Life and Fate Read Along, Part 1 Chapter 41
This post, covering Part 1, Chapter 41, 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.
Last chapter when it was revealed that Magar, Abarchuk’s former political mentor, had been transferred to the same camp and was in the hospital, it seemed a meeting was destined. In this chapter, we finally get our meeting. Magar seems almost ideologically unrecognizable to Abarchuk.
With striking clarity, Magar’s denunciation of the Soviet system stuns Abarchuk. His critique stems from the issue of freedom. He says that “We didn’t understand freedom. We crushed it… Without freedom there can be no proletarian revolution…” (p. 193). Indeed, as much of the novel shows us, without freedom the human element of life is stamped out.