White Guard by Mikhail Bulgahov - 1925. - translated from the Russian by Marion Schwartz- 2008 - published by Yale University Press - with an introduction by Evgeny Dobrenko
May 15, 1891 Kyiv, Ukraine
March 10, 1940 - Moscow
Earlier this month I read The Master and Margarita by Mikhail Bulgahov
(In the translation by Richard Pevear and Lariosa Volohonsky). I was just mesmerized by this work. I knew I wanted to read more of his fiction. I decided to start my read through of his work with his first novel White Guard.
White Guard begins in Kiev in December of 1918. The city was very damaged by World War One only to now be engulfed in the violence and chaos of the Russian Civil War. The Germans have largely left the city but left their delegate to rule. His authority is Under attack from Ukrainian Nationalist and Socialist forces..The City is also a battle ground for The anti-Bolsevick White Russians and Pro-communist forces. Plus French and English forces are in the City.
The chaos is depicted through the lives of the Turbin Family,
siblings Alexei, Elena, and Nikolka—and their friends Myshlaevsky and Carp.
Bulgahov marvelously reproduced the mind numbing anarchy and danger of the City in his prose. His lists of things are perfect. The only real solution for ordinary people is to stay home, admit no strangers into your house, believe in nothing you have not
seen. Over this Bulgahov creates a vision out of the book of revelations.
There are lots of exciting combat scenes, some pretty frank sexual episodes as people look for distraction, a lot on food issues and some cocaine.
The very informative introduction by Evgeny Dobrenko provides political background to Help sort out all the different fighting groups.
My next of his works will be Black Snow, a satire of Soviet theater, where Bulgahov spent much of his working life, in the 1920s.