The Master and Margarita
By Mikhail Bulgakov
Grove Press, 9780802130112, (Original 1967), 402pp.
The Short of It:
This is a fantastical tale of good and evil. There’s a fast-talking cat, a witch, Satan himself and a beheading that starts the ball rolling (pun intended).
The Rest of It:
The Master and Margarita is a favorite book to many but it’s a wondrous, crazy tale that reminded me a lot of Haruki Murakami’s work, minus the everyman take.
It’s hard to describe the story but basically the Master is an author whose work about Christ is so rejected by his peers that he decides to burn the manuscript. This leaves him bitter and just a shell of his former self.
His mistress, Margarita, refuses to let this turn of events affect her so one night, she accepts an invitation to a ball which first begins by her rubbing this special cream all over her body. This act transforms her into a beautiful, younger version of herself. Along with this youth, she is given the ability to fly which she uses to fly right into Satan’s ball. There, she discovers things about herself and makes a decision which will affect her life forever.
This is a book to experience. I can’t say that I understood all of the references but it has been said that Bulgakov wrote the book in response to the blatant Atheism in Soviet Russia. It delves into good and evil and what it means to be outspoken is a world that is not free. It’s definitely a book that begs to be read more than once.
Having experienced this book now for the first time, I can see why it’s a beloved classic but I don’t believe one reading puts it in that category. I would love to take a class where all that we study is this book because it’s bursting with imagery and meaning.
Have you read it? If so, what did you think of it?
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