[ Download epub ] The White GuardAuthor Mikhail Bulgakov – Schematicwiringdiagram.co

Although less famous than Mikhail Bulgakov s comic hit, The Master and Margarita, The White Guard is still an engrossing book, though completely different in tone It is set in Kiev during the Russian revolution and tells the story of the Turbin family and the war s effect on the middle classes not workers The story was not seen as politically correct, and thereby contributed to Bulgakov s lifelong troubles with the Soviet authorities It was, however, a well loved book, and the novel was turned into a successful play at the time of its publication in


10 thoughts on “The White Guard

  1. Steven Godin Steven Godin says:

    After graduating from Kiev University, Mikhail Bulgakov would go on to decide his future lie in literature rather than practicing as a doctor, during which he witnessed the horrors of the Russian civil war Bothered though by the censors and political unrest, Bulgakov would write to Stalin asking to be allowed to emigrate, if he couldn t make a living as a writer in the USSR And the word goes Stalin actually phoned him up offering a job in the Moscow Arts Theatre instead Similar to that of rev After graduating from Kiev University, Mikhail Bulgakov would go on to decide his future lie in literature rather than practicing as a doctor, during which he witnessed the horrors of the Russian civil war Bothered though by the censors and political unrest, Bulgakov would write to Stalin asking to be allowed to emigrate, if he couldn t make a living as a writer in the USSR And the word goes Stalin actually phoned him up offering a job in the Moscow Arts Theatre instead Similar to that of revolutionary writer Victor Serge, Bulgakov s work only saw the light of day posthumously Safe to say, thank god it did.Not as well known as his most recognizable The Master and Margarita , The White guard is certainly closer to non fiction, and built on Bulgakov s own experiences during the turmoil and unpredictability of conflict The story takes place in a snow covered Kiev, 1918, turning the spotlight on the once wealthy Turbin family After their mother passes away, the three children of, doctor Alexei, the oldest, Elena, twenty four, and seventeen year old Nikolka face up the fact of a new regime, as Bolsheviks, Socialists and Germans fight for total control over the city Elena s husband Captain Talberg would leave for battle, as the household enters a fragile and worrying time.The city itself is vivid to the eyes, as confusion grows on the streets as to who is fighting with who , through all it s unorganized chaos, Bulgakov does a grand job of showing just that, the chaos.Nothing is ever perceived clear as to what is actually going on, in terms of leadership.Bulgakov asserted that Kiev changed hands some 14 times in little over a year, and could have written an epic Tolstoyish novel that coversground, but this isof a snapshot, a panoramic view, moving from character to character at regular intervals, and it s length pleased me fully The departing German Imperial Army lead by the Hetman of Ukraine are replaced by opportunist leader Petlyura s supposed rise to power, whilst the Ukrainian nationalist movement along with the The White Guard supporters of the Tsar jostle in the background Both brothers Alexei and Nikolka are White Guard officers who place their lives in danger as change takes shape There is no doubt Bulgakov pokes fun at both Petlyura and Hetman for their weak inabilities, and the sheer waste of life, youth and energy sacrificed in fighting And Bulgakov seems to foresee tribulations yet to come The novel is very military Regarding the narrative, not all the time, but when things get going in terns of the different forces involved, Bulgakov clearly knows his stuff, corruption in rife, anti Semitism is high, and the various armies struggle with personnel and supplies during some seriously cold weather But the household of the Turbins still remains central to the story, which provides the humane touch, although it doesn t feature as often during the middle third, Elena waits for news on husband and one of the brothers who failed to return home, whilst friends of the family come and go, each with their own problems.The Turbins do side with Tsar, but there isn t any reel political stance from Bulgakov s viewpoint, as normal life is trying to continue, people get up for work, mingle out shopping, kids play out in the snow little realizing what s happening around them, and folk gather to talk rumours that spread like wildfire There are gaps in between the conflict where Bulgakov clearly shows his love for Kiev, the ancient cathedral sits graceful, the huge statue of Saint Vladimir overlooks the city holding aloft the cross, whilst a blanket of snow wistfully settles on the homes and buildings below, creating a whiteness through dark times Bulgakov presents a glimpse of the fear, confusion and death that faced so many, and he does it exceptionally well.The snow would melt, the grass would grow, and the sun would rise to dry the blood of battle.but sadly one hundred years on, not much has changed, divided territories are still the recipe for disaster, where loved ones will not be returning to loves ones, and all for what


