“Vanya the Child”

On p. 84, the narrator learns that the eighteen-year-old’s parents have so far managed to keep her safe from Russian soldiers: they put her in the ceiling, and no one has so far discovered her. So she stays up there all day, “equipped with bedclothes, a chamber pot, and some eau de cologne.” PHEW! She was the one self was most worried about, from Day One of the Occupation.

Another woman, a 50-year-old widow, was taken on the first night of the occupation by a sixteen-year-old — “inexperienced,” with a slender, hairless body, who after that follows the widow around like a puppy, bringing her tea and extra food, and swearing to stand guard over her and protect her to the end of his days. This boy shows up every day to stand sentry over the widow, “machine gun at the ready” with “the look of a loyal dog.” The narrator has a nickname for him: “Vanya the Child.”

Self wonders if it’s the dry, ironic wit of the narrator — intact even after the nightmare — that led a German critic (male, of course) to denounce her outrageous “immorality”!

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

2 responses to ““Vanya the Child””

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: