Tuesday, December 11, 2018

Selected Quotations from Grossman's A Writer at War

Below are a Few Selected Quotations from Grossman's A Writer at War

We leafed through a series of the Front newspaper.  I came across the following phrase in a leading article:  "The much-battered enemy continued his cowardly advance."

A photographer remarks:  "I saw some very good refugees yesterday."

"I've got a simple soul, as simple as a balalaika.  It isn't afraid of death.  It's those with precious souls who fear death."

Green and white rockets.  Their light is mean, dishonest, not like daylight.  A ripple of shots.  People are neither seen nor heard.  It is like a riot of machines.

The shifting sense of danger.  A place seems frightening at first, but afterwards you will remember it being as safe as your Moscow apartment.

Wounded men kept arriving, they were all wet with blood and rain.

Green tomatoes are ripening on the roof, flowers amuse themselves in the garden.

An old woman says:  "Who knows whether God exists or not.  I pray to Him.  It's not a difficult job. You give Him two or three nods, and who knows, perhaps He'll accept you."

In empty izbas. Everything has been taken away, except for icons. It's so unlike Nekrasov's peasants, who would first of all save icons when there is a fire, leaving other pieces of property to burn.

He responds to the request of a divisional commander to postpone the attack because of the loss of men:  "Tell him I'll postpone it when he's the only one left."

The sky has become German.  We've seen none of our aircraft for weeks.

The landlady, a real mastodon with a husky voice, rattles, swears, hisses at children and objects...At night, in the darkness I hear someone sobbing.  "Who's that?"  The landlady replies in a husky replies in a husky whisper:  "It's me.  I've got seven children, I'm lamenting them."

Tolstoy's grave.  Roar of fighters over it, humming of explosions and the majestic calm autumn.

"Why didn't you write anything about the heroic defense of the Orel?"
"Because there was no defense."

Boginava told her that she should marry him, and threatened to shoot her.

"Ramming--that's Russian character.  It's the Soviet upbringing."

At war, a Russian man puts on a white shirt.  He may live in sin, but he dies like a saint.

One does not say now of somebody that they have been "killed," but "he has covered himself." "My friend has covered himself, he was such a great chap."

Pilots say:  "Our life is like a child's shirt--it's short and covered with shit all over."

Purely by chance, Khasin saw photographs of the dead people in a ditch and recognized his wife and children.

No comments:

Post a Comment