Steve Evans's Reviews > Heart of a Dog

Heart of a Dog by Mikhail Bulgakov
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's review
Mar 31, 2012

really liked it
Read in May, 2011

This savage attack on the urge to reform the unreformable in man was read aloud by its author over two sessions to a literary circle in Moscow in the 1920s, while the fledgling Soviet Union still allowed some freedom of expression. Permission to publish was not granted, and Bulgakov's career skitterd sideways. Ironically, he was saved by Stalin, who found one of his plays funny. Bulgakov was never arrested, and died of natural causes in 1939.

Russians found this a wonderful satire on the impossible difficulties of life in the Soviet Union when it finally appeared in the 1980s, as they did Bulgakov's longer novel, The Master and Margherita. Non-Russians unfamiliar with the absurdities of Soviet life may not find it so funny, but it should be rewarding nonetheless as its theme is broader than its political undertones.

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