  2. Ahmad Sharabiani Ahmad Sharabiani says:

    The White Guard, Mikhail BulgakovThe White Guard is a novel by 20th century Russian writer Mikhail Bulgakov, famed for his critically acclaimed later work The Master and Margarita Set in Ukraine, beginning in late 1918, the novel concerns the fate of the Turbin family as the various armies of the Ukrainian War of Independence the Whites, the Reds, the Imperial German Army, and Ukrainian nationalists fight over the city of Kiev Historical figures such as Pyotr Wrangel, Symon The White Guard, Mikhail BulgakovThe White Guard is a novel by 20th century Russian writer Mikhail Bulgakov, famed for his critically acclaimed later work The Master and Margarita Set in Ukraine, beginning in late 1918, the novel concerns the fate of the Turbin family as the various armies of the Ukrainian War of Independence the Whites, the Reds, the Imperial German Army, and Ukrainian nationalists fight over the city of Kiev Historical figures such as Pyotr Wrangel, Symon Petliura and Pavlo Skoropadsky appear as the Turbin family is caught up in the turbulent effects of the October Revolution 2007 1385 336 9645776856 20 1385 144 9646380344 201918 1913 1922


  3. MihaElla MihaElla says:

    This heavy volume included two works The White Guard and Theatrical Novel Notes of a Deceased.Bulgakov s fate seemed to be governed by the same mixture of satire, fantasy and tragedy that is the hallmark of his entire work A trained doctor aka Chekhov , after he abandoned his medicine career in 1920 to devote entirely to writing, he joined the theater world and his first play put on stage The Days of the Turbins, adaptation of the novel The White Guard, has received a great success, paradox This heavy volume included two works The White Guard and Theatrical Novel Notes of a Deceased.Bulgakov s fate seemed to be governed by the same mixture of satire, fantasy and tragedy that is the hallmark of his entire work A trained doctor aka Chekhov , after he abandoned his medicine career in 1920 to devote entirely to writing, he joined the theater world and his first play put on stage The Days of the Turbins, adaptation of the novel The White Guard, has received a great success, paradoxically, becoming Stalin s favourite play The obvious sympathy for the White officers made that the play to be eventually banned, so from 1929 is no longer published any book, nor is played any of his new plays, or previous ones Leading an existence to the limit of survival, Bulgakov felt forced to send to the dictator Stalin a petition, then, also in a letter to the Soviet government, to talk about the mental imbalance to which an artist is subjected to when his living existence is threatened The letter remained famous both as a model of the writer s assumed dissidence and its unexpected effects Although following a direct phone call from Stalin, Bulgakov is re employed at the theater, yet all his works remained unpublished, writing in the last decade of his life with frenzy, afraid he will not finish the novel The Master and Margarita, for which the latest corrections he made in 1940, on the deathbed, blind, dictating to his wife, Maria Sergeevna, who apparently inspired the character of Margaret.The White Guard is a work portraying a historical reality The focus is on the Whites, normally depicted in Soviet literature as evil reactionaries, who are nonetheless ordinary human beings with their own problems, concerns and ideals The novel, same as its stage adaptation The Days of the Turbins, had an extremely complex history Written between 22 24, and receiving numerous substantial revisions later, it was originally conceived as the first volume of a trilogy portraying the entire sweep of the post revolutionary Civil War from a number of different points of view Although the first and only volume was criticized for showing events from the viewpoints of the Whites, the third volume would apparently have given the perspective of the Communists Many chapters of the novel were published separately in literary journals as they appeared The ending of the novel the sequence of dreams never appeared because the journal it was due to be printed in, was shut down by official order, precisely because it was publishing such material as Bulgakov s The novel only appeared complete in Russian, having been proofread by the author, in 1929 in Paris The background is the Civil War in Kiev after the Bolshevik Revolution The novel starts with December 1918 and ends in February 1919, and it portrays a series of conflicting events happening during the confrontations between the three main armed forces Whites Tsarist Empire, Ukrainian Nationalists and Bolsheviks Communists that were trying to dispute and gain the power and authority of the City aka Kiev , and consequently of the Country aka Ukraine.As for the major protagonists, the novel unfolds the story of the Turbins, a noble but now in poverty family, broadly moderate Tsarists in their view, and therefore anti Bolsheviks but, being ethnically Russian, have no sympathy with the Ukrainian