Book Review: Heart of a Dog by Mikhail Bulgakov


Hi everyone! Today I’m going to review a little book called “Heart a of Dog” by Mikhail Bulgakov.

I read the Italian version, I finished it just a couple of days ago and I’m still thinking about it. As I said before, I’ve read “The Master and Margarita” and I’ve loved it, I think it’s an incredible book, and it’s probably the strangest book I’ve ever read. It’s one of those books that kind of strikes at the heart, therefore I was looking to get my hands on something else by the same author.

After reading “Heart of a Dog” I can say that I really appreciate Bulgakov’s style. It’s unique, shrewd and incredibly entertaining. I have to admit the book is not that long, still, I’ve read it in a heartbeat.

(Spoiler alert) The plot is quite simple: it’s basically the story of a stray dog, named Sharik, that gets lured into the home of a famous professor. After a few days Sharik undergoes a “Frankenstein’s style” operation in which the professor gives him a human pituitary gland and human testicles. After a miraculous recovery Sharik slowly becomes human, he loses his hair, he starts walking on two feet and he even begins to talk. The downside of the experiment is that Sharik, who now goes by the name Poligraf Poligrafovich Sharikov, behaves badly because he has taken the negative aspects of the donor who was an alcoholic and a bully, for example he swears a lot, he drinks, he harasses the two women who work for the professor etc. The story is set during the soviet times, and it is also a smart critic to the soviet regime, there’s a lot of conflict between Sharikov and his “maker” who are on opposite sides.

If I had to describe this book very simply I would say that it’s Frankenstein meeting Animal Farm. I really enjoyed it, I think Bulgakov is an incredible author, I wish I discovered him sooner. Does anyone have any suggestion on what should I read next? I would really love to read more of his writings. To continue my trip inside the amazing Russian Literature I just started to read “The Captain’s Daughter” by Pushkin, it’s my first Pushkin book so let’s see how that goes… after that, I’m open to suggestions.

I’ll end this review with my favorite quote:

“The whole horror of the situation is that he now has a human heart, not a dog’s heart. And about the rottenest heart in all creation!” Mikhail Bulgakov


4 thoughts on “Book Review: Heart of a Dog by Mikhail Bulgakov

  1. elisabethm 25 May 2017 / 23:22

    Hey there, like you I’ve only read The Master and Margarita and Heart of a Dog from Bulgakov and I enjoyed both tremendously. In fact I have now his collected works in both Dutch and English and recently went to the opera A Dog’s Heart, based on the book. It was fantastic! I’m a huge fan of Russian literature and Pushkin is fantastic. If you enjoyed Bulgakov you will probably like Gogol too.
    Happy reading 📖

    Liked by 1 person

    • thenerdywanderess 26 May 2017 / 0:23

      Hi! I didn’t know there was a theatre piece based on the book, thank you for telling me. Also thank you for the suggestion, the next book I’m going to read is The Captain’s daughter, but after that I’ll definitely give Gogol a try!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Amina 29 May 2017 / 18:21

    Bulgakov is remarkable and one of my favourite writers. I read everything I could find by him one summer a few years ago. Started with M&M like most, then moved on to other things. I’d say M&M and Dog’s Heart are probably the strangest, as you mentioned. His other works are grounded in the Soviet reality and very touching, especially if that history means anything to you/the reader. So I would suggest that if you like him, just go through his works. You’ve already read the two most famous ones.
    There is a short series by Sky TV that was based on his “Notes of the Country Doctor”, by the way (maybe you know, he was a doctor, just like Chekhov). It stars Daniel Radcliffe and Jon Hamm, and it’s pretty good.
    And speaking of Chekhov — he is also one of my all-time favourites. Read his short stories in your next foray into Russian literature.

    Liked by 1 person

    • thenerdywanderess 29 May 2017 / 19:03

      Hi there! Thanks for your comment. I will definitely go on reading his work since I loved it so much, I really think he’s an incredible author.
      And I will look for the Tv series you mentioned, I did not know about it thanks for the tip, and also give Chekhov a try. The more I read Russian literature the more I like it, so any suggestion is very appreciated, cheers.


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