Seven Days of Creation A
novel dedicated to the history of the Lashkovs’ working class. The book consists of seven parts, each of which is called by the days of the week and tells about one of the Lashkovs.
The action is, apparently, in the 60’s, but the memories cover episodes from previous decades. In the novel there are a lot of heroes, dozens of fates – as a rule, crippled and awkward. Unfortunate and all Lashkovs – although, it would seem, this large, hardworking and honest family could live happily and comfortably. But time seemed to pass through Lashkov’s inexorable rink.
Monday. (The way to himself.) The elder from the Lashkovs – Peter Vasilievich – came from a youth in Uzlovoye, a small town on the city, got a job on the railway, rose to an ober-conductor, then retired. He married Mary for love. They grew six children. And what in the end? Emptiness.
The fact is that Peter Vasilievich was a man of ideological, party and irreconcilable nature. In the life of his relatives he introduced a “train” directness and most often used the word “impossible.” Three sons and two daughters left him, and Peter Vasilievich stubbornly waited for them to return with the guilt. But the children did not return. Instead, news came of their deaths. Both daughters died. One son was arrested. The other two died in the war. The wordless Maria is decayed. And the last of the children,
In the work of his path were cases, memorable for life, when his directness turned into something good, then evil. He could not forgive his assistant Foma Leskov, who somehow took advantage of the unrequited disabled girl in the flight. Leskov died many years later from a serious illness. Lashkov met on the street a funeral procession “and only then thought about the fate of Thomas and his family.” It turned out that Leskov’s son Nikolai had just left prison and was embittered at all…
Another case was that Lashkov had to investigate one accident. If it were not for him, the young machinist would have been threatened with arrest and execution. However, Pyotr Vasilyevich got to the bottom of the truth and proved that the machinist had nothing to do with it. Many years passed, now that the guy he rescued became an important boss, and sometimes Lashkov harassed him with some kind of requests – always about someone or about the city as a whole, but never about himself. Now it was to this man that he came to talk about Nikolai Leskov.
In Uzlovske there lived also the one to whom Lashkov at one time prepared “nine grammes”, – the former chief of station Mironov. Accused him of sabotage, and Lashkov was again included in the operative group for investigation. The head of the district Cheka pressed, but he succumbed and decided to shoot Mironov. The executor of the order, however, secretly released the arrested person. Mironov escaped, then changed his name and settled himself on the same road as a greaser.
Old age began to trouble Peter Vasilyevich with thoughts of the past, then with strange, mottled dreams. Among the memories was one of the deepest and most distant: once in his youth, during excitements in the depot, when there was a gunfight in the square, Lashkov crawled to the broken window in the shop of merchant Turkov. He did not give rest to the amber ham, which flaunted behind the glass. And when the guy, risking his life, reached the treasured window, it turned out that he had a cardboard dummy in his hands…
This sensation of something deceptive began to overcome Peter Vasilyevich. The entrenched consciousness of one’s correct life was shaken. The solid world built by him seemed to stagger. He suddenly felt the bitter melancholy of Antonina, left over for forty years. I learned that my daughter secretly goes to the prayer house, where the former lubricator Gupak preaches – the same Mironov. And he also realized the alienation that lay between him and his fellow countrymen. All of them were human though sinful, but alive. From it emanated some sort of deadening sushi, stemming from the black-and-white perception of the environment. He began to slowly comprehend that life was lived “though fiercely, but blindly.” That he shut himself off by a shaky line even from his own children and could not convey his truth to them.
Antonina became the wife of Nikolai Leskov and enlisted with him to the North. The wedding was very modest. And in the registry office they met with a posh company on three limousines. This married the daughter of a local shabashnik Gusev. At one time, he stayed with the Germans, explaining to Lashkov: “According to me, what kind of power, everything is the same… I will not be lost.” And did not disappear.
