Filling in Time Reading Vasily Grossman While Waiting for S
What a time to be reading about Annie Ernaux’s self-obliterating affair with S from the Soviet embassy in Paris, not that you’d sense that something’s in the air from the English-language reception to Getting Lost, Ernaux’s diary of the relationship, published in English last September. In the diary and in its generally admiring reviews S is described as a diplomat, apparatchik, attaché, ‘faithful servant of the USSR’ (Ernaux) and Brezhnev nostalgic/Stalin apologist when drunk. Also: ‘He is somewhat, not to say very, anti-Semitic: “Isn’t Mitterrand Jewish?” ’ Pretty standard stuff. Come on. He would have been KGB.