Wednesday, 11 May 2011

Black Snow by Mikhail Bulgakov (3/5)


The back says: When Maxudov’s novel fails, he attempts suicide. When that fails, he dramatizes his novel.
To Maxudov’s surprise – and resentment of literary Moscow – the play is accepted by the legendary ‘Independent Theatre’ and Maxudov plunged into a vortex of inflated egos.
Each rehearsal sees more and more sparks fly higher and higher… and less and less chance of poor Maxudov’s play ever being performed.

I say: I was excited to read this, and thoroughly enjoyed the story up until Maxudov enters the theatre world, then I feel like Maxudov went from witty and deliciously self-deprecating to just whiny and descriptive. It felt like he became a different person in the theatre, disillusioned as he was, and he spends all this time being fascinated by all these people that have absolutely nothing to do with the plot.

Oh, that’s right, Black Snow is a thinly veiled jab at all the people that Bulgakov encountered in real life.

Needless to say, I was disappointed, but that’ll learn me to get excited about things. I do like Bulgakov’s writing, for the most part, especially when describing the different actors and their petty fights. I just think that, because this subject was so close to heart, he lost track of his main character in the satirical portrayal of his contemporaries. And I am in no mood to sit and dissect all that right now.

I do love the ending, sort of.

According to the foreword by Michael Glenny (The Flamingo edition, Fontana Paperbacks, 1986) Black Snow was unfinished. So, yet another novel I picked up without knowing that the author never finished it.

Note to self: forewords are your friend.

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