymov ..... David Tennant
Stepan Spiridonov ..... Kenneth Cranham
Pryakhin ..... Gerard McDermott
Pavel Andreyev ..... Malcolm Tierney
Ogibalov ..... Carl Prekopp
Makuladze ..... James Lailey
Original music by John Hardy with Rob Whitehead
Translated by Robert Chandler
Directed and Produced by Alison Hindell
Kenneth Branagh, Janet Suzman, David Tennant, Kenneth Cranham, Greta Scacchi and Harriet Walter star in this eight hour dramatisation of Life and Fate by Vasily Grossman. This epic saga takes over every drama strand on Radio 4 this week.
Set against the ferocious Battle of Stalingrad, Life and Fate is a sweeping historical tale that charts the fate of both a nation and a family in the turmoil of war and is increasingly hailed as the most important Russian novel of the 20th century. Its comparison of Stalinism with Nazism was considered by Soviet authorities to be so dangerous that the manuscript itself was arrested and Grossman was told that it would not be published for at least 200 years. He died in 1964, never knowing that his book would be smuggled to the West and eventually published in 1980.