A masterpiece, an absolute masterpiece!

I was expecting a depressing read - I mean Cancer and post-Stalinist Russia how can it be anything but depressing but although it reveals despair and suffering it also puts compassion and love on display. In these pages Russia and it's people of the time are illuminated - the good, the bad and the ugly. This was a sad and occasionally a heart-breaking read but I would never call it depressing.

The writing is exquisite .. the style is smooth as silk. The ward, the characters and their stories materialize, they are so beautifully and fully realized and it feels like you are right there among them - reach out a hand and you'd be able to touch them.

My last word is for the translation - it is as masterly as the original text demands. Superb.