Tuesday, November 11, 2008

The Fatal Eggs - post I

With his background in science and medicine Bulgakov confidently weaves a story that in many respects is similar to A Dog's Heart.

Just as with that story there is a professor Persikov beavering away in his lab in Moscow trying to make a breakthrough in his field, which concerns frogs. He discovers, almost by accident a ray of life that makes everything in its path grow at an incredibly fast rate. Before long the news of his discovery has spread across moscow and he is besieged by journalists.

Where A Dog's Heart was concerned with the politics of shared housing and a dumbed down intellectualism that threatened to hand the stupid the chance to lead this is also about journalism.

The professor at the heart of the story, Persikov, is a victim of tabloid journalism that makes his brief utterances long passages that land him in even more hot water. There is one great exchange when the professor asks the secret police if they can not rid him of the problem:

"And is it not possible for you to shoot the reporters?' asked Persikov, looking over the top of his glasses.
This question amused the guests greatly. Not only the gloomy small one, but even the tinted one in the entrance hall smiled. The angel, sparkling and beaming, explained that for the moment, hm... of course, it would be a good thing... but, you see, the press, after all... although, actually, a plan like that is already taking shape in the Council of Labour and Defence..."

The rest of this short book will be concluded tomorrow with the professor no doubt being drafted in with his ray of life to help repopulate the Russian chicken world following a plague that has wiped out poultry. No doubt the experiments will lead to something horrendous. Just like they did in real life when old Uncle Joe was steering the good ship USSR.

More tomorrow...

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