Read Grey Is the Color of Hope by Irina Ratushinskaya Free Online

Ebook Grey Is the Color of Hope by Irina Ratushinskaya read! Book Title: Grey Is the Color of Hope
The author of the book: Irina Ratushinskaya
Edition: Knopf
Date of issue: September 12th 1988
ISBN: 0394571401
ISBN 13: 9780394571409
Language: English
Format files: PDF
The size of the: 4.39 MB
City - Country: No data
Loaded: 1572 times
Reader ratings: 5.7

Read full description of the books:

The relationship between the Russian language and the English language is one of the most compelling proofs that the universe has a sense of humor (and horror). That, democracy, and snuggies. Grey is the Color of Hope is tragic and compelling enough as a story that saying I didn't like it would be like saying I hate babies or ice cream or what have you. Really, how can you find fault with a prison-camp memoir? "Well, if I was in a prison camp, I would have written something with more sex appeal"? Honestly, though, the translation was so god-awful that it really was slightly painful to read. My Russian is uzhasno anymore, but I wondered part way through if I wouldn't do better with a dictionary and the original language text. Unfortunately, I couldn't find the Russian version anywhere (due to a Soviet plot, I'm sure. . . No not really. . . Well, maybe).

Aside from the already daunting challenge of translating everyday Russian into readable English, prison slang was a big part of communicating the feel of Irina Ratushinskaya's experience in Soviet “reeducation” camps. Alyona Kojevnikov, who translated the version of Grey is the Color of Hope that I read (which is actually the only version that exists, as far as I know) did not do a stellar job at this. For example, early on Ratushinskaya relates a few of the common prison terms, one of which was translated as "warmer". Ratushinskaya defines this as “the acquisition of something not officially permitted, such as [the:] exchange of sweets for cigarettes. The first, obvious interpretation strikes me immediately – something to warm the heart” (p. 11). I can get past the use of the word “sweets” by thinking of it as just a word I would never use (unless, of course, I was disguised as an evil witch and trying to lure some unsuspecting kids into my gingerbread house – and even then I would probably say “sweeties”), and by accepting that maybe in some other English-speaking city someone else might use it. The translation of “warmer”, though, was disappointing. I could only imagine that this was one of those charming Russian words that end in nik, like tyeplovnik or something else that sounds really fun. “Warmer” doesn't really convey the sense of usefulness that a word ending in nik has, and also it’s stupid. No badass American prisoner would use the word “warmer”. I admit that it would take some poetic license to come up with a better word that conveys that meaning in English, but come on, Alyona Kojevnikov! Can you stop taking everything so literally, or do I need to call Seamus Heaney in to replace you? (Always time for a Beowulf joke, right?)

That brings up the other point that Ratushinskaya is a poet, and I’m willing to believe that her poetry is touching or beautiful, though the translation did nothing to reveal that. Clearly, the problem is that English is Ms. Kojevnikov’s second language, and translating from a native language to a second language awkward. So much connotation isn’t obvious. Still . . . at one point she translated what I assume was the Russian word “Klass!”, which means “Cool” in English, to “Class!”, which doesn’t mean anything, unless you are in a school. No excuse.

Other than the translation problem, this is just a pretty outrageous story. Ratushinskaya was pulled from her home by the KGB for writing poetry and generally supporting human rights, and then she basically established a new life with the other political prisoners in her camp. She gives detailed descriptions of detention and torture practices in the Soviet prisons, and I, of course, have respect for memoirs of this nature. In many ways, I believe, she wrote this as a letter to the West, to reveal the inhumanity of the Soviet government, and I would say that she is successful in what she was trying to accomplish. I wouldn’t necessarily recommend this book, and it is definitely not a light weekend read, but I’m not sad that I read it either. I would still like to own a copy in the original Russian.

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Ebook Grey Is the Color of Hope read Online! Irina Ratushinskaya was born in Odessa, Ukraine. Her father was Boris Leonidovich, an engineer, and her mother was Irina Valentinovna Ratushinsky, a teacher of Russian literature. Her mother's family originated from Poland, and her grandfather was deported to Siberia shortly after the January Uprising, a Polish uprising against forced conscription in the Russian Army in 1863.

Irina was educated at Odessa University and was graduated with a master's degree in physics in 1976. Before her graduation she taught at a primary school in Odessa from 1975–78.

On September 17, 1982, Irina was arrested for anti-Soviet agitation. In April 1983, she was convicted of "agitation carried on for the purpose of subverting or weakening the Soviet regime", sentenced to seven years in a labor camp followed by five years of internal exile. She was released on October 9, 1986, on the eve of the summit in Reykjavík, Iceland between President Ronald Reagan and Mikhail Gorbachev.

While imprisoned, Irina continued to write poetry. Her previous works usually centered on love, Christian theology, and artistic creation, not on politics or policies as her accusers stated. Her new works that were written in prison, which were written on soap until memorized and then washed away, number some 250. They expressed an appreciation for human rights; liberty, freedom, and the beauty of life. Her memoir, Grey is the Colour of Hope, chronicles her prison experience. Her later poems recount her struggles to endure the hardships and horrors of prison life. Irina is a member of International PEN, who monitored her situation during her incarceration.

In 1987, Irina moved to the United States, where she received the Religious Freedom Award from the Institute on Religion and Democracy. In the same year she was deprived of Soviet citizenship by Politburo. She also was the Poet in Residence at Northwestern University from 1987–89. She lived in London, UK until December 1998, when she returned to Russia to educate her children in Russian school after a year of procedures to restore Russian citizenship.

She lives in Moscow with her husband, human rights activist Igor Gerashchenko, and two sons.

(from Wikipedia)

Reviews of the Grey Is the Color of Hope


This is a very predictable author. When you get a book for free, you can read it. The intrigue is present, the unbundling is clear.


The book is a masterpiece that makes a richer soul, speech, and wider horizon.


There are some interesting pages


A hard, shocking, but extremely useful book that makes you think!

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