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The heart of a dog [by] Mikhail Bulgakov; translated from the Russian [Manuscript] by Michael Glenny [Hardcover]

Mikhail (1891-1940) Bulgakov
4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (33 customer reviews)

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 128 pages
  • Publisher: London Collins; Harvill P. (1968)
  • ASIN: B0006D7CU2
  • Product Dimensions: 20.8 x 14 x 1.6 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (33 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 4,897,325 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
44 of 44 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An Absurd Masterpiece 20 Jan 2006
By M. S. Bowden VINE VOICE
Format:Paperback
Completed by Bulgakov in 1925, this short story remained unpublished in the Soviet Union for almost sixty years. When it finally appeared on Soviet bookshelves in 1987 it became an instant hit and is arguably seen as on of the author’s most hard-hitting novels. Not for nothing did Stalin’s censors deem this book too sensitive for publication.
‘The Heart of a Dog’ is the absurd story of a stray dog, who is taken in from the streets by a well-known, well-off Professor named Philip Philipovich Preobrazhensky in order that he may attempt a groundbreaking operation; the transplantation of human testicles and pituitary gland into the dog. The operation is successful; however the Professor has produced an intolerable being which resembles a human of revolutionary sentiment with a dog-like penchant for chasing cats.
The story is enjoyable in and of itself, and one must congratulate Bulgakov for his imagination and inventiveness – forced upon him by the oppressive intellectual climate of his time - in thinking up such a tale. In addition, It is very easy to read and interesting for its portrayal of the atmosphere in a bourgeois household in 1920s Moscow. There are also a number of other levels to the book and various interpretations of what Bulgakov’s true message was. It is worth noting, for example, that Professor Preobrazhensky’s name is a derivative of the Slavic word for ‘transfiguration’, and the book is ostensibly about failed attempts to improve upon human nature. Thus, Bulgakov may be seen to be either ridiculing Soviet attempts to create communist supermen or attacking science’s interference with nature.
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16 of 16 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Woof! 26 Jun 2008
By demola
Format:Paperback
We had Behemoth the cat in "The Master And Magarita". Now it's Sharik the dog. Sharik the hungry waif dog picked up by the brilliant scientist Preobrazhensky and fed until the fat canine starts to believe that he's entitled to the good life. But in life nothing is free. Once upon a day Sharik is drugged for a very unusual operation - the brilliant surgeon replaces the dog's genitals and pituitary glands with human ones. The dog survives the operation against all odds and then astonishingly starts to speak and behave human. Before you could say Jack Robinson rumours are flying all over Moscow and everyone wants in on the secret. The human-dog reads, attends the theatre, gets a job and is even made a citizen.

There won't be a story if that was the end of it. It wasn't and it's not long before the experiment goes horribly wonky. Preobrazhensky must now decide how to cure his monstrous construct. The story is absurd of course but it is so off the wall funny you can't put it down. When a story begins in the first person spoken by a dog with guile and a salacious sense of humour then one's fate is sealed - the book must be read.

It is well known that Bulgakov's tale is an indictment against Bolshevism. Written in 1925 the story of how a brilliant Lenin created a monster out of the proletariat was not the sort of reading material suitable for comrades. History and hindsight may now show us clearly the fault lines of Leninism but it was clear to some others within 10 years of the revolution as demonstrated by Preobrazhensky's rather incautious musings. Another 10 years and Stalin would have made mince meat of this rather proud and rash gentleman.

It is irrelevant if you have no interest in Russia or its history. This book stands on its own three feet. Outstanding.
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Satirical Masterpiece 16 Aug 2009
Format:Paperback
Being a Surgeon myself, I read this short story with great amusement. Professor Preobrazhensky, apparently altruistically, takes from off the streets, a wretched and scalded mongrel dog, named 'Sharik'.
Sharik, having started off the book, with his perambulations around Moscow; makes it clear to us, that he already has a degree of consciousness.
The Professor, a respectable world acclaimed Surgeon/ Scientist lives in some comfort in a seven roomed apartment in Moscow doubling as a consulting room and operating theatre. Here Sharik is revived and rapidly improves his physical condition.
As Sharik is beginning to trust, and feel an intense loyalty to the Professor, the situation changes dramatically. Chloroformed and manhandled, poor Sharik has the testicles and pituitary gland of a recently deceased man implanted into his 'person'.
Expecting post operative death soon after this ground breaking operation, the plucky Mongrel comes to the brink and then appears to recover with hilarious consequences.
This is where the book really takes off. After 8 days post op, the dog is heard pronouncing the word 'nessetaciled' or 'delicatessen' (backwards), soon after he stands on his hind legs, and soon after this, is heard calling the Professor a 'bloody bastard'.

Without spoiling the story further, this appalling creature with diabolical instincts starts to attempt to dominate the household, using the muscle of the local housing committee in the apartment block to disenfrachise the Professor.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Classic Bulgakov: quirky and amusing
I don't really go in much for social commentary, I like to read for the entertainment, so mainly see 'just the story' in most cases. Read more
Published 1 month ago by hellkatjen
5.0 out of 5 stars Great Product.
I would definitely recommend it to anyone who is interested in this subject. Amazon is the best value for money.
Published 2 months ago by O SHYNKARUK
5.0 out of 5 stars brilliant!
excellent story by a true master..a must read for all Bulgakov fans. arrived promptly perfectly packaged against all the elemts
Published 3 months ago by TC
5.0 out of 5 stars A brilliant black comedy
If you like black humour, satirical wit and great writing, then you will enjoy Bulgarkov's little masterpiece. Read more
Published 3 months ago by R. Newton
5.0 out of 5 stars one or the best book i ever read
it's fanny, very enjoyable. of course it much better in Russian. I would recommend to anyone. one always find something resembling sharikov in himself.
Published 6 months ago by sasha
5.0 out of 5 stars Tremendous fun
After The Master and Margarita, I was all ready to be disappointed with The Heart Of A Dog and my low expectations were rewarded with a romp around Moscow's streets that was a... Read more
Published 8 months ago by Alexander McNabb
5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant if absurd Bulgakov short story on the creation of a...
Bulgakov's short story 'The Heart of a Dog' had to wait approximately 60 years to be published in his home country, as it was seen as much too subversive for common consumption. Read more
Published 8 months ago by AK
5.0 out of 5 stars Funny but thought-provoking
Classic Bulgakov. Amusing, and light-hearted but also raised questions of what it means to be human. I'd highly recommend this.
Published 9 months ago by Craig Andrew Henry
5.0 out of 5 stars Great read
Love this book, the humour and the crazy story. I found myself laughing alone while in the tube.
A must read for those commuting journeys.
Published 11 months ago by M. Munro
3.0 out of 5 stars dog's life
I felt the book was using the storyline more then it's character depth to reflect on the events of 1918. Read more
Published 14 months ago by escorial
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