Nationalists either, and so end up fighting for the White Guards At the beginning of the novel, apparently, we are still in the world of the old Russia, with artistic and elegant furniture dating from the Tsarist era, there is a piano, books and high quality pictures on the walls There is the Turbins warm flat, in which the family can take refuge from the events outside, however the general atmosphere is nonetheless of fear for the future, and great apprehension at the world collapsing The novel ends with a series of sinister apocalyptic dreams which foresee the catastrophe for the society, as a whole, and, of family, as its cell of unity Maybe I was being drifted a bit too far away, but, for a massive part of the novel, I felt like re watching the movie The Barber of Siberia, released in 1998 and directed by Nikita Mikhalkov Needless to say that I had to stop my flowing reading for a while and went on you tube to watch some couples of scenes from the movie Nostalgia showered on me recalling that I have watched it first time in a Moscow cinema, 20 years ago, directly in its Russian talking version which, sadly, I didn t understand much, but then I watched the English version and everything turned to pure light Additionally, most critics attacked it furiously for various reasons, but I just loved it I still love itThe only thing is that in the movie, opening with the Tsarist atmosphere of 1885, there is no openly engaged war, at least not as the one to break up starting with the WW1, continuing with the 1917 Bolsheviks revolutions, the Civil War and then Stalin dictatorship.Surprisingly for such a big novel normally it would have taken me some good days I felt in a rush to read it through As a matter of fact, I found myself sympathizing with the Turbins, the two brothers and sister, even if it doesn t necessarily mean that I was in some partial agreement with the actions that they felt compelled to do I enjoyed the story in its real, dramatic and tragic sense I felt that Bulgakov really loved his characters, despite their weaknesses In a way, it can be that the author himself identified with the overall story and it can be interpreted, on a different layer, as a autobiography.A Theatrical Novel Notes of a Deceased , or, in other versions, Black Snow or White Snow.This is a very interesting piece of text about the theatre and life within theatre It is regarded as a strong satire on events in the Soviet theatre in November 1936 after Bulgakov eventually resigned from the management of MHAT Moscow Arts Academic Theatre and his play Moliere was vigorously attacked by the Communists and rejected from being put on stage On a different angle, if we follow just the narrative thread, Theatrical Novel can be seen as the story of the destiny of White Guard and its play adaptation, The Days of the Turbins, in other words, it s the story of a story.It starts with a short introduction, allegedly by an author who has found a manuscript written by a so called theatrical personage who has committed suicide The style is very direct and harsh Bulgakov takes a swipe at censorship and the vicious and abject authorities of the theatre world, dealing savagely with the reputations of those people that lead the theatre, who are seen as some tyrannical figures who crush the individuality and flair of writers and actors in the plays they are directing.The manuscript ends inconclusively, with the dead writer still proclaiming his wonder at the nature of theatre itself, despite its intrigues and frustrations the initial author who has found the manuscript does not reappear, and it s uncertain whether the point is that the theatrical figure left his memories uncompleted, or whether in fact Bulgakov failed to finish his original project It leaves room to imagine some possible scenarios, for those who love to use their imagination generosity


  4. MJ Nicholls MJ Nicholls says:

    Before Bulgakov wrote several of the most exquisite Russian satires known to woman, he toyed in the Tolstoyan mode with this wartime chronicle set during the Ukrainian War of Independence, featuring a cast of terror pocked soldiers and wives A mixture of poetic reflection on the changing face of Ukraine, action sequences, domestic turmoil, and dreamlike digressions, the novel is an overlooked historical tude, trumped by the arrival of masterpieces like Heart of a Dog and The Fatal Eggs, not de Before Bulgakov wrote several of the most exquisite Russian satires known to woman, he toyed in the Tolstoyan mode with this wartime chronicle set during the Ukrainian War of Independence, featuring a cast of terror pocked soldiers and wives A mixture of poetic reflection on the changing face of Ukraine, action sequences, domestic turmoil, and dreamlike digressions, the novel is an overlooked historical tude, trumped by the arrival of masterpieces like Heart of a Dog and The Fatal Eggs, not devoid of humour, although most certainly an attempt at a grand literary statement to make the Moscow literati spit their stolichnaya the novel remained unpublished until the 1960s


