This refers to a love affair that burgeons in the grimness of Stalingrad, and I like how Grossman expands the spectrum to show that love can happen in the worst places, full of ‘noise, stench and rubble’.  The photo by Angela Compagnone seemed the perfect backdrop for the quotation.

‘If the story of Daphnis and Chloe still touches people’s hearts, it is not simply because their love was born in the shade of vines and under a blue sky.  That story is repeated everywhere – in a stuffy basement smelling of fried cod, in a concentration-camp bunker, to the click of the accountant’s abacus, in the dust-laden air of a cotton mill.   And now the story was being played out again to the accompaniment of the howl of dive-bombers – in a building where people nourished their filthy sweat-encrusted bodies on rotten potatoes and water from an ancient boiler, where instead of honey and dream-filled silence there was only noise, stench and rubble.’  Source: Life and Fate, Vasily Grossman; trans. Robert Chandler (New York: New York Review Books, 2006 (1985)), p. 261

Photo credit: Angela Compagnone at


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