I read this book when I was 18 or so. It is one of these books so imbued with a profound human feeling, so harrowing, that it makes you wonder why on earth you had been reading these other books all along and whether there is any point in continuing to do so. Indeed, that resonates with this comment by Solzhenitsyn:
Literature that is not the breath of contemporary society, that dares not transmit the pains and fears of that society, that does not warn in time against threatening moral and social dangers—such literature does not deserve the name of literature; it is only a façade. Such literature loses the confidence of its own people, and its published works are used as wastepaper instead of being read.