Life and Fate Read Along, Part 1 Chapter 71

Life and Fate Read Along, Part 1 Chapter 71
Photo by Jordi Klavers / Unsplash

This post, covering Part 1, Chapter 71 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.

As we follow Mostovskoy’s time in the camps, we are long past the vibrant internationalism of his youth. The idea of socialism around the world — an idea which dragged him across Europe, meeting new people and learning new languages — has long since given ground to the policy of socialism in one county. 

Mostovskoy, though struck with his moments of doubts, mostly does not conceive of himself as a stepson of the age. He may be coming up to the edge of irrelevancy, but for now: he is the last few of the old guard, the ones who persevere through anything for the sake of the country they have built. They may harbor secret doubts, but those must be quashed for the sake of the party. 

And yet he seeks the companionship of Ikonnikov. He debates the menshevik Chernetsov. He even schemes — seemingly with a real measure of trust — with the suspicious element Yershov, the son of an imprisoned kulak family. Mostovskoy has made many compromises to survive to be an old bolshevik. His curiosity and focus on outcome over process appears to have survived unscathed.