  5. Janet Janet says:

    Bulgakov s elegant first novel about the unfolding of the October revolution in Kiev referred to as The City in the novel has been rereleased by the wonderful independent publisher Melville House this year, in the Michael Glenny translation Outstanding.Told through multiple points of view, the book centers upon two days in the Russian Civil war, December 13 and 14, 1918, when the city of Kiev, up to then controlled by the Ukrainian Hetman Skoropadsky, a German puppet and ally of the Monarchis Bulgakov s elegant first novel about the unfolding of the October revolution in Kiev referred to as The City in the novel has been rereleased by the wonderful independent publisher Melville House this year, in the Michael Glenny translation Outstanding.Told through multiple points of view, the book centers upon two days in the Russian Civil war, December 13 and 14, 1918, when the city of Kiev, up to then controlled by the Ukrainian Hetman Skoropadsky, a German puppet and ally of the Monarchist Russians, falls to the armies of Petlyura, a Ukranian peasant nationalist, a figure of mystery and rumor The enemy of the Whites, Petlyura s troops especially target the Russian officers who have supported the corrupt Skoropadsky and the Russian imperialist presence As Faulkner said, the past is not over It is not even past.The heart of the novel is the family of the Turbins, Alexei, a doctor returning from WWI, his little brother Nikolai, 17 and a cadet at the Russian military academy, and their sister Elena, the muse of a circle of Alexei s officer friends, each quickly but masterfully drawn, as well as the Turbin s comic foil, Vasily Lisovich, known as Vasilisa after the folk heroine Vasilisa the Beautiful an almost Doestoyevskian idiot who is the Turbin s downstairs neighbor.Admirably told, the novel reveals the hand of Bulgakov the dramatist as well as that of the prose artist I especially admired the skill in passing the story from one point of view to another, the brilliant timing The dreams and Alexei Turbin s delirium in a fever from typhus very much herald the arrival of the surrealist Master and Margarita, as well as recalling some of thefeverish moments of The Magic Mountain.The White Guard beautifully portrays the chaos of a civil war, in which rumor is only contradicted by actual shooting, in which someone s giving you orders one minute and in the next, jumps on a train heading for Germany, or simply disappears There is no clearcut good or bad in this book, except for loyalty itself Although it describes the taking of Kiev from the White side, it shows that the real loyalty in this world lives in one s family the Turbins and friends the officers , a total stranger who saves your life, or a superior who holds his ground in the face of a dissolving defense Bulgakov, it was said, had a very happy home life growing up, and the affection and mutual aid of the three Turbins and their household definitely reflects that The prose work was published in 1925 as a magazine serial, but the magazine folded before the serial was complete The popular play based on this story ran in Soviet Russia from 1926 to 1941 though the book did not appear until 1966 Stalin was said to have seen the play many times, and it probably saved Bulgakov s life The Master and Margarita was farpolitically questionable and never saw the light of day in Bulgakov s lifetime


  6. Laura Laura says:

    From BBC Radio 4 Extra 1 2 Kiev is protected by an uneasy alliance Two brothers discover it s a bad time to be Tsarist Stars Paul Hilton and James Loye.2 2 The Turbin brothers find their survival skills tested, and Elena is driven to intense prayer http www.bbc.co.uk programmes b00761h8 From BBC Radio 4 Extra 1 2 Kiev is protected by an uneasy alliance Two brothers discover it s a bad time to be Tsarist Stars Paul Hilton and James Loye.2 2 The Turbin brothers find their survival skills tested, and Elena is driven to intense prayer http www.bbc.co.uk programmes b00761h8


