Wednesday, 17 February 2010
The Master and Margarita
Title: The Master and Margarita
Author: Mikhail Bulgakov
Number of pages: 564
Started: 7 February 2010
Finished: 17 February 2010
At the hour of the hot spring sunset two citizens appeared at the Patriarch's Ponds. One of them, approximately forty years old, dressed in a grey summer suit, was short, dark-haired, plump, bald, and carried his respectable fedora hat in his hand. His neatly shaven face was adorned with black horn-rimmed glasses of a supernatural size. The other, a broad-shouldered young man with tousled reddish hair, his checkered cap cocked back on his head, was wearing a cowboy shirt, wrinkled white trousers and black sneakers.
The first was none other than Mikhail Alexandrovich Berlioz, editor of a fat literary journal and chairman of the board of one of the major Moscow literary associations, called Massolit for short, and his young companion was the poet Ivan Nikolayevich Ponyrev, who wrote under the pseudonym of Homeless.
Read a longer extract here.
The devil comes to Moscow wearing a fancy suit. With his disorderly band of accomplices - including a demonic, gun-toting tomcat - he immediately begins to create havoc.
Disappearances, destruction and death spread through the city like wildfire and Margarita discovers that her lover has vanished in the chaos. Making a bargain with the devil, she decides to try a little black magic of her own to save the man she loves ...
Read a major analysis of the book (by an “amateur”) here
What I thought:
This book wasn’t really my kind of read. I didn’t really get into the plot very well and found it all a bit odd and unsatisfying. This might, in part, be down to the translation, particularly as there seems to be much debate about which of the many translation is “best”. Perhaps if I had read another version, I might have found it to be a different read. But, for me, I didn’t really find the book flowed, I thought the plot was odd and a bit to surreal in some places for my liking and I just didn’t find the book very coherent. Not a book that I would particularly recommend.