One, Chapters 1, 2, 3,
4, 5, 6,
7, 8, 9,
10, 11, 12,
13, 14, 15,
Two, Chapters 1, 2, 3,
4, 5, 6,
7, 8, 9,
10, 11, 12,
13, 14, 15,
The Argounova family is traveling by rail to Petrograd
(formerly Petersberg and later Leningrad)
in 1922. The family consists of Alexander Dimitrievitch Argounov,
the former owner of a textile factory, his wife Galina Petrovna
and their two daughters Lydia,
28, and Kira (based on Ayn Rand), 18. The Russian Revolution of
five years ago, which deprived the Argounov family of its assets
has also played havoc on the city which is now poverty-stricken
In Petrograd, on their way
to their relatives’ home, Kira gets the attention of men and smiles
at a handsome soldier at the station who notices that she “wore
a light suit and no brassier [p.22].”
They visit the house of Vasili Ivanovitch Dunaev,
formerly the furrier to the Czar, who is married to Galina’s sister
Maria Petrovna and has a grown-up son Victor and two daughters,
Irina, 18, and Acia, 8. When Victor’s eyes meet Kira she turns
in her chair, and his eyes stop on her legs. When Lydia
protests that Kira is wearing too short a skirt, she replies,
“I never notice what I wear [p.30].”
Vasili, who is sure that European intervention will
reverse the Revolution, finds it beneath his dignity to work for
the “Red State”
(the Soviet Russia) and therefore the family is living on the
scant rations. Irina is studying drawing and Kira surprises her
family be revealing that she had been planning to study engineering
since she was ten. “It’s the only profession for which I don’t
have to learn any lies,” she says. “Steel is steel [p.33].”
Kira acquires a “Labor Book”. With each entry filled
by the official, we are told a little more about her, for instance,
“Height: Medium” is followed by a narrative about her body which was
“slender, too slender, and when she moved with a sharp, swift,
geometrical precision, people were conscious of the movement alone,
not of the body. Yet through any garment she wore, the unseen
presence of her body made her look undressed… [p.35]”
is followed by a narrative about how she was different. For instance,
once in the days of the Czar when Galina took her daughters to
see a sad play, “Lydia sobbed over the plight of the humble, kindly
peasants cringing under a whip, while Kira sat tense, erect, eyes
dark in ecstasy, watching the whip cracking expertly in the hand
of a tall, young overseer .”
Student” leads us to learning that “from
somewhere in the aristocratic Middle Ages, Kira had inherited
the conviction that labor and effort were ignoble [p.41].”
The Argounovs find a dingy apartment. Alexander has
opened a textile store and Kira has been admitted to the Technological
One evening, when she goes out with her cousin Victor,
he makes an advance towards her, whispering and pleading. He is
rebuffed and insists on going back alone.
She looses her way and finds herself in the red light
district where a tall and handsome man mistakes him for a prostitute.
She plays the role until they reach a park where, upon learning
that she is “a respectable little girl [p.56],” the young man
says that he has never had a prostitute either, and promises to
meet her again in a month’s time at the same place. His name is
Leo and it is obvious that he is running away from the G.P.U.,
the Soviet police.
Alexander is being charged exorbitantly for the maintenance
of the Argounova apartment because he comes under the category
of “private trader.”
At the Technical Institute, Kira meets many new people
including Comrade Sonia and Pavel Syerov, both belonging to the
At the election of the Students’ Council she finds
her cousin Victor being praised for converting to Bolshevism and
getting elected. She doesn’t vote for him. Listening to the Soviet
anthem “Internationale,” she comments to her neighbor that she
likes its music but not the word. A man with gray eyes “that looked
like the eyes of a tamed tiger [p.65]” grasps her hand, wheels
her around and warns her to be careful.
Later, at the home of the Dunaev family, she learns
that Vasili has kept a large amount of the currency of the Czar’s
days (now forbidden) so that he could return an old debt to a
Swedish firm when the Soviet
State is finished.