  7. Jayaprakash Satyamurthy Jayaprakash Satyamurthy says:

    I wasn t sure if Bulgakov s first novel, described as a historical novel about the fortunes of the city of Kiev in the year 1918, as the repercussions of the Russian revolution and the tail end of the first world war play out, would be as good as his satirical masterpieces, The Master And Margarita and Black Snow It certainly is Bulgakov was a literary genius, that s the only conclusion I can draw Not only does he maintain complete control over a narrative that segues constantly from the pano I wasn t sure if Bulgakov s first novel, described as a historical novel about the fortunes of the city of Kiev in the year 1918, as the repercussions of the Russian revolution and the tail end of the first world war play out, would be as good as his satirical masterpieces, The Master And Margarita and Black Snow It certainly is Bulgakov was a literary genius, that s the only conclusion I can draw Not only does he maintain complete control over a narrative that segues constantly from the panoramic to the personal, he keeps finding memorable motifs and metaphors to bring his tale to life There is an entire section where he describes people s expressions and states of minds in terms of clock hand positions It seems like a subjective, potentially opaque conceit, but Bulgakov makes it work brilliantly A good deal of his tale is told through dreams again something potentially confusing and tedious that he does incredibly well His talent for invoking the truly fantastic was evident in The Master, as was his facility with conjuring the bad numinous Here, in an early vision of heaven, he brings us face to face with an equally convincing vision of divinity, both comforting and chilling There are numerous bravura scenes of crowds and action, and of the thoughts and experiences of a his focus characters This novel is also amazingly well structured, casting out a bewildering array of narrative threads that are all woven together into a tight, immaculate narrative tapestry The novel ends with a virtuoso display of oneiric head hopping which culminates in a passage which shows where the true strength of this novel lies not in its many technical merits and literary flourishes, amazing though they are but in its strong sense of the pathos of human destiny


  8. Kerry Kerry says:

    A trip to Kiev cannot be complete without a little Bulgakov A museum dedicated to the master lies just off of St Andrew s Descent, a cobblestone street passing from St Sophia s cathedral down to the Dneiper The museum is contained in House No 13 where, at one time, Mikhail Bulgakov and his family lived While The White Guard is not as widely known as The Master and Margarita which Salman Rushdie drew upon heavily for Midnight s Children , it provides a better sense of Ukraine and, pa A trip to Kiev cannot be complete without a little Bulgakov A museum dedicated to the master lies just off of St Andrew s Descent, a cobblestone street passing from St Sophia s cathedral down to the Dneiper The museum is contained in House No 13 where, at one time, Mikhail Bulgakov and his family lived While The White Guard is not as widely known as The Master and Margarita which Salman Rushdie drew upon heavily for Midnight s Children , it provides a better sense of Ukraine and, particularly, Kiev.House No 13 in Kiev provides the place, while 1918 and Ukrainian civil war provides the setting The story is about the survival of the Turbin family in the midst of this upheaval Bulgakov s writing is transcendent For many years before her death, in the house at No 13 St Alexei s Hill, little Elena, Alexei the eldest and baby Nikolka had grown up in the warmth of the tiled stove that burned in the dining room How often they had followed the story of Peter the Great in Holland, The Shipwright of Saardam , portrayed on its glowing hot dutch tiles how often the clock had played its gavotte and always towards the end of December there had been a smell of pine needles and candles burning on evergreen branches. But clocks are fortunately quite immortal, as