A donkey nabbed by the Italian army in the Second World War finds himself in Abyssinia where, from his perspective, the houses are edible. Having tasted this novel form of fodder, he is again exposed to the sickening slipperiness of a ship’s deck with the rolling blue plain all around him.

Another example of Grossman’s sensitivity to animals and his sincere wish to help us see the world through their eyes and minds.

‘The houses were edible; sometimes he ate their reed walls and grassy roofs … Then came the nausea again, and wooden ground slipping away from under his hooves, and a pale blue plain all around him.’


Source: Vasily Grossman, ‘The Road’, 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. 226

Image credits: Apollinary Vasnetsov (1856-1933), Hovels, 1883


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