She is also introduced to Vava Milovskaia, a female acquaintance
On her way to the Institute one morning, she meets
“the tamed tiger” again, who “quickly, masterfully [p.71]” grasps
her arm and stops her from falling when her feet slip. After he
is gone, she learns that he is from the G.P.U.
Kira meets Leo for a second time, and he promises
to see her again at the same place a month later.
At the Alexandrovsky Market, where she has come to
buy a used briefcase, she finds her uncle Vasili selling his antique
clock and when a customer offers fifty million rubles for it (not
enough for buying ten pounds of bread), Kira suddenly pretends
that she’s also a customer and has offered sixty million, at which
the customer quickly agrees to pay seventy-five. “Why, child,
where did you learn that? [p.77]” Her uncle asks her after the
customer is gone, and she laughs, saying, “One can learn anything—in
an emergency [p.77].”
One day she finds “the tamed tiger” at the Institute
and accepts his offer to escort her home. His name is Andrei Taganov
and when he takes her arm she gives him permission by closing
her eyes and nodding. They discuss their views about life and
she whispers, “Comrade Taganov, how much you have to learn! [p.80]”
Alexander’s textile store fails due to excessive taxes.
A former bookkeeper offers to sell soap for him if he could manufacture
it at home.
At the Institute, Sonia advises Kira not to hope that
Andrei would get physical with her, adding that she is saying
it as “one who knows. [p.85]” When Kira is shocked at this remark, Sonia laughs and says, “Oh,
a little proletarian vulgarity won’t hurt you! [p.85]”
Galina and Lydia
are shocked when they hear that Kira is going to opera with a
Communist but Galina tries to act proletarian when Andrei arrives
to pick his date. At the opera they meet Sonia and Pavel. After
returning home, Kira remembers regretfully that Andrei “had said
nothing about her new dress [p.89].”
Once, as she is coming out of the Institute, Leo suddenly
meets her, saying that he couldn’t stay away from her and “his
kiss felt like a wound [p.91].” He says that he loves her and
she replies, “Leo, I love you…I love you… I love you… [p.91]”
He says he’ll meet her again after a week at their old place,
At the Institute the next day, Pavel interrogates
Kira about Leo and doesn’t accept her reply that she doesn’t know
him. The interrogation is cut short by the sudden appearance of
Andrei, who dismisses Kira.
We learn that Andrei was born in 1896, his father
was a factory worker in the days of the Czar and was sent to Siberia
for participating in Bolshevik conspiracy in 1905. He never came
back and Andrei grew up to become a revolutionary himself, risking
his life in the revolutions of 1917 and in subsequent battles.
Pavel was his childhood friend, a partner in most of these expeditions
and a born opportunist.
The soap doesn’t sell and Galina finds a patron who
sells saccharine. Argounova family finds employment by filling
crystals in glass tubes and tablets in card boxes at home.
Maria is visiting them and Alexander is away when
Andrei pays a visit to see Kira alone. They go to the bedroom,
where Andrei tells her that she doesn’t need to worry about Pavel.
Kira tells her that she doesn’t believe in souls but if they existed,
the souls of Kira and Andrei would have had the same roots. She
is an atheist because God “is one’s highest conception of the
highest possible. And whoever places his highest conception above
his own possibility thinks very little of himself and his life
When she meets Leo, he tells her that he is going
away to Germany
for good. Kira runs away with him, and on the boat she starts
stripping at his command, “as if his eyes were holding her on
a leash… She did not think of the code of her parents’ world.
But that code came back once, for an instant, when she saw her
skirt on the floor [pp.112-13].” Then Leo tears her off the ground
and has sex with her (it is her first time), “her lips parted
as in a snarl [p.113].”
