Life and Fate Read Along, Part 1 Chapter 25

Life and Fate Read Along, Part 1 Chapter 25
Photo by Leohoho / Unsplash

This post, covering Part 1, Chapter 25, 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.

What do Voltaire, Chaadayev, and a sexual vitamin deficiency have in common? These are all just three in a series of strange things that seem to be connected to Zhenya in this chapter as we are introduced to Shargorodsky, another tenant in her building.

As we can see with his hyperfixation on Afanasy Fet and nineteenth century poetry, Shargorodsky seems profoundly out of place in a wartime reality. He muses on whether he will “really die without ever seeing even one of my poems in print?” (p. 133). Contrasted with issues from previous chapters like exile over national identity and residency permits, his poetry seems relatively pointless.