An ideologically committed army officer expects her child to be born robust and struggle-ready, and is disappointed by his neo-natal vulnerability and apparent weediness. She soon abandons him to the care of the poor family who provided her with a room in which to give birth. She has bigger fish to fry serving the revolution.
From one of Grossman’s superb short stories in the collection The Road.
She had imagined that her baby would be large, snub-nosed, and freckled, that he would have a shock of red hair and that he would immediately be getting up to mischief, struggling to get somewhere, calling out in a piercing voice. Instead, he was as puny as an oat stalk that had grown in a cellar.
Source: Vasily Grossman, ‘In the Town of Berdichev’, The Road: Stories, Journalism, and Essays, trans. Robert and Elizabeth Chandler with Olga Mukovnikova, afterword Fyodor Guber (New York: New York Review Books, 2010), p. 25
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