Life and Fate Read Along, Part 3 Chapter 23

Life and Fate Read Along, Part 3 Chapter 23
Photo by Dmitry Ant / Unsplash

This post, covering Part 3, Chapter 23 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.

Yevgenia has finally fulfilled her promise to Novikov: ‘If anything is to happen to Krymov, I will return to him.’ 

Now she rides a trolley for 24 Kuznetsky Most — the Lyubyanka — feeling like an alien in her own city. This war, this country, this whole era has collapsed the dreams of its artists, its commissars, its young people. Those who are left hold on to what they can. 

“Her old fate,” she thinks, “was now her new fate. What had seemed lost for ever had become her future.” (p. 682)

Inside the visitor’s area, Yevgenia finds many people in similarly Byzantine situations. A woman visits to deliver a parcel for her husband, whom she is told is working hard. On her next visit, the same clerk tells her that her husband has been dead since 1939.