And Quiet Flows The Don
And Quiet Flows the Don or Quietly Flows the Don (Тихий Дон, literally "The Quiet Don") is epic novel in four volumes by Michail Aleksandrovich Sholokhov. First three volumes were written from 1925 to 1932 and published in Soviet magazine "October" in 1928-1932. Fourth volume was finished in 1940. English translation of the first three volumes appeared under this title in 1934.
The novel is considered one of the most significant works of Russian literature in 20th century. It depicts life and struggle of Don Cossacks during the First World War, Russian revolution and Civil War. In 1965, Sholokhov was awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature for this novel. The authorship of the novel remains a matter of debate. Many literary critics and historians believe that it was written mostly not by Sholokhov.
The novel deals with the life of the Cossacks living in the Don River valley during the early 20th century, probably around 1912, just prior to World War I. The plot revolves around the Melekhov family of Tatarsk, who are descendants of a cossack who, to the horror of many, took a Turkish captive as a wife during the Crimean War. Accused of witchcraft by Melekhov's superstitious neighbours, they attempt to kill her but are fought off by her husband. Their descendants, the son and grandsons, who are the protagonists of the story, are therefore often nicknamed "Turks". Nevertheless, they command a high amount of respect among people in Tatarsk.
The second eldest son, Grigori Panteleevich Melekhov, is a promising young soldier who falls in love with Aksinia, the wife of Stepan Astakhov, a family friend. There is no love between them and Stepan regularly beats her. Grigori and Aksinia's romance and elopement raises a feud between her husband and his family. The outcome of this romance is the focus of the plot as well as the impending World and Civil Wars which draw up the best young Cossack men for what will be two of Russia's bloodiest wars. The action moves to the Austro-Hungarian front, where Grigory ends up saving Stepan's life, but that doesn't end the feud. Grigory, at his father's insistence, takes a wife, Natalya, but still loves Aksinia. The book deals not only with the struggles and suffering of the Cossacks, but the landscape itself is vividly brought to life. There are also many folk songs referenced throughout the novel.