Buried Treasure

Gillian Slovo on 'The White Guard' by Mikhail Bulgakov
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The Independent Culture

1918, and terror stalks Kiev, the capital of Ukraine The German army, with whom the Ukrainian leader, the Hetman, has allied, stands buffer between the distantly encroaching Bolshevik threat, and the even more menacing army led by a terrifying peasant leader. And there, in the middle of the city, lives the family Turbin, brothers and sister mourning their beloved mother while trying to abide by her last injunction to "go on living and be kind to one another". What follows, shows just how very difficult this will prove to be. Confusion stalks the city in this, one of the best descriptions of the horror, and chaos of war, I have read. Through the bumbling activities of the two main Turbin brothers, we understand the intertwining narratives of betrayal, stupidity and heroism. Mikhail Bulgakov's brilliance has been rediscovered through his last book, The Master and the Margarita. This book is Bulgakov's first fiction, which was once adapted to become Stalin's favourite play until Stalin sudde

1918, and terror stalks Kiev, the capital of Ukraine The German army, with whom the Ukrainian leader, the Hetman, has allied, stands buffer between the distantly encroaching Bolshevik threat, and the even more menacing army led by a terrifying peasant leader. And there, in the middle of the city, lives the family Turbin, brothers and sister mourning their beloved mother while trying to abide by her last injunction to "go on living and be kind to one another". What follows, shows just how very difficult this will prove to be. Confusion stalks the city in this, one of the best descriptions of the horror, and chaos of war, I have read. Through the bumbling activities of the two main Turbin brothers, we understand the intertwining narratives of betrayal, stupidity and heroism. Mikhail Bulgakov's brilliance has been rediscovered through his last book, The Master and the Margarita. This book is Bulgakov's first fiction, which was once adapted to become Stalin's favourite play until Stalin suddenly had it banned. It contains the seeds of the author's later flights of imagination: a story of conflict so terrible it threatens to annihilate even this wondrous City.

Gillian Slovo's 'Ice Road' is published by Little, Brown

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