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The Heart of a Dog by Mikhail Bulgakov
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One of the marks of a good translation is that the reader does not feel as if he or she is reading one. This is certainly the case with Michael Glenny’s translation of Bulgakov’s The Heart of a Dog.

This book was completed in the USSR in 1925, but was not published in that country, or anywhere else, until 1987, 47 years after the author died.

The short novel was written during the era when Soviet science included Ivan Pavlov (of salivating dog fame) and Trofim Lysenko (of dubious genetics fame) amongst its doyens. One of principal characters in the book, the fictional Professor Preobrazhensky, a great surgeon, appears to be one of these.

His life turns upside down when he performs a peculiar series of operations on a stray dog, which he has befriended and christened ‘Sharik’. The dog recovers from these, and quickly begins to turn into a human being. So much so, that after a while he is able to get a job in the Moscow Municipality killing cats.

Sharik’s personality is entirely at odds with the highly refined old-fashioned (reactionary) prof. Sharik is susceptible to the house committee’s socialist way of thinking, drunkenness, and other forms of what might today be described as ‘yobbish’ behaviour.

Having now read this entertaining, rather strange story, I can well undertand why the Soviet censors suppressed this subversive little tale until 1987!
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Reading Progress

June 29, 2012 – Started Reading
June 29, 2012 – Shelved
July 6, 2012 –
page 20
July 8, 2012 –
page 42
July 8, 2012 –
page 66
July 9, 2012 –
page 88
July 13, 2012 – Finished Reading

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