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HOUSE ON THE EMBANKMENT
On a hot and stuffy August day in 1972, the middle-aged, balding, and portly Vadim Aleksandrovich Glebov goes to a furniture store in Moscow, looking for a certain Efim, who is supposed to help him get an antique table. Searching for Efim, he approaches a drunken worker slouching in the courtyard. Glebov is surprised to recognize the worker as a friend from his youth. It takes Glebov a while, however to remember the friend's name--Levka Shulepnikov.
Glebov, assuming that Levka is somewhat down on his luck, gets ready to give him some money. Levka, morose, ignores Glebov and walks off.
That night, Glebov and his wife, Marina, are at their dacha. Glebov is worried because their daughter, Margosha, drove off in the morning on a motorcycle with a supposed artist named Tolmachev and has not yet returned. Glebov decides he must have a serious discussion with Margosha about this fellow.
Around midnight, Margosha finally returns and announces that she and Tolmachev are to be married as soon as he returns from a business trip. Glebov is not particularly pleased with this news, thinking that his daughter is exhibiting infantilism. And he is surprised to learn that Tolmachev actually has a job--salesman in a book store.
At one A.M., the telephone rings. The caller is the drunken Levka. He says he sorry he insulted Glebov earlier in the day, but he really didn't want to see him at that moment. Levka rambles on about how it took him three hours to find Glebov's phone number. Glebov asks him to call back in the morning. This irritates Levka, and the phone goes dead.
* * *
Many years ago, when Glebov was still young and healthy, he and Levka were at the institute together. Although basically a fool, Levka was thought to have a great future, primarily because of this influence of his stepfather, a man of some power and influence.
Levka was a braggart and a liar, and very popular among the girls. Once, a fellow named Smyga warned Levka to keep away from some girls. Shortly after this, Smyga showed up with his face beaten and bruised. As Levka told the story, Smyga attacked him in the bathroom, but Levka easily defeated him, even smashing a toilet with Smyga's head. At first Glebov didn't quite believe this story, but he later saw the broken toilet as evidence.
Levka claimed that during the war he was attended a secret school where he was taught to shoot and fight and engage in other secret arts. He also claimed that he was sent behind German lines to engage in various missions. Because Levka knew German poorly and was only average in his knife skills, Glebov assumed that while Levka might well have attended such a school--thanks to his stepfather's influence--he probably washed out for some reason.
Soon, the defeated Smyga became one of Levka's most devoted followers and hangers-on. This was shortly after Levka won the envy of every student by driving to class in a junky old BMW won in the war and given to Levka by his stepfather.
At the institute, Glebov held himself somewhat aloof from Levka's clique, mainly because of an innate sense of caution.
Glebov had been living in the House on the Embankment--in the modest two-story section--since he was born. His father was a chemist at a candy factory, and his mother worked as a cashier at a movie theatre. His mother's job gave Glebov some popularity at school, since he and his friends could go see movies for free.
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When Glebov was in the fifth or sixth grabe, Levka and his family arrived, moving into the fancy-schmancy section of the house. Levka made quite a stir at school, strutting around arrogantly in leather pants. The local boys decided to teach Levka a lesson by stripping him of those fancy pants. Glebov was supposed to take part in the attack, but at the last minute he chickened out and watched from a doorway as five classmates set upon Levka and wrestled him to the ground. Levka, however, shocked everyone by pulling out a pistol and firing it into the air. The attackers scattered in terror, leaving Levka and his pants intact. The pistol was actually a toy one, but the sound it made was very realistic.
The police showed up and wanted to know who his attackers were, but Levka pretended he didn't see their faces. Levka's step-father also demanded that he name names, but still Levka maintined his silence, despite being locked in a dark and cockroach-infested bathroom all night.
This incident turned Levka into a hero. One girl even wrote a poem about him.
******A popular action film--Blue Express--was playing in the theatres. Children were not allowed to see this film; but Glebov's mother would let him and his friends attend showings for free. This made Glebov very popular and he was offered all sorts of bribes by those who hoped to be invited to the showings. One girl, Dina Kalmykova, promised to kiss him if she took him to the movie. Glebov accepted the offer and got his first kiss.
