The Defense is translated from Russian. As such, the phrasing and wording can seem odd or stilted to the English reader. Sentences are typically long and paragraphs few. Since much of the story takes place in Germany, a smattering of German, particularly in the form of place-names or titles, will also be encountered. Occasionally the author (or more likely, the translator) will explicitly refer to language conventions common to Russian which are not found in English. The text might mention, for example, that a character is speaking with the pluralized form of "you."