A Dog's Heart: An Appalling Story is Mikhail Bulgakov's hilarious satire on Communist hypocrisies. This Penguin Classics edition is translated with notes by Andrew Bromfield, and includes an introduction by James Meek.
In this surreal work by the author of The Master and Margarita, wealthy Moscow surgeon Filip Preobrazhensky implants the pituitary gland and testicles of a drunken petty criminal into the body of a stray dog named Sharik. As the dog slowly transforms into a man, and the man into a slovenly, lecherous government official, the doctor's life descends into chaos. A scathing indictment of the New Soviet Man, A Dog's Heart was immediately banned by the Soviet government when it was first published in 1925: alternating lucid realism with pulse-raising drama, the novel captures perfectly the atmosphere of its rapidly changing times.
Andrew Bromfield's vibrant translation is accompanied by an introduction by James Meek, which places the work in the context of the Russian class struggles of the era and considers the vision, progressive style and lasting relevance of an author who was isolated and suppressed during his lifetime. This edition also contains notes and a chronology.
Mikhail Bulgakov (1891-1940) was born in Kiev, today the capital of Ukraine. After finishing high school, Bulgakov entered the Medical School of Kiev University, graduating in 1916. He wrote about his experiences as a doctor in his early works Notes on Cuffs and Notes of a Young Country Doctor. His later works treated the subject of the artist and the tyrant under the guise of historical characters, but The Master and Margarita is generally considered his masterpiece. Fame, at home and abroad, was not to come until a quarter of a century after his death at Moscow in 1940.
If you enjoyed A Dog's Heart, you might like Bulgakov's The Master and Margarita, also available in Penguin Classics.
'One of the greatest of modern Russian writers, perhaps the greatest'
Nigel Jones, Independent