Glebov's power and influence over his classmates came to a crashing end, however, when Levka invited all the kids to his apartment, in the fancy-schmansy section of the building known as the big house. When the kids arrived, Levka produced a movie projector, hung a sheet on the wall, and gave a private showing of Blue Express. Glebov felt hurt and insulted by his loss of position. He pondered the injustice of one person having absolutely everything.
Why, damn it, does one person have to have everything, absolutely everything?
Glebov was usually intimidated when visting the big house. The elevator operators always scrutinized visitors, and called up to inquire if the visitors were really wanted.
Levka's apartment was large and luxuriously furnished, with a shiny parquet floor. An in-house French tutor would tattle on Levka to his mother. Levka told the other kids that he would either poison the tutor with arsenic or rape her.
Once when visiting Levka's, Glebov was treated with cake. He was shocked when Levka's mother turned her nose up at the cake, saying it wasn't fresh. In Glebov's apartment, cake was a rare treat, and when served it was gobbled down quickly. It never entered anyone's mind that a cake could be fresh or not fresh.
Glebov's father was cautious by nature and tried to gently teach his son to always follow the rule of the tram car: never stick your neck out.. He was not too happy about Glebov's friendship with Levka and advised him to keep his distance and not visit the big house too often. Despite this antipathy to Levka, when Levka visited Glebov's apartment, Glebov's father treated him deferentially, almost like an adult. Glebov did not like this, but his father explained that it was because Levka's father was an important personage.
******A couple of bullies named Minka and Taras Bychok lived next to Glebov. Their parents were pretty arrogant and bossy, too. One day, Minka and Taras picked a fight with Levka and another friend named Anton. The bullies brought their dog, Abdul, into the fray, too. Abdul didn't bite anybody, but ripped up Levka and Anton's clothes. The next day, a man in a leather coat paid a visit to the Bychoks. There was an argument, then three shots--Abdul was dead. Soon, the whole family was moved out and replaced by quieter, gentler neighbors.
Glebov's Uncle Volodya--a nice guy with a drinking problem who's always getting blamed for things--is arrested and disappears. Glebov's mother wants to ask Levka's father for assistance. Glebov's father, fearful of the consequences, forbids it. Nonetheless, one day when the boys are at Glebov's doing algebra homework, Glebov's mother takes a little wine to screw up her courage and asks Levka to intercede with his father. Levka readily agrees and takes Uncle Volodya's name.
Later, Glebov is at Levka's playing chess. Levka's stepfather enters and invites Glebov into his office for a private conference. He says he will look into the matter of Uncle Volodya, but he wants something in return: He wants Glebov to name the instigators of the de-pantsing attack on Levka so many months ago. This puts Glebov in a tricky situation since he himself helped in the planning of this attack. Glebov reveals only part of the truth, naming two school bullies. Levka's stepfather seems satisfied and lets Glebov go. Nothing extraordinary happens to these two bullies; one moves out of Moscow with his family in connection with their work, and the other, always a bad student, flunks out of school and drifts into a life of crime.
During the war, Glebov and his mother were evacuated to Glazovo. The conditions were so harsh, Glebov almost died of hunger. His mother did die.
In 1947, back in Moscow, Glebov and Levka, young men now, meet again at the Institute they are attending. They greet each other with childish glee. Levka is wearing an expensive American jacket with lots of zippers. Levka takes Glebov to a fashionable cocktail bar, then to his new apartment. Neither Glebov nor Levka are living in the House on the Embankment any longer, and they have lost contact with all their old friends.
Levka has already been married (to an Italian) and divorced. His step-father, Shulepnikov, died in his car in a locked garage. Whether it was sabotage, suicide, or simply a heart attack, no one could say. Another big-wig named Fiveisky was put in charge of the investigation of Shulepnikov's death. Levka's mother ended up marrying this Fiveisky.
Teaching at the Institute is Professor Ganchuk, who still lives in the House on the Embankment and whose daughter, Sonya, was friends with Glebov. Glebov reintroduces himself to the Professor, who is pleased that Glebov remembers the busts of philosophers in the Professor's study.
PROLETKULT. Artistic organization advocating "pure" proletarian culture, created exclusively by and for proletarians. The Proletkult's complete rejection of all pre-Revolutionary culture was criticized by Lenin in the 1920s. Dissolved in 1932.
RAPP (Russian Association of Proletarian Writers). While turning away from the Proletkult's complete rejection of all pre-Revolutionary culture, RAPP (founded in 1925) insisted on the importance of class outlook as well as the application of dialectical-materialism in the creative process. Sloganeered for "shock workers in literatrure". Dissolved in 1932.
