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The novel is divided into chapters that seem short stories, but all fit into the same plotline and feature the same characters: 1. Diana; 2. Brother Yuri; 3. Finish of the Plot; 4. The Phenomenon of Nature; 5. Good Luck; 6. The Art of Living
In the novella The Loss, Pekalov, a drunkard and dreamer obsessed with the idea of building a tunnel under the Ural River, disappears in a ditch while working and is made a saint by the people of his village.