Life and Fate Read Along, Part 2 Chapter 6

Life and Fate Read Along, Part 2 Chapter 6
Photo by Roman Mager / Unsplash

This post, covering Part 2, Chapter 6 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.

And so, Viktor’s spark of inspiration takes, growing into the flames of a functional theory. It consumes his mind enough that the narrator tells us he begins to mirror Lyudmila, present but not truly participating in family life. 

There is a beautiful moment when, finally, months and months of experimental and theoretical failure metamorphosizes into a coherent theory. But this theory is not only drawn from his work — it’s also drawn from unrelated experiences, thoughts, and feelings. 

“[I]t had arisen,” the narrator tells us, “from the depths where there are no mathematics, no physics, no laboratory data, no experience of life, no consciousness, only the inflammable peat of the subconscious …” (p. 349)

Much like a human being, a theory of such potency cannot be understood simply. And so the narrator emphasizes the connections to other sciences and even seemingly unrelated phenomena.