“When Kira awakened, Leo’s head was resting on her
one breast; a sailor was looking at the other [p.113].” They are
caught by a G.P.U. official, Stepan Timoshenko, who lets Kira
go home but asks her to meet him in the afternoon. She learns
that Leo’s surname is Kovalensky, returns home and tells her family
that she was at Irina’s and didn’t notice the time until it was
too late to return.
She later meets Timoshenko at the Petrograd Headquarters
of the G.P.U. and learns that Leo’s father was a decorated officer
who lost both eyes in military service during the Great War but
was later shot by the Soviets for giving shelter to counter-revolutionaries.
Since Timoshenko once served under him, he is now willing to bail
out Leo and advises Kira, “When you get him back, keep your claws
on him. If you haven’t any—grow some [p.118].”
On the fourth day, Leo comes straight to Kira’s home
where “His glance brought a warm, wistful smile to Lydia’s lips;
it always did that to women; yet there was nothing in his eyes
except that when he glanced at a woman his eyes told her that
he was a man and she was a woman and he remembered it [p.120].”
He takes Kira away “with the gesture of an owner [p.120]” and
in the silver and gray bedroom of Leo’s apartment, they make love
again—“he threw her across the bed [p.121].”
In the morning, Kira goes back to her family and tells
them, “Certainly, I’ve slept with him [p.121].” She gets thrown
out and takes her things to Leo’s apartment, who holds her while
“she looked up into his face and felt as if she were a priestess,
her soul lost in the corners of a god’s arrogant mouth; as if
she were a priestess and a sacrificial offering, both and beyond
both, shameless in her laughter, choking, something rising within
her, too hard to bear [p.123].”
When Leo reminds her of the hard times they are facing,
she says, “We’ll fight it, Leo. Together. We’ll fight all of it.
The country. The century. The millions [p.123].”
Kira tells Leo that he shouldn’t look at her while
she is cooking (apparently due to her feudal pride) but happily
takes care of the house. He studies history and philosophy at
the University and does some translation work for Gossizdat (the
State Publishing House). Her mother was a countess of an ancient
name and he grew up as a dexterous playboy who could quote Spinoza
and Nietzsche to male friends and Oscar Wilde to women. His reaction
to the Revolution had been “a slow, contemptuous smile, and a
swift gait, and in his hand a lost whip he had been born to carry
Kira resumes her relations with the Dunaev family,
and her cousin Irina upon visiting their home draws a nude drawing
of Leo from imagination. “That’s the sate that fits you best,”
she says. “Clothes hide nothing from a—well, yes, an artist [p.132].”
Kira makes exceptions for Andrei (“Communists awakened
fear in her, a fear of her own degradation if she associated,
talked or even looked at them [p.132]”) but she smiles timidly
and trustingly at Andrei, saying that she’s happy. He smiles warmly
but doesn’t ask why she’s happy and she doesn’t tell. She knows
that he won’t find out since he doesn’t call at her home, thinking
it would make her family uneasy. He takes her to watch Tchaikovsky’s
ballet Sleeping Beauty.
On returning home she asks Leo, “Have you been lonely? [p.135]”
And “his warm lips gathered the cold spring rain off hers [p.135].”
It is spring 1923.
When Kira learns from Irina that the Argounova family
is starving, she sends them her ration of bread. Irina doesn’t
follow her instruction not to tell them that it’s from Kira, and
the estrangement between Kira and her family comes to an end.
Looking for illegal bread at a railway station, Kira
and Leo spot an ugly-looking “speculator” (supplier of illegal
commodities) with vertical nostrils, who turns in an innocent
woman to the G.P.U. in order to save his own skin.
Victor’s female friend Vava throws in a party, since
her father is a gynecologist who makes extra money through illegal
uses of his profession. Kira invites Andrei to the party without
telling him that he would be paired with Lydia, although she tells
him that Leo Kovalensky would be there as well—“she was a little
tired of the deception, a little bewildered that it had gone so
At the party, Leo and Andrei don’t get along very
plays the piano, the guests dance, and Vava and Kira take turns
in teaching Andrei to dance. Vava regrets that he isn’t interested
in her while Kira presses “her head to his breast [p.146]” and
her eyes flash up at him “one swift glance, like a spark [p.146]”.
