White Guard, By Mikhail Bulgakov

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The Independent Culture

Marian Schwartz's pacey and compelling new tranlsation of this most unstuffy classic captures a wonderful chrocicle of the Russian Revolution and its aftermath as a colourful, absurd and even merry cocktail of nightmare and farce.

For the Turbin clan and their mixed fortunes, Bulgakov drew semi-autobiographically on his Kiev relatives (you can still visit their home). Comedy, terror and a matchless sense of intimacy with a warm family ripped apart by history drive White Guard.

The Turbins and their beloved city suffer revolving-door coups until, at last, fate shows its hand and an armoured train pulls in with the "vibrant red star" of Mars (and Lenin) in a winter sky.