Antonina came to the Karelian wilderness from Saint Petersburg to be near her husband, an artist imprisoned for supposedly attacking a policeman. She gets a job as a schoolteacher and experiences all the unpleasantness of life in the Russian provinces firsthand. Although her colleagues, who have long since given up on their students, warn her that “going to the people” won’t end well, Antonina still believes that people can be taught the difference between good and evil, lies and truth—but in order to do so, one must first keep their own eyes open.
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