Notes on Anthony Marra: Story 2: Granddaughters, Kirovsk, 1937-2013

Hoping to kick up the conversation a bit at club next week, so I’m sharing some notes for conversation. From the Tsar of Love and Techno story Granddaughters.

  • “How could Soviet jurisprudence remain infallible if it failed to recognize innocence?”
  • “expurgated from their own histories. In photographs, they donned India ink masks.”
  • “for a man determined to wring maximum productivity from his prisoners before they died, the ballet proved an effective coercion.”
  • “”the second principal of the Moral Code of the Builder of Communism: conscientious labor for the good of society – he who does not work, neither shall he eat.”
  • “Galina’s father knew her best hope for prosperity would come from dulling all that made her exceptional until the plural voice accepted her as one of its own.”
  • “rock and roll inscribed by phonograph onto exposed X-rays.”
  • “Yellow fog enshrouded the city like a varnish aged upon the air…. Rain burned our skin.”
  • White Forest – manmade woods of metal trees. Comes up in a later story too, I think.
  • “a romantic stroll around Lake Mercury”
  • “You not only mine the fuel of the Soviet Union, he proclaimed, you are the fuel of the Soviet Union.” A repeated line that may contain  irony.
  • “The world had feared us. A paternal state had provided. Now what did we have? Epidemics and addictions.”
  • “We reconsidered our grandmothers. Perhaps theirs was a necessary suffering, an evil justified by a greater good.”
  • Galina’s father was the prison boss.
  • “Ninety-five percent of the world’s catalytic converters are made with Kirovsk palladium and our own town prospers beneath denser layers of pollution thanks to the efforts of American and European environmentalists hell-bent on keeping their skies clean.”
  • “…what makes them unremarkable is what keeps them alive.”

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