The narrative becomes harder to stick with as Konsantin returns to Kiev because a lot of the wide open countryside that he describes so well disappears from view. So the minute he gets back out in the wilderness there is a distinct feeling of the landscape breathing again and the skill he has describing his surroundings is again accentuated.
Bullet points between pages 174 – 254
* Back at school Konstantin is immersed in the lives of his fellow students and joins them in various capers including one touching episode when the German master who has been writing an Opera for years loses it and all the boys get together and find it restoring the master to his happy self
* There is a reference to Mikhail Bulagov a fellow pupil who went onto become a famous writer and Konstantin makes the point that not only was it a time when greater writers were alive like Tolstoy but the theatre in Kiev was strong and there was a culture that encouraged creative thinking
* To keep his money ticking over he has to take lessons and ends up teaching a general’s daughter who is thick as two short planks but desperate to improve her education to make her more attractive to a husband
* When the holidays come and Konstantin agrees to visit friends of his brother there is a Robin Hood type character that steals from the rich and plagues those within the community that are seen as evil doers reminding you of the backwardness of the vilages
* he finally after a two year break visits his mother in Moscow and discovers that his sister is not only blind but going deaf and realises that he is now divided from that side of his family by distance and experience
* He spends New Year celebrating with an old friend that might become a love interest for the 18 year-old Konstantin and it is left as a possibility as he heads back on the train to Kiev and back to his life of independence
Last few pages tomorrow...