105 Greatest Living Authors Present the World's Best Stories, Humor, Drama, Biography, History, Essays, Poetry

By Whit Burnett | Go to book overview
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ILYA EHRENBURG

From Ilya Ehrenburg's latest novel The Storm, the editor and his publishers in New York have concurred on a representative fragment carrying through some of the war service of a Russian Commissar from Kiev, one Osip who stepped into command of a battalion upon the death of its chief officer; and related passages concerning his mother, Hannah, left behind in Kiev with his little daughter Alya, while Osip's wife, Raya, is serving on another front in the attempt to drive the invading Germans out of Russia.


The Storm

HANNAH'S WORLD

HANNAH'S WORLD resembled the world of a child; perhaps that was why she got along so well with her granddaughter. She saw events as family affairs; observation of small things and meetings with people served her instead of books. She had judged the country's development by the new houses she had seen with her own eyes, by the smiles of her acquaintances, by the work her son Osip was engaged in. If a shop assistant was rude to her, or a policeman acted stupidly, she would say to Raya: "Osip thinks they've been re-educated, but it's not so simple." She had grown up in a different world, a world of a terrible God who could not be placated even by fasts, of a terrible policeman who could seize and deport--a world of repressed hopes and daily despair. Everything was mixed up in her mind, the words of ancient prayers and Osip's phrases taken from editorials, old beliefs, omens, and talk about five-year plans. She herself did not know whether she believed in God. But she believed in Osip. For her Osip's words were the truth. That was why she had remained calm when the city tossed feverishly like a person down with typhus, when people who had tried to get out of the city came back shouting: "The Germans are near Borispol," when the windows

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105 Greatest Living Authors Present the World's Best Stories, Humor, Drama, Biography, History, Essays, Poetry
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