The Master and Margarita by Mikhail Bulgakov
Posted by Caitie F on August 24, 2012
Title: The Master and Margarita
Author: Mikhail Bulgakov
Softcover: 384 pages
Pub Year: 1966
Summary from goodreads: One of the greatest novels ever to come out of the Soviet Union. A parable on power and its corruption, on good and evil and on human frailty and the strength of love. Equal parts fable, fantasy, political satire and slapstick.
A friend at work has started a classics book club. While I cannot go because of location, I am going to read most of the books and we are going to talk about them. This was the first choice, and it is also in the 1001 Books You Must Read Before You Die book, so I picked it up from my library!
Somehow, I completely missed Russian literature both in high school and as an English major in college. It has always been intimidating to me because of this, so I never rushed out to try. I am glad I started with this for several reasons.
First, it is a comedy, so it was more accessible and universal. It was a dark comedy, but there were still some laugh out loud moments. and I felt like I understand at least what was going on. The writing style was also easy to follow and there were some amazing passages that I read multiple times because the way he described things was so creative and perfect! It was also a really great story on the surface, so I could enjoy it at least on that level.
But I know I missed a lot of the political satire and the overarching parable. I didn’t realize that my book had a commentary in the back until I was ⅔ into it and I wish I had known. I think I would have been able to get a lot more out of the book and have a deeper understanding of the Soviet Union from the perspective of someone living there if I had used it.
It is an enjoyable book and if you think you might want to try Russian literature for the first time, this is a good place to start. Just check for a commentary when you start.