Life and Fate Read Along, Part 1 Chapter 32

This post, covering Part 1, Chapter 32, 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.

After the emotional high of Tolya’s death and Lyudmila’s too-late arrival, Grossman slows the pace with several conscripts speaking as they prepare to bury the dead. 

The previous two chapters have given us characters shaken out of their usual, emotionally-detached routines by the arrival of a grieving mother. Each of them faces their own guilt in her presence. 

Although it is easy to speak about this sort of dehumanizing routine as a negative, we should note that this is also a fact of life. It can be a negative force. It’s also a show of humanity’s adaptability, our ability to continue living through horrible circumstances.