Life and Fate Read Along, Part 2 Chapter 13

Life and Fate Read Along, Part 2 Chapter 13
Photo by Thom Milkovic / Unsplash

This post, covering Part 2, Chapter 13 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.

While deep in the sands around the Caspian Sea, today we witness an intense conversation between Darensky and Lieutenant-Colonel Bova. First starting with a discussion of drinks and Ukrainian women, they eventually move onto a dissection of bureaucracy—after Bova wakes up from a quick nap, that is.

As the descendant of aristocrats on both sides of his family, Darensky has faced his share of challenges in the new society. Bova argues that “I don’t look on it as bureaucracy if a workers’ and peasants’ State treats aristocrats with suspicion. But why did they go for my throat? … That’s what I see as the root of bureaucracy - a worker suffering in his own State,” (p. 389).