I. G. Ehrenburg
In the club of a large industrial city – sold-out. The hall is packed full, people are standing in the aisles. The event is uncommon: a novel by a young local writer has been published. Participants in the readership conference praise the debutant: workdays are reflected accurately and brightly. The heroes of the book are truly the heroes of our time. Speech Koroteeva raises a heated argument. The youngest engineer Grisha Savchenko and teacher Lena Zhuravleva (her husband is the director of the plant, sitting in the presidium of the conference and frankly pleased with Koroteyev’s criticism) are more discouraged than others – although not out loud.
But one can argue about their “personal life”, says one of the leading engineers of the plant Dmitry Koroteev. Typical here is not a penny: a serious and honest agronomist could not love a woman who is windy and flirtatious, with whom he has no common spiritual interests, in addition – his comrade’s wife! The love described in the novel seems to have been mechanically transferred from the pages of bourgeois literature!
The dispute over the book continues at Sonya Pukhova’s birthday, where she comes straight from the Savchenko club. “It’s a clever man, he spoke in a stencil!” Grisha gasps, “It turns out that personal is not a place in literature, but the book touched everyone alive: too often we say one thing, but in our personal lives we act differently. ! ” “You are right,” nods one of the guests, the artist Saburov, “it’s time to remember that there is art!” “And in my opinion, Koroteev is right,” Sonia retorts, “a Soviet man has learned to control nature, but he must learn to control his feelings…”
Lena Zhuravleva has no one to share her opinion on what she heard at the conference: she had already cooled to her husband for a long time, – it seems, from the day when she heard from him in the midst of the doctors’ case: “You can not trust them too much, it’s undeniable.” Disdainful and merciless “them” shocked Lena. And when, after a fire at a factory where Zhuravlev showed himself as a good man, Koroteev responded with praise to him, she wanted to shout: “You do not know anything about him.” This is a soulless man! ”
That’s why she was disappointed at Koroteyev’s speech to the club: he seemed to him to be so whole, extremely honest, and in public, and in private conversation, and alone with his own conscience…
The choice between truth and lies, the ability to distinguish one from the other-this calls on all the heroes of the story to lead the time of the “thaw”. The thaw is not only in the public climate (the stepfather of Koroteyev returns after seventeen years of imprisonment, the relations with the West are openly discussed in the feast, the opportunity to meet with foreigners, there are always daredevils at the meeting who are ready to contradict the authorities, the majority opinion). This is the thaw of all...
The reason for the conflict between Zhuravlev and Sokolovsky is that the director breaks the plan for housing construction. Storm, in the first spring days, flew to the city, which destroyed several dilapidated barracks, causing a storm in Moscow – in Moscow. Zhuravlev goes on an urgent call to Moscow, for a new appointment (of course, with a decrease). In the collapse of his career, he blames not the storm and especially not himself – Lena, who left him: his wife’s departure is an immoral! In the old days for this… And Sokolovsky is also to blame for what happened (he almost hastened to report on the storm to the capital): “It’s a pity that I did not ruin it…”
There was a storm – and was carried away. Who will remember it? Who will remember the director Ivan Vasilyevich Zhuravlev? Who remembers the last winter, when loud drops fall from the icicles, to the spring – a stone’s throw? ..
It was difficult and long-like the path through the snowy winter to the thaw-the path to happiness of Sokolovsky and the “pest physician” Vera Grigorievna, Savchenko and Sonya Pukhova, actresses of the drama theater Tanechka and Sonya’s brother Volodya. Volodya passes his temptation with lies and cowardice: at the discussion of the art exhibition he attacks the childhood friend of Saburov – “for formalism.” Repenting in her baseness, asking for forgiveness from Saburov, Volodya confesses to himself the main thing, which he did not realize for too long: he has no talent. In art, as in life, the main thing is talent, and not loud words about ideology and people’s requests.
Now Lena, who has found herself with Koroteyev, wants to be necessary to people. This feeling is also experienced by Sonya Pukhova – she admits to herself in the love of Savchenko. In love, overcoming the test and time and space: just before they managed to get used to Grisha to one separation (after the institute Sonya was distributed to a factory in Penza) – and here Grisha will have a long way to Paris, for an internship, in a group of young professionals.
Spring. Thaw. It is felt everywhere, everyone feels it: those who did not believe in it, and those who waited for it-like Sokolovsky, traveling to Moscow, meeting with his daughter Mashenka, Mary, a ballerina from Brussels, who is not at all familiar and very dear to him, with whom he dreamed of seeing his whole life.