Monday, September 16, 2013

"The grass grows over the graves, time overgrows the pain"

And Quiet Flows The Don by Nobel Prize winner Michail Sholokhov

During my recent vacation in Turkey, I read And Quiet Flows The Don, an epic 1936 novel by Nobel Prize winner Michail Sholokhov. My girlfriend Sarah had bought the four-volume behemoth at a flea market during our earlier summer trip to De Panne. The Quiet Don is not quite easy poolside material, but it was definitely a fascinating trip through the life of the early 20th-century Don Cossacks.

The Don chronicles the life of Gregor Melekhov, a carefree Cossack tomcat who develops into a decorated veteran of war during World War I, the Russian Revolution, and Civil War. In peacetime, Gregor shames his family by publicly romancing their neighbor's wife, Aksinia. At his father's insistence, Gregor takes a wife, Natalya, but his love for Aksinia still burns strong.

And Quiet Flows The Don is an eloborate and extensive tour de force. In true Wuthering Heights fashion, the River Don is essentially an additional character, and the depth of the other protagonists is nothing short of remarkable. If you are up for some hefty reading, and you are interested in the Russian Revolution, then The Don is just for you.

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