Glebov is invited to the Professor's for tea, and soon becomes a regular visitor. The Professor loved to expound on the literary battles--not arguments or disputes, but battles--of the 1920s and 1930s...the fellow travelers, Formalists, Proletkult, and RAPP.
Glebov's relations with Sonya are strictly on a comradely basis. Then, at a party, someone notes in passing that Sonya might like Glebov a bit. Glebov thinks about this, and decides that he can like Sonya, too.
A new stage begins in Glebov's life. He calls on the Ganchuks practically everyday--sometimes to see the Professor, sometimes to see Sonya. The Professor takes Glebov on his nightly walks during which he expounds on the theoretical errors of Lunacharsky, the vaccilations of Gorky, and the mistakes of A. Tolstoy. The Professor had met all these men personally, and while he spoke of them respectfully, there was always a hint of condescension in his voice.
The Ganchuks were friendly with another young man--Kuno "Kunik" Ivanovich, the son of an old friend of Sonya's mother. There was much hubbub in the family about an article Kunik was writing, then arguing with the editor about. Its eventual publication was greeted in the family as a great achievement.
Glebov read the article and right away saw that it was very ordinary.
Out of Kunik's presence, Glebov comments on a few inaccuracies of language in the article. Sonya's mother, Yulia Mikhailovna, flies into a rage over this. She claims that by nitpicking language, Glebov has missed the point of the article--a warning about the danger of the petit bourgeois element. (In fact, the article had nothing whatsoever to do with this.)
Yulia Mikhailovna goes on to accuse Glebov and most Soviet youth of exhibiting a resurgence of petit bourgeois attitudes. For example, she claims, Glebov has demonstrated an interest in the Ganchuks' refrigerator, has admired the fancy elevator door in the big house, and has even gone so far as to ask how many rooms they have in their dacha! Given the Ganchuks' comfortable lifestyle, it's a bit like the pot calling the kettle black, but Yulia Mikhailovna doesn't see it that way.
Making a few remarks on language does not mean that I underestimate the danger of the petit bourgeois.
Glebov doesn't take offense at this attack, realizing that Yulia Mikhailovna is probably backing Kunik as a suitor for Sonya, but that Sonya is of a different opinion.
On New Year's Eve, there is a big gathering of the young people at the Ganchuks' dacha. For the first time, Levka appears in their presence, accompanied by a beautiful woman named Stella, a dancer in the popular ensemble Beryozka. Everyone gets very drunk. Levka picks a fight with a student. A brawl breaks out. Levka is overpowered and has his nose knocked out of joint, even though Stella bravely defends him with her shoe.
The next day, after the guests have all gone, Glebov helps Sonya clean up. Sonya leaves to drop some things off at a neighbor's dacha. While she is gone, Glebov looks around at the dacha and for the first time realizes that all this could be his someday.
Sonya returns, looking beautiful with the snow on her eyelashes. Glebov kisses her, confessing his passion for her. She surrenders to him, and they make love. Glebov feels that her body is now his, just like all the property in the dacha.
The following morning, Sonya's parents arrive. Sonya and Glebov act like nothing's happened between them. The Professor is in a bad mood. While he was away on a working trip, a colleague at the Institute, Boris Astrug, a lecturer on Dostoevsky, was subjected to all sorts of criticism and given the boot. The Professor thinks the criticism of his former student was all nonsense and vows to delve into the matter when he gets back to work. Yulia Mikhailovna, however, is not ready to defend Astrug, thinking that there must the something wrong with him. If nothing else, she thinks Astrug--and especially his wife--are guilty of putting on airs, trying to make themselves seem important.
The time nears for Glebov to finish is dissertation. An official named Druzyaev invites Glebov in for a meeting. Also present is Yuri Sergeevich Shireiko, the lecturer who replaced Astrug. After some seemingly innocent banter, Druzyaev gets to the point: Professor Ganchuk and his wife, Yulia Mikhailovna, are both department heads at the Institute; Ganchuk intends to oversee Glebov's diploma work; and Glebov is on the verge of joining Ganchuk's family. There is nothing wrong with any of this, Druzyav says, but taken together, it sems a bit strange.
