Life and Fate Read Along, Part 3 Chapter 25

Life and Fate Read Along, Part 3 Chapter 25
Photo by Hassan Pasha / Unsplash

This post, covering Part 3, Chapter 25 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.

It is rare for any characters in Life and Fate to spend much time with family. So Yevgenia’s arrival in Moscow is a rare treat for her sister’s family (as well as for the reader, getting one of our few chances to see Grossman’s skill in writing family interactions). 

The day after her arrival, she, Viktor, and Lyudmila sit down to play chess. This chapter is characterized by Viktor’s philosophical musings — first to Lyudmila and Yevgenia, but later to Marya Ivanovna (Sokolov’s wife whom Viktor is hopelessly infatuated with) once she arrives to speak with Lyudmila. 

We could tease each of his points apart, but I think that would actually distract from one of the most interesting elements of this chapter: Yevgenia’s outside perspective. 

Viktor philosophizing, Lyudmila not taking him seriously, and then him nursing hurt over that is a cycle that happens repeatedly. The pair know each other so well that they have also become incurious about the other. This long-time intimacy has, paradoxically, made them somewhat blind to each other.