City of Thieves

City of Thieves Chapter 16 Summary & Analysis

Summary
Analysis
Korsakov gives his men an hour to warm up in the farmhouse. Vika lounges on a sofa, looking at one of the taxidermy animals on the wall, and Lev sits across the room, pretending not to watch her. He enjoys a graphic daydream of having sex with her, and wonders about this departure from the usually chaste fantasies he used to have of Vera. Lev tells the reader that his fantasies usually end before sex, because he's afraid of sex and doesn't understand how it works, and never had anyone to ask.
Lev's fear once again dictates how he conducts his life, but we see that he's beginning to mature and overtake his fears. Additionally, the reader is asked to compare Lev's fantasies and use them to mark his growth. We also see another way that not having a father has affected Lev, as he hasn't had anyone in his life to ask about sex since it became relevant to him (presumably his mother wasn’t available or willing).
Themes
Growing Up Theme Icon
Literature and Storytelling Theme Icon
Sexuality, Masculinity, and Power Theme Icon
Nina, Galina, Lara, and Olesya are serving the partisans. One of them pulls Galina into his lap and harasses her about her Nazi "boyfriend." Vika tells the man to leave Galina alone, and Lev wishes he'd said that first to impress Vika. After a halfhearted jab at Vika, the partisan pushes Galina away.
The reader is once again reminded that the girls are at the mercy of whoever has the power to keep them alive. For them the enemy is all powerful men, not just Nazis or Russians.
Themes
Sexuality, Masculinity, and Power Theme Icon
Survival Theme Icon
Lev approaches Vika and sits down next to her on the couch. He asks her if her father was a hunter and taught her to shoot. Vika answers no, and mostly ignores Lev. He tries to desperately continue the conversation and asks her about her German gun. He finally offers her his German knife, but his explanation of getting it from an already-dead German is unimpressive. Vika offers Lev her own knife, which is slender but very sharp. She explains that this style of knife is given to Finnish boys when they come of age, but she bought hers.
Vika is beginning to assert her power over Lev. Regardless of how the other men treat her, Vika provides clues that she's in charge of her own life—buying a knife instead of receiving it as a rite of passage shifts the control of deciding when one has reached adulthood to the person in question, rather than his or her (often patriarchal) community. Lev is also growing, as he's facing his fear of women by talking to Vika.
Themes
Growing Up Theme Icon
Literature and Storytelling Theme Icon
Sexuality, Masculinity, and Power Theme Icon
Still trying to keep conversation going, Lev compliments Vika on her sniping of the Einsatzkommandos outside. Vika says the men outside aren't Einsatzkommandos, and interrogates Lev on why he's at the farmhouse, asking if one of the girls there is his girlfriend. Lev, trying to be mysterious, keeps his orders secret. Vika shares that she's looking for Einsatz, particularly Abendroth, and Lev shares that Lara said that Abendroth is in a house by the lake. Vika goes to Lara and presumably asks for confirmation.
Lev is trying to remember what Kolya's been telling him about the difference between calculated neglect and mystery, although it doesn't appear to be working. It's also indicated that Abendroth is a more powerful and important figure than was previously let on, if the partisans are actively looking for him. We're also reminded that Lev is very inexperienced, as he didn't recognize that the dead Germans aren't Einsatz.
Themes
Literature and Storytelling Theme Icon
Sexuality, Masculinity, and Power Theme Icon
Russia and World War II Theme Icon
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Korsakov and Kolya enter the great room, friends now. Kolya sits down next to Lev and says that they're moving out, despite the fact that they haven't slept since Sonya's apartment last night. Across the room, Vika speaks quietly to Korsakov as the rest of the partisans get ready. When Lev suggests they steal the German car and drive the girls back to Piter, Kolya laughs and says they're going with the partisans to the house on the lake.
Kolya is capable of charming almost everyone he meets, as evidenced by his ability to charm even a man who an hour ago wanted to kill him. We see that Vika is possibly very powerful within this group of partisans, given her conversation with Korsakov, and Lev once again proves his youth and inexperience with his suggestion.
Themes
Growing Up Theme Icon
Sexuality, Masculinity, and Power Theme Icon
Survival Theme Icon
Russia and World War II Theme Icon