Tuesday, September 13, 2005
And Quiet Flows The Don
The work of mikhail sholokhov.. can only be compared with tolstoy's WAR and PEACE - Maxim Gorki.The book lives up to the statement of maxim gorki. This is a book which is very close to war and peace in terms of the setting, the panoramic view of the time period and in putting across the futility of war. Think shokhlov might have as well named the book War and Peace part 2 :).
Unlike war and peace which is set in the napoleon era, AQFTD(And Quiete Flows the Don) is set in the early 20 century during the break out of the first world war, the russian revolution and civil war.
The story has a protagonist gregor melekhov.But it is just not about him, it is not about one character's rise or fall. It is a view into a time period. The novel has some 20,30 characters and through them it gives a panoramic view of that time. soldiers, house wife’s, farmers, ex army men, communists and many more type of characters give their view points and weave a tapestry of that time period.
The story is about the cossacks of tatarsk village, situated near the don river.Through gregor and various other characters the author(who himself is a cossack) gives the description of the cossack life style, their culture and beliefs. Their attitude towards family, women etc at the family and community level it made me feel that this is a story that could have taken place anywhere in india.
The book is divided into 4 parts peace, war, revolution and civil war and the story easily switches from a usual family drama, romance style to war and politics. sholokhov sets us up nicely, in the peace part he writes about their easy life style the beauty of the region, their poems, their simple and happy life. You preety much fall in love with the region, slowly after enjoying the cossack life style and beauty in the first part, you are introduced to war, ideologies and various purposes and reasons to fight a battle. The bloodshed continues with the revolution and the civil war. When u r in the fourth part, you feel like you had enough of it, you feel like crying out loud to stop the unnecessary bloodshed.
I dont think that there are any men made of iron. we are all cast of one material. In real life there isn't a man who is without fear in the battle and not a man who can kill people without carrying-without getting morally scratched.Love and war, two painful things depicted very well.
#)This book is supposedly a favourite of JeyaKanthan.
#)It seems it took 14 years for Mikhail sholokhov to write this book. He won the nobel prize for literature in 1965 for AQFTD and other works.
Nobel lauret Mikhail sholokhov