This mammoth book comes to an end and the reader is left mentally tying up the lose ends with the point having been well and truly made that the characters lives are in the hands of fate. In a book that is more about the personal battle an individual has with the state rather than the battle with the Germans this is not the book that you might initially expect.
A full review will follow by the weekend but it’s fair to say that the ambition here is as strong as Tolstoy’s to get down on paper the thoughts, hopes and fears of a generation at one particular time in Soviet history. The fact he manages to pull it off is not just down to style but because there is an anger and a determination to tell the truth that is on every single page.
Bullet points between 806 – 855
* Kyrmov receives his parcel from his ex-wife and it becomes clear that he has not been forgotten of denounced, unlike Novikov who disappears into the system to be chewed up and interrogated
* Viktor has his comfortable world turned upside down after being asked by colleagues to sign a letter damming those who go against the system and now it is his friends who are going to be against him not his enemies
* Back in the ruined City life starts to return to normal with the workers quickly put back in their places by the bosses and the last family scenes played out by Viktor’s mother and sister-in-law remind you of the strength of the state to rule people’s lives much more than the bombs and tanks
* The book ends with a couple that are not described whispering and sharing their hopes and misery together as spring arrives and life moves on
Exhausting but well worth the read…