Druzyaev goes on to say that Professor Ganchuk has been getting hard to deal with recently, viewing himself beyond criticism. Ganchuk even refuses to speak to old comrades.
Druzyaev asks Glebov to--calmly and in a family way--explain the situation to Ganchuk and get Ganchuk to reassign some other faculty member to oversee Glebov's work. It's just for the sake of appearances, Druzyaev says. Glebov readily agrees.
Also, as if asking an innocent question, merely testing Glebov's ability to paint a word picture, Druzyaev asks Glebov to describe Ganchuk's study--the books on the shelves, the pictures on the wall. Glebov purposely decides not to mention some books and photos--for example a photo of Ganchuk together with Demyan Bedny as well as an autographed picture of Lozovsky. (Lozovsky was still in favor, but Glebov feels it never hurts to be cautious.)
Solomon Abramovich LOZOVSKY (1878-1952), originally a Menshevik, joined the Bolsheviks in 1917 and became Secretary of the All-Russian Central Council of Trade Unions. He was a leading official of the Red International of Labour Unions and a consistent supporter of Stalinist policies. Later he became a Deputy Commissar for Foreign Affairs and head of the Soviet Information Office. One of the few major figures of the 1920s to survive the purges of the 1930s, Lozovaky was arrested and shot in 1974 as part of an anti-semitic campaign. From: http://marxists.anu.edu.au/archive/trotsky/works/britain/ch10.htm
Shireiko asks about the busts of philosophers which Ganchuk keeps. Glebov names those he can remember: Plato, Aristotle, Kant, Schopenhoer. "Are there no materialist philosophers?" Shireiko asks. Glebov names Spinoza. But Spinoza is not a real materialist, Shireiko counters.
They also ask Glebov about Ganchuck's academic advice, comments, and recommendations. Is there any hint of discredited theories, particularly any Pereverzevism (Valeryan Fedorovich Pereverzev)? Does he underestimate the importance of class? Overestimate the unconscious? Any hidden Menshevikism? Glebov tries to deflect these questions, but gets muddled.
Valeryan Fedorovich PEREVERZEV (1882-1968). Soviet literary critic who, during the primacy of "sociological" interpretation, asserted that a work of art is the expression of the psycology of a particular "class group". The paticularities of the psychoogy of such groups are determined exclusively by their economic situation and relations. All characters and "forms" in a work of literature are an expression of the writer's own sociologically determined character. When the writer attempts to portray characters from different classes, he can only "dress up" his own form in different "costumes". All characters remain, in essence, mere variants of the social character of the writer himself. The theories of Pereverzev came under critical attack during special sessions of the Communist Academy in 1929-1930. They were denouced as "metaphysics" and as pernicioius bourgeois influence dressed up as Marxism.
See: Pospelov, G.N. Razvitiye Teorii Literatury v Moskovskom Universitet, http://www.philol.msu.ru/~tlit/zhm/1ch1.htm and
F. Shemyakin Metafizika V.F. Pereverzeva, http://www.ruthenia.ru/sovlit/c/1027624.html
As they part, Druzyaev, as if in jest, asks Glebov to get a better picture of Ganchuk's philosopers busts. Glebov thinks it's all nonsense, cretinism of the highest order, but he smiles and agrees.
First, Glebov tells Sonya of Druzyaev's suggestion. She is upset and says Glebov shouldn't have agreed to the proposal. She gives Glebov complete freedom to act as he chooses, but she is clearly not happy.
At dinner, Yulia Mikhailovna says that she was called in by an official named Dorodnov and told that since her degree is from a foreign university--University of Vienna--she has to take the Soviet qualifying examination to retain her right to teach. This after Yulia Mikhailovna has been teaching for twenty years! Doronov said it was merely a question of formalism, of keeping appearances proper.
Yulia Mikhailovna's sister, Elfirda, or simply Aunt Ellie as Sonya called her, is also at dinner. She is a journalist. She recalls Lenin's words that the struggle against bureacracy will take decades. Also, she says bureaucracy is a manifestation of petite bourgeoism, and she speculates that this Dorodnov is not of proletarian background.
After dinner, Sonya confides to Glebov that her mother and aunt are the grandchildren of a Viennese banker.
Glebov keeps putting off having a discussion with Ganchuk about Druzyaev's recommendation. Then one day, Druzyaev tells him that on Thursday there is to be a public meeting. It is "more than mandatory" that Glebov attend the meeting, where he will be asked to repeat what he told them earlier about Ganchuk and his study.
