City of Thieves

City of Thieves Chapter 26 Summary & Analysis

Summary
Analysis
At Colonel Grechko's mansion, a sergeant leads Lev through the house until they find Grechko in the wine cellar. The bottles are gone, but young soldiers are opening crates and compiling a list of the contents-- caviar, garlic, salted herring, white sugar. Lev watches in disbelief. Grechko turns and notices Lev, asking where "the deserter" is. Seeing Lev's face, Grechko replies that it's too bad. Lev hands the colonel the eggs, who hands them to another soldier, saying "another dozen eggs." Lev asks if they already have eggs, and the soldier replies that they now have four dozen.
Lev's world has already been turned upside down. He's killed a man, lost his best friend, and now he's denied the privilege of even being the hero of his own absurd story. The eggs become one of four dozen, making it very clear to Lev that his and Kolya's journey was truly a wild goose chase. As he's confronted with the abundance of foodstuffs before him, Lev is also forced to accept his position and that no matter what, he's still going to be hungry while the colonel feasts.
Themes
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Grechko says that they can now make fish pies, and instructs the soldier to give Lev two Grade One ration cards, each of which entitle Lev to an officer's rations. Lev looks around the cellar and thinks that Kolya would know all about the wine that was once there. Lev turns back to the colonel, who instructs Lev to not say what he wants to say right now, tapping Lev on the cheek and telling him that staying quiet is the secret to living a long life.
Going back to the frame story, the reader is reminded that as an adult, Lev doesn't like to speak much in the presence of anyone other than his wife. He seemingly took Colonel Grechko's advice to heart. This also further separates Lev from Kolya, who was always so verbose but ultimately didn’t survive.
Themes
Growing Up Theme Icon
Literature and Storytelling Theme Icon
Survival Theme Icon
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