Galina Kornilova (review date 1964)
SOURCE: A review of An Easy Life, in Soviet Literature, Vol. 1, 1964, pp. 188-89.
[In the following essay, Kornilova outlines the defining characteristics of the stories comprising An Easy Life.]
Yuri Kazakov's stories are about ordinary things and ordinary people. There is nothing special about the people, nothing dramatic happens to them. His inspector Zubavin, whose job involves a lot of travelling, is again off on one of his missions; mechanic Kudryavtsev is returning empty-handed after a day's hunting, collective-farm club manager Zhukov is walking across a field after a hard day that has brought him one vexation after another. Each has only the usual round of dull cares to look forward to. But suddenly, surprisingly, “for no good reason,” each is overwhelmed by a deep sense of happiness. With one it is brought on at sight of a fog veiling the stars, with another by the glow of a distant campfire, with a third by the nocturnal breath of the forest and the smell of a river. Overtaken by it, mechanic Kudryavtsev wonders:
… why this sudden happiness? Now, if I had fallen in love, if I'd had a stroke of luck, if my work and everything else were going smoothly—why, then there'd be nothing to wonder at. But this groundless feeling, when in the midst of a black, hopeless mood your heart suddenly quivers and beats with joy, so that afterwards you remember the moment for a long time.
Kudryavtsev and the others experience this “groundless” joy because it is given to them, modest, ordinary people to feel and appreciate the beauty of nature, because they have an awareness of the pulsing of life in the autumnal fields, the dark forest, the damp ravines. And this awareness is complemented by an ability to understand people and feel with them, to respond sensitively to their joys and cares and thus to spread happiness about them. Their moment of heightened awareness of nature's...
(The entire section is 828 words.)