He feels her slender body and looks down her cleavage but doesn’t
look down again. A particularly confused guest at the party is
Kolya Smiatkin, vice-secretary of a club library without any pay.
In the late hours, when mattresses are brought for
guests to sleep discreetly, Andrei takes Kira away to the balcony
and she says she’s angry at him because this is the second time
he hasn’t noticed her best dress. Leo takes her back to the drawing
room and draws her down on the mattress by his side.
In the summer, Leo and Kira visit the country. Galina
takes up a job to teach sewing at a school for workers’ children.
Next year, by the orders of the “Gilotdel”, Leo and Kira have
to give away one of three rooms of their apartment to a new tenant,
a meek, elderly little man. Then Leo gets fired from his job at
the Gossizdat when he refuses to do voluntary work. He can’t find
Leo and Kira do some manual labor when they can find
it. On another occasion they go to watch an American movie and
find it badly interpolated by the censors.
Victor visits them unexpectedly. Later, Marina (or
Marisha) Lavrova, a female member of the Communist Union of Youth
(the Komsomol) arrives with an order for them from the Glotdel
to give her the drawing room. This leaves them only with one room,
the silver and gray bedroom, so they take the matters to the authorities
but don’t succeed.
Marisha regularly receives male visitors, including
Victor (obviously his unexpected visit had been for the purpose
of finding out if Leo and Kira have a spare room). Soon, Marisha
gets pregnant by one of her friends and asks Kira, “Citizen Argounova,
what do you use to keep from having children? [p.172]” She is
asking what should be done, and Kira says she doesn’t know. Marisha
gets an abortion and asks Kira not to tell Victor. Both Marisha
and Vava are running after him.
One night, Acia makes an emergency phone call to Kira.
Upon reaching the Dunaev home, Kira finds Maria in throes of death,
her eyes “wide with a horror beyond all human dignity [p.177].”
She dies after howling for help.
Kira goes out to have tea with Andrei and says, “You
may claim the right to kill, as all fighters do. But no one before
you has ever thought of forbidding life to those still living.
[p.178]” Andrei panics upon noticing that she has been starving,
orders her plenty of food, gets her a small job and presses a
roll of bills into her hand which she accepts because Leo needs
Kira has a busy routine as she starts working at the
“House of Peasants” but she is reported on the Wall Newspaper
as “lacking in social spirit [pp.185-6].” At the office, a young
girl Tina relates how one of her lovers came upon her while another
one was already in her room in his underwear and she got away
by coming up with a clever excuse.
At a delegation of the British Trade Unions, Kira
envies the glittering legs of a female delegate and suddenly wants
to be carried away to her world, “which was now here, close, within
hearing of a cry for help [p.190].” At night she has to attend
the meeting of the Marxist Club. When she returns home, Leo puts
his arms around her and whispers, “Oh, yes, yes, Kira. Tonight.
Please! [p.195]” Despite the comfort of his embrace she is suddenly
seized with “revulsion for his soft, hungry lips, because something
in her, or of her, or around her was too unworthy of him [p.196].”
On a Sunday evening, after saving money for many months,
they go to Bejadere, a
comic European operetta and Kira cries at seeing this view of
happy life abroad.
