Life and Fate Read Along, Part 1 Chapter 10

Life and Fate Read Along, Part 1 Chapter 10
Photo by Ion Fet / Unsplash

This post, covering Part 1, Chapter 10, is part of The Slavic Literature Pod’s chapter a day read along of Vasily Grossman’s Life and Fate. Learn more about our project here.

Today Grossman reintroduces readers of Stalingrad to Vavilov, a personal favorite of ours from his previous novel. Vavilov represents the New Soviet Man, a sort of Soviet everyman. Here we see the former collective farm worker take a jab at Krymov, who has come to the unit to sort out a “A lecture’s just what we need,” (p. 44).

At this point in Soviet literature, the dispute between a strong commanding officer and his commissar has a well-established footing in one of the foundational Socialist Realist texts and films, Chapaev. Although in Chapaev, this tension is eventually resolved by something that most closely resembles elevating Chapaev with Marxist-Leninist ideology, Grossman seems to resolve the tension in the opposite manner.