Tuesday. (Peregon.) This part is devoted to the younger brother of Peter Vasilyevich Lashkov – Andrew, more precisely, the main episode of his life. During the war, Andrew was instructed to evacuate all the regional cattle – to drive him from Uzlovsk to Derbent. Andrei was a Komsomol member, sincere and convinced. He idolized Brother Peter – he charged him with “fierce determination and faith in their appointment in the common cause.” A bit embarrassed by his rear task at a time when his peers are fighting at the front, Andrei with a fever undertook to carry out the assignment.
This heavy winter trip was for the young man the first experience of independent leadership of people. He encountered boundless folk misfortune, saw trains with prisoners behind barbed wire, saw a crowd tearing a horse thief, witnessed how an opera without a trial shot some kind of obstinate kolkhoz boss. Gradually, Andrei seemed to awaken from naive youthful confidence in the perfection of Soviet reality. Life without a brother was complicated and confusing. “What is it that turns out? We drive each other like cattle, only in different directions…” Next to him was a former Kornilovite who had served time already, veterinarian Boboshko. Soft, never complaining, he tried to help Andrei in everything and often excited the young man with unusual judgments.
The most painful experiences of Andrew concerned Alexandra Agureeva. Together with other collective farmers, she accompanied the convoy. Andrei loved Alexandra for a long time. However, she had been married for three years, and her husband was at war. And yet, at some halt, Alexander herself found Andrei, confessed her love. But their proximity was short-lived. Neither he nor she could get over the feeling of guilt before the third. At the end of the journey, Alexander just disappeared – got on the train and left. Andrew, after successfully surrendering the cattle, went straight to the military enlistment office and from there volunteered to the front. In the last conversation, veterinarian Boboshko told him a parable about Christ, who after the crucifix so speaks about human life: “She is unbearable, but beautiful…”
At the front, Andrei received a heavy concussion, lost his memory for a long time. Peter, summoned to the hospital, barely got out of it. Then Andrey returned to Uzlovoye and settled in the forestry nearby. Alexandra and her husband continued to live in the village. They had three children. Andrew never married. Only the forest brought him relief. The harder he experienced, when it was senselessly cut down the forest in favor of the plan or the whims of the authorities.
Wednesday.. (Yard in the middle of the sky.) The third brother Vasily Lashkov immediately after the civil donkey in Moscow. I got a job as a janitor. And with the yard in Sokolniki, and with his house was connected, his whole lonely life. Once the mistress of the house was an old Shokolinist. Now many families lived here. On Vasily Lashkov’s eyes, they first compacted, then evicted, then arrested. Who turned good, who was poor, who made a fortune in someone else’s misfortune, who went crazy about what is happening. Basil had to be a witness, and understood, and comforted, and come to the rescue. He tried not to do meanness.
The hope of personal happiness collapsed because of the accursed policy. He fell in love with Grusha Gorev, beautiful and clever. But one night they came for her brother – the worker Alexei Gorev. And the more he did not return home. And then the policeman hinted to Vasily that he should not meet with a relative of the enemy of the people. Vasily was afraid. And Grusha did not forgive him this. She herself soon married the Austrian Otto Stabel, who lived right there. The war began. Stacks were arrested, although he was not German. He returned after the Victory. In exile Otto started a new family.
Vasily, watching the fate of the tenants with whom he was akin, was quietly drinking, not expecting anything from the future.
One day he was visited by Brother Peter – forty years after his separation. The meeting was tense. Peter looked at the brother’s neglected home with a grim reproach. And Vasily angrily told him that he “drove” from such people like Peter, all life seemed to be backwards. Then he went to get a bottle – to celebrate the meeting. Peter stomped and left, deciding that it would be better.
