The First Circle: The dramatic story of a dramatic novel

"The First Circle is one of the most important novels of the 20th century, and we are thrilled to be making this masterpiece available in its full glory," said Carrie Kania, senior vice-president and publisher of Harper Perennial.

Harper Perennial editor Peter Hubbard says the author approved the edition a few years ago and commissioned his favourite translator, Harry T Willetts, who had worked at The Gulag Archipelago. Bookshops expect The First Circle in 2009.

The first full edition of Nobel Prize laureate Alexander Solzhenitsyn's The First Circle in English will appear in the United States. Harper Perennial, a branch of HarperCollins, is expected to release it next year, the Associated Press reports.

The author completed The First Circle in 1964. Soviet censors cut the novel drastically. The shortened, 580-page version was published in English in 1968.

Harry T Willetts died in 2005, soon after he finished the translation, so the publisher "went through some edits with Solzhenitsyn", which caused another unexpected delay, Hubbard said.

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