'Life And Fate' is Vasily Grossman's novel narrated by Kenneth Branagh (Viktor, main character), Greta Scacchi (Victor´s wife), Janet Suzman, David Tennant, and Harriet Walter and will be broadcast by BBC Radio 4 in 13 episodes starting from Sunday 18th September at 3pm and continue in every other drama slot throughout the week.
Set against the ferocious Battle of Stalingrad, this huge novel charts the fate of both a nation and a family in the turmoil of war and is increasingly hailed as the most important Russian novel of the 20th century. In this first episode, dramatised for radio by Mike Walker, the Shaposhnikov family are about to feel the full impact of the war. Viktor, a nuclear physicist, is evacuated with his family from Moscow eastwards to Kazan. It’s October 1942 and the Russians are defending Stalingrad from the ferocious attack of the Germans. Viktor (Branagh) has a revelatory breakthrough in his research but his wife Lyuda (Scacchi) learns of the death of her son and her grief drives a wedge between the couple: Viktor is drawn to the kindness of Marya, the wife of his close colleague.