I am in several minds as to how to review this book. For several reasons…After been introduced to Bulgakov via Diaboliad, Heart of a Dog, The Fatal Eggs, the brilliant Country Doctors Notebook and the timeless classic, The Master and Margarita, I was confirmed as a steadfast devotee of Mikhail. He ranked up there with the best of the best and I was both excited and eager to find The White Guard appearing in my paws…
Bulgakov had done more than enough to persuade me of his astounding ability with wordsmithery. He was jolly, cynical, accurate and able to merge his experiences with story-telling. A truly wonderful talent.
However, it took me close to three months to finish The White Guard. Perhaps…the festive period played its part, as in, little time was available for reading. Perhaps the heat also needs to be taken into account, but the savage gaze of the Sun Goddess has admittedly only proven problematic of late.
Whilst the narrative proved engaging, at times, due solely to the dialogue, the context of everything was maddeningly, if not debilitating, to grasp. There was simply too much chaos. Which makes sense when analyzing the wartime background and foreground of the narrative. Yet still…I expected to be grabbed, and only released from the grasp of the ink on the pages, when the last page found me…Alas, this was not the case.
Several of the characters proved interesting, the story moved at a weird pace of intense and pedestrian, and in all honesty, which I MUST provide for this review to prove in any way useful…I never felt any closer than the position of observer.
For a book to find my appreciation and reverence, it must make me feel as if line by line, page by page, I am voyaging along with the characters. I must become their comrades, feel what they feel, see what they see…And The White Guard, too rarely had that glorious and always sought after effect upon me.
Animal Rating, reluctantly in light of his other classy works, 5/10.