You can just tell that this is going to be one those books that is relatively easy to read. Compared to the Mailer, which as the post this evening will show slides into dark areas, is it a pleasurable alternative to read the Makine.
The hero Ivan is informed that the nurse who saved his life and he had promised to marry has been seriously wounded and is in hospital. He goes to visit Tatyana and she has been hit by shrapnel and lost three fingers. She has been told that she can never exert herself and have children. Ivan considers leaving her but his heart rules his head and he takes her back to his village, marries her and then goes through starvation with her and buries a son that dies before they pack up and head for the Moscow suburbs.
There the hero status manages to hold an attraction even after Stalin has died and the interest has moved onto what is happening in space and Cuba. The old veteran starts to forget the details of the war. Meanwhile he has a daughter and his wife continues to defy medical advice and puts pressure on her old war wound.