Vera Konstantinovna Fleisher, the daughter of a clergyman, is among those of our narrators whose social origins stood as an almost insuperable obstacle to successful advancement in life. The clergy and their families were particularly vulnerable to persecution in times of heightened political or ideological conflict—particularly during the years of civil war, the collectivization drive of 1929–1930, and state-perpetrated terror. Fleisher’s father was arrested in each of these periods, and he perished in a camp at the end of the 1930s. Despite the suffering that Fleisher and her parents endured at the hands of the Soviet government, she actively embraced the Soviet order, as did many—perhaps the majority—of her contemporaries. The ties between Vera Fleisher and her husband appear to have been corroded by frequent, short separations and then the lengthier one that came with the outbreak of World War II; but it is hard to know for certain, because she was obviously reluctant to discuss the subject.