IF you ever get pushed on one of those questions about who is your favourite writer then the usual response is to fudge it and say that it depends on your mood or when you read them.
But I am becoming more and more convinced that my answer to that question now would still involve the usual get-out clauses but would also mention that Mikhail Bulgakov has to be close.
The reasons for that is a combination of good writing and great characterisation but also a writer with a mission. This is someone who literally risked everything to write and prized it above all else that he risked time and time again the wrath of the Stalinist state.
Sadly there aren’t that many works and in the hunt for more of his work I have picked up this book.
It feels autobiographical in the sense it is about a writer who has his book turned down by the state because it fails to pass the censors. He is dragged into the literary establishment and almost destroyed by it. But he is saved by the entrance of a publisher who wants to publish his book and then a theatre owner who is prepared to put on his play.
The story feels like something from Kafka with the publishers office changing every time he visits until finally it is gone forever. Strange but very interesting.