The book comes to a very Russian ending with those who are dead almost being in a better position than those who are left behind to suffer on. The voices in the narrative switch back and forth between Lev and Glebov and in the end the narrator is unnamed because life has changed for everyone and although you know it is Glebov it isn’t the same Glebov from the previous 150 pages.
Highlights from pages 134 – 153
After the fateful meeting the narrative is picked up by Lev who is helping defend Moscow against the German bombs and ends up in Sonya’s flat where Glebov is saying his farewells. Lev no longer cares for anyone having gone through the baptism of fire that is the war and views the people in the house on the embankment as relics of his childhood. Glebov seems to fudge reality and cannot remember if he did or did not denounce Sonya’s father but the mother hates him and in the end Sonya ends up going into an asylum and going mad and dying. Glebov finally catches up with Sonya’s father and together they go to visit the grave and Lev is the man on the gate who lets them in and then as they all head back to Moscow city centre he wistfully looks up at the house on the embankment and wonders if he can ever return from his shattered adult life to the situation he was in when he was a child.
This is a book as much about the choices people are faced with as children and young adults and how they can shape their future and acts as a powerful metaphor for the Russian system
A review will follow in the next couple of days…