Andrei Sinyavsky, who writes under the pseudonym of Abram Tertz, has been called by Saul Bellow "one of the most intelligent, most original, and most brilliant of contemporary writers". A noted Russian dissident, he was incarcerated from 1966 to 1971 in Soviet forced-labour camps for allowing some of his most satirical writings to be smuggled out of Russia and published in the West. This literary work is Sinyavsky's prison memoir. Based on letters to his wife, the diary includes Sinyavsky's meditations on religion, sex, art, literature and myths, the inner world to which he removed himself to escape from the degradation of prison. Interjected into these thoughts, however, are random snatches of prisoners' conversations - a "chorus" of their tales, legends, songs and curses that evoke the horror and spiritual desolation of their existence. The result is an evocation of prison life, a celebration of literature and art, and a tribute to the endurance of the human spirit.