Conquest, Robert. Kolyma: The Artic Death Camps. New York: Viking Press, 1978. An excellent source of background information about the Kolyma concentration camp, facilitating better understanding of Shalamov’s stories. Contains frequent references to, and quotes from, Shalamov.
Glad, John. “Art Out of Hell: Shalamov of Kolyma.” Survey 107 (1979): 45-50. Seeing Shalamov’s stories in the Chekhovian tradition, Glad discusses his struggle with the authorities and his contribution to the camp literature as a lasting document of human courage.
Glad, John. Foreword to Graphite, by Varlam Shalamov. New York: W. W. Norton, 1981. Glad describes the conditions in Kolyma and the Soviet penal system. He sees the uniqueness of Shalamov’s stories in their being a bridge between fact and fiction. Their artistic quality, however, especially their pantheistic surrealism, makes them true works of art.
Glad, John. Foreword to Kolyma Tales, by Varlam Shalamov. New York: W. W. Norton, 1980. Similar to Glad’s article in Survey.
Hosking, Geoffrey. “The Ultimate Circle of the Stalinist Inferno.” New Universities Quarterly 34 (1980): 161-168. In this review of the Russian edition of Kolyma Tales, Hosking discusses several stories and the overall significance of Shalamov as a witness of crimes against humanity. He also compares similarities and differences between Shalamov and Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn as writers of camp literature.
Toker, Leona. “A Tale Untold: Verlam Shalamov’s ‘A Day Off.’” Studies in Short Fiction 28 (Winter, 1991): 1-8. A discussion of some aspects of Shalamov’s modernist techniques, comparable to the works of Hemingway and Nabokov, as embodied in his story “A Day Off.” Claims that Shalamov’s work is part of the tradition that presents the darkest sides of experience against the belief in the ultimate triumph of humanist values.
Toker, Leona. “Toward a Poetics of Documentary Prose: From the Perspective of Gulag Testimonies.” Poetics Today 18 (Summer, 1997): 187-222. Discusses the clash between the rhetorical principles of “defamiliarization” and the “economy of effort” in documentary prose by a brief analysis of Shalamov’s story “Berries.”
Toker, Leona. “Toward a Poetics of Documentary Prose—From the Perspective of Gulag Testimonies.” Poetics Today 18 (Summer, 1997): 187-222. Places documentary genres into a nonmarginalizing perspective by constructing a paradigm of narrative modes on the basis of the ontological status of the fabula; discusses the clash between the rhetorical principles of “defamiliarization” and the “economy of effort” in documentary prose by a brief analysis of Varlam Shalamov’s story “Berries.”