As a result of the “Purge”, Kira and Leo get expelled
from the Institute and the University respectively. Irina also
gets expelled but Victor saves himself by joining the Communist
Party. Kira goes to the country with Andrei—“He caught her and
they rolled down together, a whirl of legs, arms and mud… [p.206]”
Vava finds Victor with Marisha in a compromising position
in the apartment. Later, she is herself found in the arms of Leo,
“their lips locked together [p.208].” Vava leaves when Kira surprises
them, Kira doesn’t get angry because Leo had received a bad medical
report earlier that day, and it turns out that he has incipient
Despite her best effort, Kira fails to provide for
Leo’s admission to a sanatorium. Andrei is also voiding him for
some unknown reason, and in her desperation she tries to attract
a wealthy customer around the street but he finds her demand too
high: “For one night? Why, your sisters don’t make that in a whole
One of Petrograd’s most powerful
officials tells her, “One hundred thousand workers died in the
civil war. Why—in the face of the Union of Soviet Republic—can’t
one aristocrat die? [p.216]”
Kira makes up a new logic. “Because: On a sack of
flour in the basement, a man tore a woman’s pants off, and bit
into her throat, and they rolled, moaning, over the sacks of flour
and potatoes…[p.217]” [and other such things…] “—Leo Kovalensky
was sentenced to death [p.217].”
Kira goes to Andrei’s home—a modest house on a modest
street. He tells her that he was avoiding her since he realized
that he was in love with her. In order to get money from him for
the treatment of Leo, she feigns that she has also been in love
with him, “and she felt his hands and his mouth, and she wondered
whether this was joy or torture to him and how strong his arms
She tells Leo that she has received money from an
uncle and sends him away to a sanatorium in Crimea.
After a short history of Petrograd, city which was
not born but created—with the power of whip (“An implacable emperor
commanded into being the city and the ground under the city [p.226])”—we
find Andrei in the abandoned wing of a palace which the Party
couldn’t use (he is economizing) and Kira lets him make love to
her in a room which has a painting of Leda and the swan. Leo is
coming back tonight (Andrei still doesn’t know about Kira’s relationship).
Train from the Crimea is late, Kira kills time at
Irina’s place, where Victor gives a hint about the gossips going
around about her in the Party circles, and Irina is found taking
interest in Sasha Chernov, apparently a counter-revolutionary.
Kira has found the job of lecturer and excursion guide
in the Museum of the Revolution, where she is called when needed.
Leo returns with a healthy body but weak spirits, referring to
himself as a gigolo and Kira tries to cheer him up, “Her head
slid slowly to his breast, to his knees, to his feet [p.249].”
Leo is visited by Antonina Pavlovna, a loud woman
of cheap tastes, who had been his neighbor at the sanatorium.
She is interested in Ancient Egypt, theosophy, mysticism and political
economy, and says, “You men are strange creatures. To understand
you is a whole science in itself and the first duty of every real
woman [p.253].” She reassures Kira that she hasn’t been physical
with Leo but after she leaves, Kira protests, “Nothing of that
type should even look at you [p.255].”
Kira’s family pays a visit just when Kira was sneaking
out to meet Andrei, telling Leo that she had promised to visit
her family! She handles the situation, and Galina is found to
have adapted to the Revolution very well.
When Kira is finally able to meet Andrei, she asks
him to take her to the expensive restaurant at the roof of the
European Hotel. She tries to throw some cold water on him by saying,
“Andrei, when you told me you loved me, for the first time, you
were hungry. I wanted to satisfy that hunger [p.265].” He laughs
and says that women like her don’t love “only” like that, they are “What temples are, and military marches,
Antonina Pavlovna has brought her friend Karp Karpovitch
Morozov, the ugly man with vertical nostrils (see Chapter 12),
who has now risen to be a wealthy smuggler from a mere speculator.
When Kira arrives home, she finds Leo accepting an offer to open
a store in his name with Morozov’s money to serve as a distribution
point for smuggled goods. Kira fails to prevent Leo, and later
Morozov meets his partner, Pavel, to tell him that the deal is
Pavel gets drunk in a party which rather looks like
a communal sex gala and gets laid by Sonia.
Leo has become extravagant since he opened the shop.