Glebov goes to the Ganchuks' at tea. Ganchuk says he's heard rumors that Glebov wants to change his faculty advisor. And--more bad news--Ganchuk has just been told that Shireiko is about to publish an article highly critical of Ganchuk. The article is to be entitled "Lack of Principle as a Principle."
Yulia Mikhailovna asks Glebov about this. He just jumps up and leaves the room. Sonya tells her parents what Glebov told her about his meeting with Druzyaev. And, for the first time, reveals her romance with Glebov to her parents.
Ganchuk takes this all in an and decides that Glebov has acted properly. Even Yulia Mikhailovna grudgingly agrees. Ganchuk gives Glebov a hug and pours kogor for everyone, except Julia Mikhailovna, who, without even looking at Glebov, takes the dirty dishes and disappears.
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Ganchuk says that Dorodnov is behind this scheme against him...because Ganchuk spoke in defense of Astrug and others who were unjustly accused. Certainly, some methodological mistakes crept into Astrug's work, but who doesn't have them? Astrug fought in the war and was decorated. He was no enemy--and Ganchuk knows enemies because he was a member of the Cheka duing the Civil War.
During the 1920s, Doronov was a typical Fellow Traveler with a petty bourgeois outlook. Somehow he escaped the just retribution Ganchuk and others were meting out at the time and lived to flourish another day. And now Dorodnov has the nerve to teach Marxism to Ganchuk, to claim that Ganchuk underestimates the importance of class struggle.
Fellow Traveler. Term coined by L. Trotsky (Literature and Revolution, 1925) to refer to Soviet writers who did not oppose the Bolshevik Revolution, but did not actively support it either. Notable Fellow Travelers included Osip Mandelshtam, Leonid Leonov, Boris Pilnyak, Isaak Babel, Ilya Ehrenburg, Evegeny Zamyatin, and Boris Lavrenyov. Originally nonpejorative in implication, by the end of the 1920s, it was akin to counterrevolutionary.
A bit tipsy after the kogor, Ganchuk takes Glebov into his study to look at an album from his Civil War days. Glebov remembers that he's supposed to look at the philosophers' busts.
When Druzayev told Glebov about the meeting on Thursday, he also mentioned that a preliminary decision has been made to award the Griboedov Stipend to Glebov. A seemingly innocent piece of news, but its connection to Glebov's expected testimony against Ganchuk was clear.
Glebov decides to go see if Levka can help. Levka is playing with a new wonder--a television!--one of only 75 in the whole of Moscow. An opera from the Bolshoi Theatre is being broadcast (with lousy reception), and Lekva doesn't give Glebov his full attention.
Glebov explains his situation, but Levka doesn't understand what Glebov is worried about. So what if he has to speak out against Ganchuk? The old-timer is going senile, Levka says, and it's high time he stepped aside. Levka himself expects to join the attack against Ganchuk at the meeting, accusing him of lack of principle, cliquism, etc. Glebov is shocked at Levka's indifference. Near hysteria, Glebov starts to leave, but Levka stops him and says he'll see if he can do something.
Levka calls up Shireiko, with whom he is obviously very chummy. Shireiko fishes for compliments on his article, and Levka readily obliges, but all the while Levka is making mocking faces and whispering nasty comments about Shireiko to Glebov.
Levka asks Shireiko if it's really necessary for Glebov to speak at the meeting. Shireiko says that Glebov's an annoying blockhead. No one is forcing Glebov to speak at the meeting, Shireiko says. Glebov can speak or not speak as he pleases.
Glebov is somewhat troubled by this turn of events, but Levka is triumphant, feeling that he has done Glebov a great favor. Levka takes Glebov out for a night of drunken debauchery.
Things get even more complicated for Glebov when the Research Students Association, of which he is deputy chairman, asks him to speak in defense of Ganchuk. (The association's chairman is conveniently ill.) One student activist named Marina is particularly insistent, saying that it is absolutely necessary for students to defend their professors. Glebov feels that this pressure is the same type of terror as used by Druzayev, only coming from the other side.
Ganchuk has other supporters as well. For example, folklore professor Krugloye, who is threatening to resign unless the campaign against Ganchuk is stopped. Shireiko is also beginning to feel some heat: fellow students are turning their back to him and boycotting his classes.
