Life and Fate Read Along, Part 2 Chapter 53

Life and Fate Read Along, Part 2 Chapter 53
Photo by Scott Graham / Unsplash

This post, covering Part 2, Chapter 53 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, a microcosm of a larger political debate is unfolding on the surface of Viktor’s paperwork. Last chapter, senior members of the Institute were asked to fill out a detailed questionnaire on their family background, class origin, and other personal topics. This chapter, we follow Viktor on a surprisingly interesting journey through filling out government forms.

As Viktor is filling out the questionnaire, he observes that “Nearly all the questions were the same as before the war. Their familiarity, however, somehow renewed Viktor’s anxiety,” (p. 576). Wondering why, then, he must fill it out again, a cascade series of anxious thoughts wash over the chapter. Viktor nervously considers every detail of his life, each relationship, and every extended family member living abroad.