Victor is marrying Marisha because her poor father Glieb Ilyitch
Lavrov is a veteran of the revolution and she because Victor is
from the gentry, and when at their wedding party Andrei sees Kira
with Leo he is still unable to guess their relationship but suggests
that she should stay away from Leo.
Lavrov voices his disenchantment with the revolution,
Leo gets drunk and Andrei offers to drop Kira, stopping at his
place on the way apparently for having sex. Later that night,
Kira makes love to Leo as well, “pressing his face, white as marble,
to the black velvet of her dress.” [p.294]
Victor is treating Marisha badly, while Irina is engaged
to Sasha—“Irina stood by the window, in Sasha’s arms, his lips
on hers [p.298].” Vava has married Kolya and been disowned by
her father for that reason. She is now living in poor circumstances.
Sonia gets pregnant and forces Pavel to marry her.
Timoshenko pays a visit to Andrei and voices his dissatisfaction
with the revolution.
Kira is fascinated by an under-construction building
and when she returns home, Leo makes love to her with “a contemptuous
tenderness [p.312]”—just as she wants, not like a lover but like
“a slave owner” [p.312].
Sasha’s gang of counter-revolutionaries is busted
and he takes refuge at Irina’s place while Galina is away to sell
her old wedding robe to her daughter. Later, Kira visits Andrei,
who sits at her feet, his face “buried in her knees [p.319].”
With his lips in her hand he whispers that she is his “highest
Marisha guesses Sasha’s presence in Irina’s bedroom
but remains sympathetic. Victor gets a clue and reports it to
Irina, Sasha and Vasili are arrested. Vasili is released
in three days but Irina and Sasha are sentenced to ten years in
Siberia, from where their chances of returning
alive are next to none. She asks as her last wish to get married
to Sasha, and Vasili tries to get them assigned to the same place
in Siberia but fails. On Kira’s request,
Andrei tries too, but his G.P.U. superior taunts him about keeping
an aristocratic mistress and refuses. Leo tries to persuade Pavel
but is rebuffed. Victor forbids Marisha to use her connections
in this regards and refuses his father when approached by him.
Vasili leaves the house, taking little Acia with him.
Kira meets Irina for the last time in prison. After
that, Irina and Sasha are sent away.
Victor gets a big job on a hydroelectric project in
the Volkhovstroy and seldom sees Marisha, who tries to kill time
with her parents in their room in Leo’s apartment.
Andrei proposes to Kira and also suggests that they
go abroad for good. She likes the idea of going abroad but cannot
marry Andrei and forbids him to ask why. He complies and then
proceed to make love by the fire: “He was bending her backward,
so that the locks of her hair, tumbling down, looked red in the
glow of the fire… [p.344]”
Morozov calls him after she returns and she goes to
his place to find Leo drunk in the company of Antonina after they
both had stolen and spent the money Morozov had kept aside for
an urgent payment to Pavol. She brings him back with some difficulty
and he promises to save money for going abroad. His “arrogant
smile [p.350]” leads Kira to bury her head on his shoulder, saying,
Morozov is avoiding Pavel who is desperate for his
money, so Pavel goes to his apartment and when he doesn’t find
an answer, he writes a threatening note and slides it under the
door. Morozov goes to the roof of the European Hotel to collect
money from acquaintances and succeeds in that but he is spotted
by Timoshenko who makes him stay and listen to his endless outburst
against the revolution he had once supported. Pavel’s letter slips
when Morozov tries to take out a handkerchief and it is picked
up by Timoshenko who quickly understands the secret. The next
morning, Morozov reads in the newspaper about the suicide of Timoshenko
and also that no paper except his Party card were found on his
body. He is relieved but we find that before taking his life,
Timoshenko had sent the letter to Andrei with a note.
Andrei completes his investigations and meets Kira.
The night before with Leo had been “a night such as her first
one in the gray and silver room she had shared with Leo for over
three years [p.365].” For that reason she avoids sex with Andrei
on this occasion as it “seemed a sacrilege because she did desire
it and did not wish to desire it tonight [p.366].”
