TRANSLATED BY MICHAEL GLENNY
With the ink still wet on his diploma, the twenty-five-year-old Dr Mikhail Bulgakov was flung into the depths of rural Russia which, in 1916-17, was still largely unaffected by such novelties as the motor car, the telephone or electric light. How his alter-ego copes (or fails to cope) with the new and often appalling responsibilities of a lone doctor in a vast country practice - on the eve of Revolution - is described in Bulgakov's delightful blend of candid realism and imaginative exuberance.
"Stories as keen and bright as a scalpel... Courage shines from every angle of this profoundly human collection by the greatest of modern Russian writers"
"A marvellous writer"
"The oil lamps of his little provincial hospital seemed to him a lonely beacon which symbolised the battle between light and darkness... These straighforward yet extraordinary sketches gain their strength from also being the account of a young man's growth. One begins to see that he became a novelist not because he had material but because he was storing up passion and temperament"
"Wryly funny and fascinating"
"Blizzards blow, wolves run loose in the forests, the doctor duels with Death, who is never satisfied"
The nights are drawing in. Halloween movies are everywhere. But it’s not all about Hitchcock: there’s nothing quite as terrifying as a good ghost story. Make sure you’ve got a blanket to hide behind – here are monsters, ghosts, magical islands and talking cats.
They broke boundaries and challenged conceptions. We asked you for your must-read classics; from timeless non-fiction to iconic bestsellers, these are your essential recommends. Books ranked in no particular order. Jump to: 25 | 50 | 75 | 100