Mikhail Bulgakov‘s “Heart of a Dog” was my first introduction to the author. I was interested in reading “The Master and Margarita” but as it was a longer book, I didn’t want to get caught up in some type of surreal, Kafka-esque reading experience nightmare (as I hate to start a book and then not finish it).
So, “Heart of a Dog” was well worth the experience and put me on to The Master and Margarita. “Heart of a Dog” feels like Ralph Steadman and Hunter S. Thompson before there was a Ralph Steadman and Hunter S. Thompson. In a nutshell, the story is set in the midst of communist Russia where some people are “more equal” than others and a brilliant scientist performs complicated operations for people of importance. Meanwhile, the scientist is battling the equivalent of a homeowner’s association in his apartment building whom are accusing him of unjustly taking up too much space.
In the midst of this domestic and economic chaos, the scientist/doctor is also attempting to perform a first time experiment of transplanting a human pituitary gland into the brain of a dog. The dog eventually ends up transforming into a man, demanding its rights, and figuratively biting the hand that fed it.
It’s well worth the ride and seems a great promise regarding “The Master and Margarita.”