Life and Fate Read Along, Part 1 Chapter 26

This post, covering Part 1, Chapter 26, 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.

Much like the famous passage of Prince Andrei passing the same oak tree twice, each time seeing it differently, here Lyudmila sees that “There was no warmth in the sun, nor in the blue sky and water,” (p. 137). Grossman masterfully adopts some of the Realist literary tools that made Tolstoy’s prose so important.

Despite the citizens going about their business in the rest of the train don’t share her viewpoint. Instead, Lyudmila thinks about how “The earth was vast: even the vast forest had both a beginning and end, but the earth just stretched on for ever… And grief was something equally vast, equally eternal,” (p. 137). Clearly, we can see here that the passengers in the so-called “soft coaches” do not share this viewpoint. This quote is one filtered through Lyudmila’s perspective.