There were no threads about Gorky so I decided to start one. If somebody doesn'y know Gorky(means bitter in Russian) is a pseudoname of Alexey Maximovich Peshkov- a Russian writer who became one of the symbols of social realysm.
I've read his trilogy about his childhood and youth. It was pretty interesting, especially to compare it with similar work of Tolstoy. Of course, there is a huge difference in a social status of two writers- so there is nothing in common between their upbringings.
Gorky started with short romantic stories in the late 19th century and some of them are pretty good. I remember a cool story about a tribe who lost their fire, so everything was dark and they were in the middle of the huge forest. The hero(his name was Danko, if I'm not mistaken) tore his heart out of his breast and because he was so full of life, courage and desire to help his people, his heart was shining and providing the necessary light for the tribe.
His main novel is Mother. During Soviet years it was considered a classic work and one of the best novels ever. I decide to read it mainly because I wanted to know reading what books did my parents grew up. It was one of the worst novels I've ever read. Basically it's about a worker who participates in some kind of antitsarist activity and his uneducated mother who starts listening to the conversations between her son and his comrades and , of course- who would doubt that- also becomes an ardent revolutionary.
I personally dislike Gorky also because he covered up for a lot of Stalin crimes. He was an international figure who was well-known in Europe. Not once he condemned "enemies of the people", although I have to admit it was a difficult time for a writer and he did helped quite a few of his less influential fellow writers.
To finish about Gorky I'll tell you a real story that our literature teacher tolds us in high school. It became known in one of the soviet labor camps for children that Gorky is supposed to visit and confirm to everybody that society helps to make perfect soviet citizens out of young criminals. You can imagine what the conditions in the camp were- not enough food, horrible living conditons, children were workomg for 14 hours a day and wre dying like flies. The management of the camp created a perfect picture for the famous writer- you know how it's done. But the children believed in great Gorky- he will help them, he will save them! So they selected one boy, who found a moment when the writer was alone and told him everything about the real life of the camp. Gorky started crying hearing about it but did nothing and left the next day. you can imagine what happened to these children after he left... I kind of understand that he could not change the system, but he sure could save at least this little boy who told him the truth- doesn't take a genius to realize what will happen to him.
Even Gorky's death brought only misery- Stalin accused a bunch of doctors that they poisoned him and declared them "enemies of the state".
Sorry for the long post, but hopefully there was something new for some of you and I'm always happy to promote the interest in Russian literature