Glorious moment in this splendid, human novel: an army officer camped somewhere on the steppe enjoys a moment of embracing the magnificence of the night sky even while attending to more basic needs.  I liked the naturalness and philosophic communing with the cosmos in his statement, before stepping back inside.

‘He went outside, drank in the cold night air, and gasped as he gazed at the unearthly flames in the black Asiatic sky.  He urinated, still looking at the stars, thought, ‘Yes, yes, the cosmos!’ and went back in.’

Source: Life and Fate, Vasily Grossman; trans. Robert Chandler (New York: New York Review Books, 2006 (1985)), p. 385

Photo credit: Vincentiu Solomon at


Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Pin It on Pinterest