Life and Fate Read Along, Part 1 Chapter 42

This post, covering Part 1, Chapter 42, 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.

Emerging from the crippling atmosphere of the prison camp where Abarchuk is imprisoned, today we move to an important moment in world history.

Grossman takes us through the late summer 1942 German offensive where Kleist’s Army looked unstoppable, taking strategic oil fields in the Caucasus and spreading to new regions previously thought unimaginable.

As the narrator so aptly puts it, “It is a lie that it was the pressures of the war that forced the Fascist leaders to undertake these measures. On the contrary, danger and a lack of confidence in their own power were what most served to restrain and temper them,” (p. 195). Throughout much of the novel, success only bolsters the depravity and severity of the Fascists’ actions.