Just Send Me Word: A True Story of Love and Survival in the Gulag by Orlando Figes

Just Send Me Word: A True Story of Love and Survival in the Gulag

byOrlando Figes

Kobo ebook | May 22, 2012

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A heroic love story and an unprecedented inside view of one of Stalin's most notorious labor camps, based on a remarkable cache of letters smuggled in and out of the Gulag

"I went to get the letters for our friends, and couldn't help but feel a little envious, I didn't expect anything for myself. And suddenly—there was my name, and, as if it was alive, your handwriting."

In 1946, after five years as a prisoner—first as a Soviet POW in Nazi concentration camps, then as a deportee (falsely accused of treason) in the Arctic Gulag—twenty-nine-year-old Lev Mishchenko unexpectedly received a letter from Sveta, the sweetheart he had hardly dared hope was still alive. Amazingly, over the next eight years the lovers managed to exchange more than 1,500 messages, and even to smuggle Sveta herself into the camp for secret meetings. Their recently discovered correspondence is the only known real-time record of life in Stalin's Gulag, unmediated and uncensored.
Orlando Figes, "the great storyteller of modern Russian historians" (Financial Times), draws on Lev and Sveta's letters as well as KGB archives and recent interviews to brilliantly reconstruct the broader world in which their story unfolded. With the powerful narrative drive of a novel, Just Send Me Word reveals a passion and endurance that triumphed over the tragic forces of history.

Title:Just Send Me Word: A True Story of Love and Survival in the GulagFormat:Kobo ebookPublished:May 22, 2012Publisher:Henry Holt and Co.Language:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0805095233

ISBN - 13:9780805095234

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Reviews

Rated 5 out of 5 by from This is such an interesting and remarkable story. I really enjoyed reading this book because it touched and gave insight on so many different topics such as the war, love, determination, the difference between now and then, ways of communicating and etc. It is crazy to me to believe that a story like this could have actually happened, and to read about why and how it occurred is mind blowing. It is a story of love and determination of two people who refused to never give up on each other no matter where they were or how long they had to wait to see each other and to never stop having faith that they would eventually reunite again. I find it such a heart-breaking story knowing that they had to wait so long (over 8 years) to be together and that they couldn't even see each other often during the time they were apart (less than once a year). On the other hand, it is also a very heart-warming story knowing that not even distance can keep people apart that are willing and that have love to give to that specific other person. Sveta could have easily found someone else that she would have been able to see everyday and start a family with sooner but she did not want anyone else, she wanted Lev and only Lev. It is remarkable what people can do for true love and this story definitely reinforces that true love does exist and it helps me believe that "soul mates" are real and that two people who are meant to be together will, no matter the difficulties or obstacles that they may face. I love how the author takes us on literally a full beginning to end journey with these two people. Starting at before they even knew each other, to how they met, to their first signs of dating, to when the war began and they got separated from each other, to when they didn't even know if the other person was alive or not, to not giving up hope on finding out, to how they survived during the war, to when they reconnected, to their secret meetings, to them encouraging one another that everything will be okay despite what had happened and what had yet to come, to when they were able to be together, to their marriage, to their kids, all the way up until they passed away. It is incredible how this couples journey was recorded from beginning to end. Another aspect of this story that I find incredible is the method of communication that was used during that time period. I am used to text messages and phone calls where an answer is expected to arrive in a couple of minutes or (if the other person is busy) a couple hours at max but Sveta and Lev had to communicate through written letters which took weeks to arrive at their destination if they even did end up sending successfully. I can only imagine how different and difficult it must have been where that, waiting weeks for an answer or for a sign of life, was the norm. Another reason that I really enjoyed this story is that not only is it a remarkable love story but it is also very informative about what was going on before, during and after the war. We can read everywhere about things that happened during these difficult times but what I find incredible is to follow the lives of these people through these tough times and to see how the conditions affected these people. When you read a story you connect with the characters, or find a way to connect with them. For me, when I read a story like this, I connect to how the people lived, to what they went through and as the story goes on, I feel like i've come to know them and their struggles and achievements. In this stories case, it is not only characters that we are talking about, but actual people. These are real people going through these real events that happened. I do find that during the middle (but closer to the end) of the story, it does become a bit repetitive about what is going on. I do find that it was a bit tiring to read, but then again, being in a prison and having limited access to the outside world gives the author little to work with in that regard. I would definitely recommend this book to anybody who wants to read a love story, a true story, a story about survival, a story about the war, a story about determination and even about technological advances and about ways of communication. It will not disappoint, and it will leave you happy and give you strength and courage that you met a couple who did not give up on each other and on love no matter how low their spirits might have been. It is a definite must read!
Date published: 2017-07-20
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Great Read! This is such an interesting and remarkable story. I really enjoyed reading this book because it touched and gave insight on so many different topics such as the war, love, determination, the difference between now and then, ways of communicating and etc. It is crazy to me to believe that a story like this could have actually happened, and to read about why and how it occurred is mind blowing. It is a story of love and determination of two people who refused to never give up on each other no matter where they were or how long they had to wait to see each other and to never stop having faith that they would eventually reunite again. I find it such a heart-breaking story knowing that they had to wait so long (over 8 years) to be together and that they couldn't even see each other often during the time they were apart (less than once a year). On the other hand, it is also a very heart-warming story knowing that not even distance can keep people apart that are willing and that have love to give to that specific other person. Sveta could have easily found someone else that she would have been able to see everyday and start a family with sooner but she did not want anyone else, she wanted Lev and only Lev. It is remarkable what people can do for true love and this story definitely reinforces that true love does exist and it helps me believe that "soul mates" are real and that two people who are meant to be together will, no matter the difficulties or obstacles that they may face. I love how the author takes us on literally a full beginning to end journey with these two people. Starting at before they even knew each other, to how they met, to their first signs of dating, to when the war began and they got separated from each other, to when they didn't even know if the other person was alive or not, to not giving up hope on finding out, to how they survived during the war, to when they reconnected, to their secret meetings, to them encouraging one another that everything will be okay despite what had happened and what had yet to come, to when they were able to be together, to their marriage, to their kids, all the way up until they passed away. It is incredible how this couples journey was recorded from beginning to end. Another aspect of this story that I find incredible is the method of communication that was used during that time period. I am used to text messages and phone calls where an answer is expected to arrive in a couple of minutes or (if the other person is busy) a couple hours at max but Sveta and Lev had to communicate through written letters which took weeks to arrive at their destination if they even did end up sending successfully. I can only imagine how different and difficult it must have been where that, waiting weeks for an answer or for a sign of life, was the norm. Another reason that I really enjoyed this story is that not only is it a remarkable love story but it is also very informative about what was going on before, during and after the war. We can read everywhere about things that happened during these difficult times but what I find incredible is to follow the lives of these people through these tough times and to see how the conditions affected these people. When you read a story you connect with the characters, or find a way to connect with them. For me, when I read a story like this, I connect to how the people lived, to what they went through and as the story goes on, I feel like i've come to know them and their struggles and achievements. In this stories case, it is not only characters that we are talking about, but actual people. These are real people going through these real events that happened. I do find that during the middle (but closer to the end) of the story, it does become a bit repetitive about what is going on. I do find that it was a bit tiring to read, but then again, being in a prison and having limited access to the outside world gives the author little to work with in that regard. I would definitely recommend this book to anybody who wants to read a love story, a true story, a story about survival, a story about the war, a story about determination and even about technological advances and about ways of communication. It will not disappoint, and it will leave you happy and give you strength and courage that you met a couple who did not give up on each other and on love no matter how low their spirits might have been. It is a definite must read!
Date published: 2017-03-30