Later in the autumn they buried Grusha. She was mourning the whole yard. Vasily looked out the window, and his heart was bitterly compressed. “What did we find when we came here,” he thought of his court, “joy, hope, faith, what did they bring here, warmth, light? No, we did not bring anything, but we lost everything…”
In the depths of the courtyard, the black and old old woman, Shokolinist, silently moved her lips, which survived many of the tenants. This was the last thing Vasili saw when he collapsed on the windowsill…
Thursday, (Late World.) Pyotr Vasilyevich Lashkov’s nephew – Vadim – grew up in an orphanage. His father was arrested and shot, his mother died. From Bashkiria Vadim moved to Moscow, worked as a painter, lived in a hostel. Then he made his way to the actors. With the variety teams I traveled around the country, got used to casual earnings and casual people. Friends were also random. And even his wife was strangers to him. Changed, lied. Once, after returning from the next tour, Vadim felt in his soul such a dizzying, unbearable emptiness that he could not stand it and opened the gas… He survived, but his wife’s relatives sent him to a psychiatric clinic outside the city. Here we meet with him.
Vadim’s neighbors in the hospital are a variety of people – a tramp, a worker, a priest, a director. Everyone has his own truth. Some are imprisoned here for dissent and rejection of the system – like Father George. Vadim comes within these walls to a firm decision: to finish with his acting, to start a new, meaningful life. Natasha’s daughter helps him escape from the hospital. Vadim realizes that he has met his love. But at the first station he is detained to return to the hospital…
Only grandfather Peter, with his perseverance, will help later to his nephew. He will reach the high offices, formalize the custody and get Vadim out. And then he will arrange it in the forest district to his brother Andrei.
Friday. (Labyrinth.) This time, the action takes place at a construction site in Central Asia, where Antonina Lashkova and her husband Nikolay were brought in for another recruitment. Antonina is already waiting for the child, so she wants peace and a corner. In the meantime, we have to click on the hostels.
We are once again plunged into the thick of the people’s life, with drunken arguments about the most important, the quarrels with the authorities because of the outfits and salty jokes in the dining room. One person from the new environment of Antonina stands out sharply, as if marked by some inner light. This brigadier Osip Mekler is a Muscovite who voluntarily decided after the school to test himself on the edge of the world and on the hardest work. He is convinced that Jews do not like “for well-being, non-participation in general poverty”. Osip is extremely hardworking and honest, does everything on conscience. A miracle happened – Antonina suddenly felt that she really loved this man. Despite her husband, on pregnancy… Of course, this remained her secret.
And then the events unfolded tragically. The crocheter-superintendent behind Mekler persuaded the brigade to shalt on one operation. But the customer representatives discovered the marriage and refused to accept work. The brigade was left without a paycheck. Meklair was depressed when all this was revealed. But he was even more finished when he found out on what site he was laying out: it turned out that their brigade was building a prison…
He was found hanged right on the construction site. Nicholas, Antonina’s husband, after what happened to death, beat up the superintendent and again went to prison. Antonina was left alone with her newborn son.
Saturday. (Evening and night of the sixth day.) Again Uzlovsk. Pyotr Vasilievich is still immersed in the thoughts of the past and the merciless self-esteem of his life. It is becoming clearer to him that he pursued a ghost from a young age. He became friends with Gupak – conversations with him brighten up the present Lashkovskaya loneliness. Once an invitation came for a wedding in the forestry: Andrew and Alexander, finally, married after the death of her husband Alexandra. Their happiness, albeit at an elderly age, burned Pyotr Vasilyevich with keen joy. Then came another news – the death of his brother Vasily. Lashkov went to Moscow, he only went to a wake. Otto Stable told him about the simple courtyard news and about the fact that Basil was loved here for his honesty and ability to work.
Once on a visit, Gupak confessed that he had received a letter from Antonina. She wrote about everything that happened at the construction site. Pyotr Vasilyevich could not find a place for himself. He wrote to his daughter what awaits her with her grandson, and he began to work with the repair. Helped him to update the five-walled Gusev – the same shabashniki. It so happened that at the end of his life, Lashkov had to see people in a new way, to discover some mystery in everyone. And, like all the main characters in the novel, he has steadily, slowly and independently made the difficult journey from believing in illusion to genuine faith.
He met his daughter at the station and excitedly took from her grandson’s hands – also Peter. On this day, he gained a feeling of inner peace and balance and realized his “I” as part of a “vast and meaningful whole.”
The novel ends with the last, the seventh part, consisting of one phrase: “And the seventh day came, the day of hope and resurrection…”