Life and Fate Read Along, Part 3 Chapter 13

Life and Fate Read Along, Part 3 Chapter 13
Photo by Patrick Fore / Unsplash

This post, covering Part 3, 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.

As the tanker crews drink to celebrate the encirclement, Novikov receives this update amid a spirit of general camaraderie. The men hug and kiss, and Getmanov expresses his admiration for Novikov’s iron will. 

Then, that night, Getmanov writes up a report detailing this very delay. We are not made privy to its contents — but, given Getmanov’s history, readers will certainly make an assumption. 

Whether or not that assumption is correct is, for the moment, immaterial. Rather this scene demonstrates again the particular mindset of a party apparatchik, or at least the mindset needed to be successful within this bureaucracy. 

Novikov certainly has his complaints about his soldiers’ failures. We can understand through his personal history, though, that these failures are not going to result in court martials. Perhaps his comments will remain just that, perhaps they will affect training, or perhaps Novikov will simply yell at them later.