The Master and Margarita

The Master and Margarita

Book - 1992
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In an updated version of the Faust story, the devil and his minions pay 1920's Moscow a visit and wreak havoc on the artistic community.
Publisher: N.Y. : Knopf, 1992
ISBN: 9780679410461
0679410465
Characteristics: xxvii, 446 pages ; 21 cm
Additional Contributors: Glenny, Michael
Franklin, Simon

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akritshrikant
Sep 10, 2020

Set in Soviet Russia, The Master and Margarita is a seminal novel that has been classed by many(including myself) as one of the greatest of the 20th century. Centered around the adventures of the Devil in a heavily atheistic Soviet Russia and linked with Biblical allusions to the crucifixion of Jesus Christ, the story serves as both a riveting tale and a biting satire of Stalin and his policies. This novel is known for its extraordinary storytelling and comedy in the face of a situation as dire as the one facing the Soviets. It is a testament to its quality that you do not need to know anything about Cold War history to understand the inherent ridiculousness in the scenes painted by Bulgakov. The novel can be dragged down a bit by its complicated diction and storytelling, so it may not be for introductory readers. However, for students looking for a taste of what advanced literature is, The Master and Margarita is perfect for its strong allusions, outrageous satire, and meaningful story.

w
wblakelives
Oct 16, 2019

My favourite book and you need it in your life.

j
just2ishy
Dec 18, 2018

Honestly, I chose this book by the cover. The sureal cat/person Looked really cool. I’m also a big fan of Russian literature just like its cover this book is so real and a bit thought provoking literary wise however it kind of fell apart at the end

w
wyenotgo
Dec 15, 2018

It strikes me that this would have been ideal as a "graphic novel" (a.k.a comic book) since it contains neither a real hero nor a real villain, all the players being caricatures -- with the exception of Pontius Pilate (who probably deserved a better fate and a better book). There are problems right from the get-go: neither of the title characters M&M appear until very late in the novel (pages 130 and 215 respectively). The "master" never even merits a name! Hero? Hardly.
By far the most interesting character is the devil, who turns out to be a pretty decent chap, bails M&M out of a jam -- although it's never made clear why he does so. In fact, the entire book suffers from a lack of motivation on the part of each character. The entire walpurgisnacht was entirely lost on me -- more comic book stuff. So what can we learn in the course of reading this allegory?
1. The devil (if he exists) is a trickster (reminiscent of Nanabush) but not especially evil
2. The existence of both God and the devil remains unproven
3. Pontius Pilate hated his job
4. Russia in the 1920s was a shitty place
5. Many writers, like much of humanity are back-stabbing egotists
6. When reading a Russian novel, it's prudent to make a list of all the characters, including their patronymics and their familiar nicknames to keep track of them (but it doesn't help much)
7. Russian satire (if that's what this is) will be lost on most non-Russian readers
Come to think about it, we already knew most of that before reading the book.
Any attempt to equate this book with Goethe's masterpiece Faust? I think not. Far too cluttered with self-indulgent nonsense, the book would have benefited from a good deal of judicious editing to shorten it by about 100 pages.

s
SunsetBranch
Feb 03, 2018

Whoa!!

Whaaa??

j
jmthornberry
Jan 24, 2018

A wonderful novel. One of my favorites.

j
justysia84
Jul 20, 2017

I loved this book. It was a captivating read. Additionally, it gives great footnotes for those unfamiliar with Soviet history.

l
lukasevansherman
Feb 25, 2017

For many, the great Russian novel "The Master and Margarita" is a rock and roll footnote: Supposedly, it was the inspiration for the Rolling Stones' "Sympathy for the Devil." Well, it's much more than that. It's also Daniel Radcliffe's favorite novel! (According to the blurb in my Penguin edition). Bulgakov worked on it for over a decade, but died before it was published in the mid-60s. If you've read (or toiled through) classic Russian novelists like Tolstoy and Dostoevsky, you'll recognize a similar darkness of tone and philosophical strain, but Bulgakov takes these elements in a comical, phantasmagoric, and outright bizarre direction. There's a talking cat for example. And chapters set during the time of Christ. I don't know how to describe it, but it's a novel bursting with life, ideas, and invention. It recalls other un-classifiable novels like "Tristram Shandy," "Don Quixote," and "Gargantua and Pantagruel." That Radcliffe really knows his Russian lit! The most recent translation is by Richard Pevear and Larissa Volokhonsky, who have done acclaimed versions of Dostoevsky, Gogol, and Tolstoy.

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niceeven
Dec 07, 2016

This novel is cleverly conceived and skilfully written. I am infinitely grateful there is universal truth is the aphorism : 'Manuscripts don't burn', thankfully, he was able to finish it. I would recommend this book to anyone, but if you do appreciate Russian literature this is an absolute must.

e
Ethan_Annis
Jul 13, 2016

When I first read Bulgakov’s satirical masterpiece, it made me question how much we can know of good and evil. The novel begins when the devil arrives with his entourage in Moscow. The devil and his minions begin making all kinds of fantastic mischief. Meanwhile, from his psychiatric hospital bed, the Master is writing a retelling of the last days of Jesus. The Master’s lover, Margarita, decides to sell her soul to save him.

The book is fun, funny, engaging and deep. There are scenes unlike any I’ve encountered elsewhere, like a ball thrown by Satan that has accordion playing polar bears providing the music for the fascinating, evil guests.

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akritshrikant
Sep 10, 2020

akritshrikant thinks this title is suitable for 16 years and over

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