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Glory is the wryly ironic story of Martin Edelweiss, a twenty-two-year-old Russian émigré of no account, who is in love with a girl who refuses to marry him. Convinced that his life is about to be wasted and hoping to impress his love, he embarks on a "perilous, daredevil project"--an illegal attempt to re-enter the Soviet Union, from which he and his mother had fled in 1919. He succeeds--but at a terrible cost.
The study and the dining room were on the first floor, the parlor on the second, and the bedrooms on the third. The whole quiet, residential street consisted of such narrow houses, indistinguishable from each other, with an identical, vertical configuration of rooms inside. A dash of color was contributed by a plump red letter-pillar at the corner. Behind the right row of houses were gardens where rhododendrons bloomed in the summer, and behind the left row a small park containing tall elms and a
teeth, her eyes, her cold nose, and she struggled, and kicked, and her black, violet-scented hair kept getting in his mouth; at last, laughing loudly, he dropped her on the sofa. Here the door was pushed open. At first a foot appeared, then, laden with goodies, Darwin entered. He tried to close the door with his foot but dropped a paper sack out of which tumbled meringues. “Martin’s been throwing cushions,” said Sonia in a plaintive, breathless voice. “One to nothing is not so grand after all,
reconciliation, embraces, noseblowing, emotional throat-clearing—but Martin stood his ground. His mother, who sensed his longing to see Sonia, proved to be an ally, and smiled bravely as he got into the car. Hardly had the house disappeared from view when Martin changed places with the chauffeur. Holding the wheel delicately, almost tenderly, as if it were something alive and precious, and watching the powerful car gobble up the road, he experienced nearly the same sensation as when, in
scattered about Berlin, for all those elements of expatriation which so excited Martin, be it merely a snatch of routine conversation amid the shoving sidewalk crowd, a chameleon word (such as that russified plural with its wandering accent: dóllary, dolláry, dollará), or a squabbling couple’s recitative, caught in passing (“And I’m telling you——” for female voice; “Oh, have it your way——” for male voice); or, on a summer night, a man with his head thrown back clapping his hands under a lighted
briefcase under his arm, walked in the vanguard of the funeral procession among the roses and the black marble of Jewish graves, Martin had the impression that the obituary writer’s words “he burned with love for Russia” or “he always held high his pen” somehow debased the deceased inasmuch as those same words would have been equally applicable both to Zilanov and to the venerable necrologist himself. Most of all Martin felt sorry for the originality of the deceased, who was truly