The White Guard
Translated by Roger Cockrell
Set in the Ukrainian capital of Kiev during the chaotic winter of 1918–19, The White Guard, Bulgakov’s first full-length novel, tells the story of a Russian-speaking family trapped in circumstances that threaten to destroy them. As in Tolstoy’s War and Peace, the narrative centres on the stark contrast between the cosy domesticity of family life on the one hand, and wide-ranging and destructive historical events on the other.
The result is a disturbing, often shocking story – illuminated, however, by shafts of light that testify to people’s resilience, humanity and ability to love in even the most adverse circumstances.
One of the great writers of the twentieth century.
Born in Kiev in 1891 to Russian parents, Mikhail Bulgakov trained as a doctor and volunteered for the Red Cross on the outbreak of the First World War. He later enlisted as a doctor for the anti-Bolshevik White Army, before eventually giving up medicine to concentrate on literature. The Master and Margarita is his most famous work, and has been hailed as one of the greatest novels of the twentieth century.