Dimitri, the main character in Ivan’s Wife, is a complex man. He struggles with panic and mental illness. Trying to find the source, he thinks back to his childhood and the brother he lost.
The only one who understood was my brother, Alexander. I confided in him at twelve, told him about my spells and the delirium that followed. We’d walk along the Moskva River, near the homestead, talking for hours. I never felt judged or insane with him. He never offered me an explanation for the spells but he understood. At times, I wondered if he had them too. I hadn’t imagined how his brows would knit together and his eyes would twitch a little when he listened. But he never said anything, he’d just assure me that I wasn’t crazy and all would be revealed in time. Alexander had an inward grace, calm and reassuring.