Monday, July 16, 2007

Life and Fate - post XI

The word ‘fate’ crops up more and more but unlike the fate the soliders talked about on the battlefields which was in the hands of the gods the fate Viktor and others are subjected to is very much down to the system.

Poor old Viktor, who remains astounded at his misfortune despite his big mouth, starts to show that in the face of a political and bureaucratic storm he has some metal and will not bow to pressure. Through his experience Grossman shows all too clearly how the state could turn on an indivudual, how friendships could unravel and how decent men and women could betray themselves in the madness of fear.

Bullet points between pages 670 - 754

* Viktor’s career at the academy is running into increasing trouble and he is expected to renounce his views and attend a meeting where he will publicly repent but he decides not to attend and stick to his guns

* The result is he feels isolated and lost but his ego continues to carry on being a feature of his personality and results in a continuing dividing line between Viktor and his wife

* Back on the front Novikov expects to get married not yet aware that his intended is hanging out at the Lubyanka trying to see her first husband Krymov who she has so fare failed to get any information about

* Things are looking really bleak for Viktor and he stops going into work and discovers that everyone but his best friend denounced him and so he resigns himself to the inevitable arrest

* Krymov’s wife finally gets the chance to send him a parcel in prison which will indicate to him that he has not been forgotten but as she comes back to Viktor’s house she hears a radio broadcast that mentions the heroics of Novikov and his tanks

* The Germans are starting to fall apart in the encircled city and those who are members of the party stick to each other mistaking fear of Russian retribution as evidence that no one will leave and desert showing how well disciplined Hitler has made his army

* Just as everything seems to be getting pitch black for Viktor the phone rings and it is Stalin himself who is on the other end telling Viktor that his work is very important and in a matter of seconds turning his life back the right way up

More tomorrow…

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