Vasily Grossman's An Armenian Sketchbook takes a tone almost like travel writing in describing the people and landscapes he encounters during his exile in Armenia. Grossman was in the process of completing [b:Life and Fate|88432|Life And Fate|Vasily Grossman|http://d.gr-assets.com/books/1320447178s/88432.jpg|2435598] when the manuscript was siezed by the Soviet government, and in response Grossman begins translating an Armenian novel into Russian in order to lie low for a while as well as earn some extra money. Here is where An Armenian Sketchbook picks up, with Grossman arriving in Armenia and traveling around the countryside. The people he meets are diverse, and he takes side trips like the one to Lake Sevan. His prose is elegant and descriptive, every now and again including a story about World War II or some other event that politicizes Grossman's commentary and reveals not only his political leanings but also his beliefs about art and life. This may not be the longest travelogue or most incisive political tract, but the combination of elements makes for a complex and captivating memoir of life on the outskirts of the USSR.