The First Circle

Winner of the 1970 Nobel Prize for Literature

Set in Moscow during December, 1949, The First Circle is the story of prisoner Gleb Nerzhin, a brilliant mathematician. Nerzhin has survived the war years on the front and the postwar years in Russian prisons and labor camps. His story is interwoven with the stories of a dozen fellow prisoners, from the 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.

"It is Solzhenitsyn's camera eye, his absolute sense of pitch, his Tolstoyan power of characterization, his deep humaneness, his almost military discipline and Greek feeling for the unities which . . . make this work a classic." --New York Times Book Review

"A compelling and devastating indictment of Soviet terror . . . [This] distinguished work [is] so profound in its vistion and its implications that it transcends both its locale and the specificities of its subject matter." --New Republic