immortal as the Shipwright of Saardam, and however bad the times might be, the tiled Dutch stove, like a rock of wisdom, was always there to radiate life and warmth p.10 The tiled stove, upon which many political and apolitical messages are written, is nearly a character in its own right The life it gives is not only comfort, but humor too Then printed on the stove in capitals, in Nikolka s hand I herby forbid the scribbling of nonsense on this stove Any comrade found guilty of doing so will be shot and deprived of civil rights Signed Abraham Goldblatt,Ladies, Gentlemen s and Women s Tailor.Commissar, Podol District Committee.30th January 1918.Bulgakov s mastery of these slices of life make this an ideal book for reading while in Kiev The city comes alive with a personality that might otherwise have gone unnoticed Reading how things were, while seeing how things are makes both the past and the present striking.This book has not only history, but action too The stakes are incredibly high Characters are shot, they are robbed characters live, they die The politics of the novel provide a roiling backdrop, though I do not think politics is the point The intersection of politics and daily life, particularly when politics has brought war, is a fascinating topic and one that Bulgakov explores, but never in a heavy handed manner The political is merely backdrop to the personal Something had settled in Alexei s chest like a stone and he whistled as he breathed, drawing in through bared teeth a sticky, thin stream of air that barely penetrated to his lungs He had long ago lost consciousness and neither saw nor understood what was going on around him Elena stood and looked The professor took her by the arm and whispered Go now, Elena Vasilievna, we ll do all there is to do Elena obeyed and went out But the professor did not do anythingp 275 This moment, to me, was perfect Bulgakov has captured the essence of this type of situation The only thing the professor could do for Alexei was to reassure Elena.Bulgakov brilliantly sketches even minor characters Outside of House No 13, a war is raging Several family members are involved and, in this way, the reader is provided a view of the wider world and the characters that inhabit it Perhaps my favorite is this troubling scene in which the janitor, drafted into service as coroner, is helping Nikolka, the younger brother, find Colonel Nais Turs, Nikolka s fallen comrade in arms.Moving carefully in order not to slip on the floor, Fyodor grasped Nais Turs by the head and pulled hard A flat chested, broad hipped woman was lying face down across Nai s stomach There was a cheap little comb in the hair at the back of her neck, glittering dully, like a fragment of glass Without stopping what he was doing Fyodor deftly pulled it out, dropped it into the pocket of his apron and gripped NaiTurs under the armpits As it was pulled out of the pile his head lolled back, his sharp, unshaven chin pointed upwards and one arm slipped from the janitor s grasp p.271 Bulgakov keeps the plot taut and the reader engaged This book requires little suspension of disbelief The White Guard is realist, unlike the muchfanciful The Master and Margarita Bulgakov does, however, add a touch of the supernatural And while the book is political enough to have been suppressed by Stalin, the question of which of the three sides fighting the war is right is never really posed, much less answered The interesting questions all pertain to the individual and, , to a family trying to survive a civil war The primary loyalties are personal which, in Ukraine as elsewhere, reflects reality The book is ambivalent toward political loyalties and the revolutions borne of having putting those loyalties before the personal The author, as surely as the characters, must have had little enthusiasm for revolutionary politics.In the end, perhaps the highest praise I can give is that it would be difficult to read The White Guard without becoming attached to the Turbin family Perhaps, this,than any overt politics, is why the novel was banned in the Stalinist Soviet Union


