Life and Fate Read Along, Part 1 Chapter 22

This post, covering Part 1, Chapter 22, 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 we see the fleeting moments between husband and wife as Getmanov prepares to leave for war. We get to bear witness to the feeling of sentimental love between a father and his children on the eve that he leaves for war. We see a previously fused husband and wife duo split apart in the face of demanding Party loyalty.

Grossman uses Getmanov to further explore the dichotomy between love and duty. In this chapter it seems questionable at best that they can coexist over the long term. The narrator ponders “how could he reconcile his unshakeable, iron severity with this limitless tenderness and love?” (p. 115).