Customer Review

5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant if absurd Bulgakov short story on the creation of a communist man, 19 Aug. 2013
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This review is from: The Heart Of A Dog (Vintage Classics) (Kindle Edition)
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. In it, Professor Preobrazhensky 'creates' a new kind of creature from a stray dog - Sharik - an experiement that comes to haunt him. The book increasingly turns to the absurd after that but the main message and story get across all the more clearly as a result.

The absurdity definitely adds a quite funny element to the book and it is definitely as entertaining a read as it is an enlightening one. Bulgakov's medical training also shines through, making all but the 'creation' appear much more credible than an author without such training could manage.

Given that the book was written in 1925 one cannot call Bulgakov's work a harbinger of things to come, rather a summary of some of the excesses or problematic developments already present in the Soviet society several years into the communist experiment. Some equate Preobrazhensky with Lenin and this may well have been exactly what the author intended.

If you are interested in understanding the motivations behind the communist experiment, as well as the disillusionment that followed, the book is a wonderful complement to works such as Koestler's Darkness at Noon or Arrival and Departure (Twentieth Century Classics) (the latter more to do with extremism and resistance) and I can warmly recommend it even beyond its literary qualities, impeccable as they are in their own right.
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Review Details

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Reviewer

AK
(TOP 500 REVIEWER)   

Location: London

Top Reviewer Ranking: 358