She asks Andrei to take her to a motion picture, and
afterwards he tells her to stay away form Leo, since he has a
case against him. She begs him to drop this case but is too terrified
to tell him what Leo means to her. Afterwards, she informs Leo
and he quickly removes all illegal stuff from his store.
Authorities plan to make a well-publicized affair
of Leo’s trial but to burry the evidence against Pavel and Morozov,
both of whom are employees of the State. When Andrei comes to
arrest Leo, he recognizes Kira’s dresses in the wardrobe and asks
Leo whose were they. “My mistress’s [p.381],” Leo answers. Kira
arrives, “and it was not a woman’s voice, it was not a female’s
voice, it was the ferocious howl of an animal in mortal agony
[p.382]”. Leo kisses her before being taken away by Andrei—“It
was a long kiss [p.383].”
Kira visits Andrei while he is sitting on a box near
the fireplace in his apartment, and tells him that she won’t let
him keep his memories. “Well, look at me! I’m only a whore and
you’re the one who made the first payment! [p.385]” After making
a long speech in which she tells him that he meant nothing to
him except the money she received from him, she suddenly stops
on the phrase “my highest reverence” and says, “Oh, Andrei, Andrei,
what have I done to you?” He is feeling sufficiently guilty to
promise her that he’ll see to it that no harm comes to Leo and
then he makes a speech against the proletariat that night.
Andrei tells Pavel that two camera copies of the letter
he wrote to Morozov (which was sent to Andrei by Timoshenko) are
safe with his friends and they will be sent to Moscow
unless Pavel uses his Party connections for getting Leo acquitted.
The trick works, and Leo returns. Andrei also visits the couple
and tells them that there are no photostats of Pavel’s letter
but he doesn’t know that, and in case something happens to Andrei
they can still use this bluff to protect themselves—“A truck thundered
in the street below and the window panes trembled in the silence
[p.404].” Leo is ungrateful and says, “Do you think Lazarus was
grateful when Christ brought him back from the gave—if He did?
No more than I am to you, I think [p.404].”
Andrei is transferred from the G.P.U. to the job of
librarian in the suburb Lesnoe. Instead of going there, he burns
the relics of Kira, including a black chiffon nightgown, which
shudders in fire, “and a corner of the hem curled up, and a thin
blue flame shot out of a fold at the neckline [p.410].” Then Andrei
Andrei’s funeral procession is grand, and he is laid
to rest in the Field of Victims of the Revolution in Petrograd:
“Glory Eternal to the Victims of the Revolution / Andrei Taganov
/ 1896-1925 [p.421]” Kira has attended the funeral: “She wondered
whether she had killed him, or the revolution had, or both [p.421].”
When Kira returns, Leo looks down at her “with the
arrogantly contemptuous look she worshipped [p.422]” and says,
“You little bitch [p.422]!” Pavel has told him about Kira and
Andrei and he now asks her if she had been Andrei’s mistress.
She admits. “All the time I was away? [p.422]” “Yes .” “And
all the time since I came back? [p.422]” “Yes… [p.422]”
Even before knowing about Kira and Andrei, Leo had
agreed to Antonina’s offer of going away with her as a lover,
since she was willing to pay. He now informs Kira: “She has the
money and she wants me. Just a business deal [p.424].”
After moving out to her parents’ home, Kira applies
for a passport to traveling abroad. Leo sees her one last time
before he leaves. When her request for passport is refused, she
starts planning for an escape through the Latvian borders. She
also meets Vaisli, who is selling saccharine after leaving Victor.
Hoping that her mother’s white wedding gown will prevent
her from being detected on the white snow at night, Kira tries
to escape. Ivan Ivanov, a guard at the border, suspects a rat
and fires. She is hit. Then “she smiled, her last smile, to so
much that had been possible [p.446].”