His favorite color is blue. He writes about the blue storms of civil-war battles and blue stagecoaches careening into the sky-blue distance. He calls a short story “Blue November,” his first book of stories Studies in Blue. His first wife is a blue-eyed blonde. He is obsessed — he calls it being in love — with the number thirteen. He knows it brings bad luck. The devil’s dozen, Ukrainians say. But he was born on 13 December 1893. He was thirteen when his father took him hunting. When he fought for the Bolsheviks and escaped being executed for “lack of discipline,” he was serving in the 13th Army. His daughter Irayida was born on 13 January 1920 when he was twenty-six. When he writes a political pamphlet, he divides it into thirteen sections. He often says that he will die on the 13th.