Tuesday, December 05, 2006

The White Guard - post IV

If you read the post earlier you will know that this book is being consumed with a smile on the face and eyes keenly scanning each word and it is a real shame that it has come to an end.

Anyway enough of the premature review and the gushing comments about Bulagov’s writing and onto the highlights of today’s reading.

Bullet points between pages 180 – 270

* The blanks are filled in with the story of what happened to Alexei after the story left him ripping off his epaulettes and when he stumbled through the front door injured and it involves him being chased by the Reds and then saved by a woman who takes pity on him

* Back in the Turbin’s home the old faces start to reassemble and there are arguments about being betrayed by the leadership but a truce of sorts is called because fears turn to thoughts of being raided

* Thieves raid the neighbour downstairs and as a result they agree a system of alarm bells to warn each other of trouble but discover that the thieves took the guns that Nikolka had hidden so carefully in the gap between buildings

* The population of the City has no idea what is going on but turns out at the cathedral to greet Petlyura, without any idea of what he looks like or even what he stands for, and cheer on an independent Ukraine

* Things then come to a climax with Alexei’s illness and it seems as if he is going to die from Typhus and there is a moment when the doctor tells Elena, his sister that there is no hope and she starts to pray

* You can feel the rhythmic intensity of her kneeling and kissing the floor in front of the icon as she pleads for her brother to be spared and makes a deal (slightly similar to the End of the Affair deal in Greene’s novel) that she will lose her husband to save her brother

* In a moving passage she is called from her room and her brother has pulled through and not too long afterwards she gets news that her husband has gone into exile in France and is divorcing her so the deal made in the prayers is balanced out

* Carrying out a promise Nikolka made to the colonel who was killed fighting with him he goes to his family and tells them of his death and then helps find the corpse and give him a proper burial

* Alexei returns to practicing medicine and as things become slightly more normal the independent Ukrainian forces disappear and the next stage of the Civil War is ushered in with no one knowing quite what it means for the City or the people who live in it

A full review will appear tomorrow…

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