There is always something tragic lurking not too far from the surface in a Russian novel and it comes out in the second chapter of this story with a useless death as people fight over imaginary sausages in a food queue.
The irony is that Tatyana dies as Ivan is waiting for her to come home and see him on the television talking about his role in the battle of Stalingrad and it is partly because she uses her veteran pass that the others in the shop show her no sympathy.
The occasion of the funeral brings home the hero’s daughter who is almost through with her translation course in French and English and after being caught sleeping with a French athlete during the 1980 Moscow Olympics is being used by the KGB. She doesn’t seem to mind as it looks like she is going to be offered a comfortable job working on behalf of the secret police.
She seems disconnected from her widowed father who she sees as an old man who is now left alone with memories continuing a life his daughter views largely as a average sad existence.