Kunik comes to see Glebov, demanding to know why Glebov is allowing himself to be used in the campaign against Ganchuk. Shireiko's article referred to graduate students wanting to be reassigned from Ganchuk to different faculty advisors. Kunik checked...the only such graduate student is Glebov.
So Glebov is standing at the crossroads: should he speak against or in defense of Ganchuk? If he attacks Ganchuk, he can say good-bye to Sonya forever. If he defends Ganchuk, that will be the end of his career. Glebov is unable to decide. Then, on the morning of the meeting, Glebov has a stroke of good luck--his grandmother dies, giving him a legitimate excuse to skip the meeting.
Some days after the meeting, Glebov decides that, for his own sake, he should end his relationship with Sonya. He comes to visit the Ganchuks intending to break it off with Sonya. Yulia Mikhailovna lets him in, but is hostile. She tells him that she hates him and that he is so bourgeois. She offers him money or expensive jewelry if he will just leave and never come back.
Ganchuk comes in, rambling about Dostoevsky. He says that he previously had underestimated Dostoeveky, and that Gorky was wrong about Dostoevsky, too. Now that Ganchuk will have plenty of free time, he intends to focus on creating a new understanding of Dostoevsky. Modern-day Rosolnikovs don't kill old pawnbrokers with an axe; but what's the difference if you murder or just give someone a shove, creating open space for yourself?
Modern-day Roskolnikovs don't kill old pawnbrokers with an axe, but they are torn by the same question: should they cross over the line? And, in fact, what's the difference whether you do it with an axe or some other way? To murder or just give a slight push to clear some space for yourself? After all, it wasn't for the sake of world harmony that Roskolnikov committed murder; he did it for himself.
In Dostoevsky, Ganchuk continues, everything was simpler and more clear; there was an obvious social conflict. But today, a man doesn't know what he's creating. Therefore, the argument is with himself, he is trying to persuade or reassure himself.
Ganchuk asks Glebov why he has come. After all, it makes no sense logically.
Ganchuk finishes the conversation by saying that the mistake was showing pity to Dorodnov in 1927. They should have smashed him.
Glebov spends the night with Sonya. In the morning, after breakfast, he promises to call her later and return in the evening. He never returns to the Ganchuks.
There is another meeting on Ganchuk some time later. This time, Glebov speaks, but says nothing of substance. After the meeting, Glebov is walking along the street and is stunned to see Ganchuk, who just moments before was being subjected to the fiercest of attacks, contentedly sitting in a bakery and hungrily eating a Napoleon.
Ganchuk is reassigned to some insignificant teachers college. Yulia Mikhailovna also loses her job. Some years later, however, fortunes change and Dorodnov is smashed. It is too late, however. Ganchuk has suffered a stroke and his speech is slurred. Yulia Mikhailovna died in a hospital for those with nervous disorders, and Sonya is a hollow shell of her former self, afraid of the light and wanting to stay only in the dark.
Levka's fortunes change as well. His father loses his position and privilege. Levka ends up as a minor football administrator, traveling from town to town with various teams. He sinks into alcoholism and in the end is dismissed from all his jobs.
By contrast, Glebov makes a comfortable career for himself. In April 1974 he is traveling by train to Paris to attend an academic conference. By chance, also on the train is Levka's mother, Anna Fyodovna, who is going to visit her sister who abandoned the Soviet Union more than 50 years ago. She looks at Glebov haughtily, as if through a lornette. She says that the Russian gentry has not degenerated as some claim. Rather, she says, it is strong "because of all we have endured.
Sonya dies. Ganchuk voluntarily gives up his apartment in the House on the Embankment, not wanting to live there alone. In his 80s, he is approached by one of Sonya, Glebov, and Levka's classmates, who is doing research on the turbulent 1920s. Ganchuk, however, is no longer interested in the period, and chooses not to remember it. He'd much rather discuss a serial currently running on television.
On Sonya's birthday, Ganchuk goes to the cemetery to visit her grave. He arrives 10 minutes before closing time. The gatekeeper, in a hurry to get home, doesn't want to let Ganchuk in. Ganchuk aruges vociferously and gains admission. The gatekeeper, it turns out, is Levka.
Levka gets on a bus to go home. As always, he passes the House on the Embankment. And as always, he picks out the window of the apartment where he used to live and he wonders: Will there come another change in his life?