I’m halfway through Anatoly Zhigulin’s novel **Chornie Kamni ** about life in Soviet prison camps. In the years following WWII, the camps were run either by vori (thieves, who followed a certain code) and suki (“bitches” who did not). Vori and suki hated each other, and if a member of one group found himself in a camp controlled by the other, his death would be as horrible as it was punctual.
Zhigulin, who is neither a thief nor a bitch, has found himself in a prison camp controlled by an exceptionally cruel bitch. One day, a bunch of ex-soldiers who’d seen action in the war managed to disarm and capture the bitch, and I’ve just finished the part where they tied him up and fed him feet first into a woodchipper at the slowest setting possible.
I’ll tell you what, studying Russian and reading Russian lit has done wonders to put my problems working at a boring library into perspective.