In this vivid story set in war time Russia, a Communist officer is billeted in a humble household to give birth to her baby. Here, the ancient grandmother of the house crams herself in to the tiny room to see the newborn, who, despite the chaos and horrors of war all around, brings a reassurance of ‘ever-victorious life’.

The story incidentally has a surprising twist and helps convey the mind-set of the ideologically driven.

‘She wanted to hear the voice of ever-victorious life.’

 

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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