  9. Leah Leah says:

    Blood is cheap on those red fields It is 1918, and Kiev in the Ukraine is at the swirling centre of the forces unleashed by war and revolution The three Turbin siblings live in the house of their recently deceased mother in the city They are White Russians, still loyal to the Russian Tsar, hoping against hope that he may have escaped the Bolsheviks and be living still But there are other factions too the German Army have installed a puppet leader, the Hetman Skoropadsky, and the Ukrania Blood is cheap on those red fields It is 1918, and Kiev in the Ukraine is at the swirling centre of the forces unleashed by war and revolution The three Turbin siblings live in the house of their recently deceased mother in the city They are White Russians, still loyal to the Russian Tsar, hoping against hope that he may have escaped the Bolsheviks and be living still But there are other factions too the German Army have installed a puppet leader, the Hetman Skoropadsky, and the Ukranian peasantry are on the march in a nationalist movement, under their leader Petlyura This is the story of a few short days when the fate of the city seems up for grabs, and the lives of the Turbins, like so many in those turbulent times, are under constant threat Great and terrible was the year of Our Lord 1918, of the Revolution the second Its summer abundant with warmth and sun, its winter with snow, highest in its heaven stood two stars the shepherds star, eventide Venus and Mars quivering, red. I found the beginning of this book rather difficult because I had no idea who all the various factions and real life characters were, nor what they were attempting to achieve But I soon realised that in this I differed less from the fictional characters than I first thought This is a book about confusion and betrayal, shifting allegiances, chaos and fear Bulgakov takes a panoramic approach, following one character and then panning off to another This gives it an episodic feel and adds to the sense of events moving too quickly for the people involved ever to fully grasp The Turbins actually aren t in it a lot of the time, but they provide a thread for us to catch at in the maze, and a human side to the story for us to care about.One of the early episodes tells the story of the soldier Victor, a friend of the Turbins, who with 39 companions is ordered to defend the city from the approaching forces of Petlyura Ill equipped and insufficiently clothed for the extreme cold, two of the men die of frostbite and the rest are lucky to survive They achieve nothing While reading this, I was simultaneously reading the beginning of Trotsky sHistory of the Russian Revolution , where he talks of the mass mobilisation of workers and peasants into the Russian army to fight against Germany in WW1 His description of the ill trained, poorly equipped troops dying needlessly in vast numbers is chillingly similar and I found that each book lent verisimilitude to the other.Although the Turbins are on the side of the Tsar, the book itself doesn t seem to take a political stance If anything, it paints an equally despicable picture of all the various faction leaders, as cowards hiding behind the men they send carelessly to their deaths As senior officers on all sides run into hiding, middle ranking officers are left to decide whether to make a stand or disband their troops, many of them nothan young boys in cadet corps It gives an only too credible feeling for the chaos in the city, for people not knowing what s happening, and for each new rumour spreading like wildfire Amidst all this, we see odd glimpses of life continuing boys out playing in the snow, workers making their way to their jobs, people shopping Through the Turbin brothers, Nikolka and Alexei, we see the battle each man must individually face between fear and heroism, while Elena, their sister, must wait at home, praying for their safety.In the gaps between scenes of extreme brutality, Bulgakov lets us glimpse his love for the city He describes the streets his characters pass through, the alleyways they use to escape, the ancient cathedral, the huge statue of Saint Vladimir on the hill above the city But we are never allowed to forget the approaching threat But the brightest light of all was the white cross held by the gigantic statue of St Vladimir atop Vladimir Hill It could be seen from far, far away and often in summer, in thick black mist, amid the osier beds and tortuous meanders of the age old river, the boatmen would see it and by its light would steer their way to the City and its wharves In winter the cross would glow through the dense black clouds, a frozen unmoving landmark towering above the gently sloping expanse of the eastern bank, whence two vast bridges were flung across the river One, the ponderous Chain Bridge that led to the right bank suburbs, the other high, slim and urgent as an arrow that carried the trains from where, far away, crouched another city, threatening and mysterious Moscow. As the chaos worsens, so we see the atrocities that are never far from war the criminals jumping on the lack of order to terrorise an already demoralised citizenry, the bodies left unidentified and unclaimed in the City s morgue, the wounded frightened to seek help for fear of capture Not quite knowing who every faction was made it evenunsettling, though I wondered if Bulgakov s first readers would have known, and so might have read it differently A truly brilliant book that, while concentrating on one small city, gives a brutal and terrifyingly believable picture of the horrors unleashed in the wake of bloody revolution And here we are, one hundred years later, with Moscow again invading the Ukraine this troubled and divided territory still fighting what is essentially the same war The snow would just melt, the green Ukranian grass would grow again and weave its carpet over the earth The gorgeous sunrises would come again The air would shimmer with heat above the fields and notraces of blood would remain Blood is cheap on those red fields and no one would redeem it.No one. www.fictionfanblog.wordpress.com


  10. Ian Ian says:

    Written in the 1920s, but this early Bulgakov novel touches on some topical issues like Ukrainian nationalism and the relationship between the Ukrainian and Russian languages Plus a change More than that though, it s a drama about a family caught up in the collapse of their society The middle class Turbin family live in Kiev but are ethnic Russians, monarchists and generally firm adherents to the old social order But the Tsarist Empire has collapsed and the family are swept up in a 3 way Written in the 1920s, but this early Bulgakov novel touches on some topical issues like Ukrainian nationalism and the relationship between the Ukrainian and Russian languages Plus a change More than that though, it s a drama about a family caught up in the collapse of their society The middle class Turbin family live in Kiev but are ethnic Russians, monarchists and generally firm adherents to the old social order But the Tsarist Empire has collapsed and the family are swept up in a 3 way conflict involving the Bolsheviks, the Whites and the Ukrainian nationalists Confusion is the dominant theme Soldiers on the frontline do their duty unaware their generals have already abandoned them crowds listen to political speeches without having any idea who or what they are listening to and ordinary people have no notion of what is happening 10 miles outside the city Throughout the chaos the Turbins and their friends try to maintain their loyalty to each other, the only anchor they have left.The novel s portrayal of the anti Bolshevik Turbins is entirely sympathetic Unsurprisingly its publication at the time was blocked and Bulgakov was marked down as a counter revolutionary A modified version was however produced for the stage under the title Days of the Turbins and apparently many in the audiences were deeply affected by Bulgakov s recreation of the terrible days of 1918 19 Another well crafted novel by this truly great writer