Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Taras Bulba - post III

This book has been described by quite a few people, ranging from Dostoyevsky and Hemingway, in glowing terms and it packs quite a punch in its 141 pages leaving you wondering what on earth makes these Cossacks such hard men.

It is my second Winter Reading Challenge title so just three more to squeeze in over the next few weeks.

Bullet points between pages 99 – 141

* Taras souses the troops as they prepare for a battle with the poles and although many Cossacks are killed they are driving them back but then the gates of the town open and cavalry led by his son emerge

* He manages to get his son Andri trapped in the woods and accuses him of betraying his family, faith and people and shoots him and then witnesses his other son Ostap being captured and only just manages to escape with his own life

* He gets back to the Sech and yearns for news of his son and manages to get in disguise to Warsaw and witnesses him being tortured then executed and heads back fired up and before too long 150,000 Cossacks head to fight off the Poles

* Taras splits from the rest and carries on fighting even after a peace treaty is signed which he rightly predicts is just being used by the Poles to buy more time to destroy the Cossacks

* The story ends with Taras having finally been captured and pinned to a tree and burnt alive but proud of his men escaping and of the victories he has won and Poles he has killed – one of the hardest men I have yet come across in literature

Review posted tomorrow…

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