Life and Fate Read Along, Part 1 Chapter 52

Life and Fate Read Along, Part 1 Chapter 52
Photo by Stephen Frank / Unsplash

This post, covering Part 1, Chapter 52, 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.

Today we bear witness to the uneasy relationship between a commanding officer and his commissar. Finally we get our meeting between Novikov and Getmanov.

The beginning of the chapter almost reads like a game of chess. As Getmanov proposes a toast, Novikov cautiously offers one to the troops, then hurrying to make sure he adequately toasts Comrade Stalin. But, he senses that he rushed too quickly into his Stalin toast, somehow making it seem insincere. The narrator writes that “Novikov saw the hidden mockery in Getmanov’s friendly, watchful eyes. Cursing himself, he thought: ‘Damn it! I shouldn’t have been in such a hurry,’” (p. 219).