About the Books
Set in Moscow during a three-day period in December 1949, ‘The First Circle’ is the story of the prisoner Gleb Nerzhin, a brilliant mathematician. At the age of thirty-one, Nerzhin has survived the war years on the German front and the postwar years in a succession of Russian prisons and labor camps. His story is interwoven with the stories of a dozen fellow prisoners – each an unforgettable human being – from the prison janitor to the tormented Marxist intellectual who designed the Dnieper dam; of the reigning elite and their conflicted subordinates; and of the women, wretched or privileged, bound to these men. A landmark of Soviet literature, ‘The First Circle’ is as powerful today as it was when it was first published, nearly thirty years ago.