Life and Fate Read Along, Part 1 Chapter 63

Life and Fate Read Along, Part 1 Chapter 63
Photo by Vince Gx / Unsplash

This post, covering Part 1, Chapter 63, 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 leaving work, Viktor heads to a friend’s apartment — a habit he’s developed with increasing frequency as he grows more uncomfortable with his home life. He goes there to meet with a group of writers, translators, etc. 

This night — despite their host’s reservations — the conversation turns to politics. Strikingly, several of the men there come out swinging against the status of the Soviet state. One criticizes the beseeching of workers to give their all while their bosses instead do what’s best for their own families; another calls for the rejection of the press as a propaganda arm. 

Their host, Sokolov, rejects their arguments. He is largely alone in doing this, except when Viktor comes to his aid. Viktor’s behavior throughout this chapter is interesting because it is largely characterized by not having a consistent position. Rather, he seems driven to oppose whoever has just spoken last.