Tag Archives: Magical Realism

Review: The Master and Margarita

The Master and Margarita

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?

Source: Purchased
Disclosure: This post contains Indiebound affiliate links.

Review: Hour of the Bees

Hour of the Bees

Hour of the Bees
By Lindsay Eagar
Candlewick Press (MA), Hardcover, 9780763679224, March 2016, 368pp.

The Short of It:

A debut novel with a sweet story to tell.

The Rest of It:

I suppose this novel is considered Young Adult but the story really speaks to any age, young, old and anywhere in-between.

Carolina is like most teen girls, once summer hits, all she can think about is spending time with friends. This summer is a little bit different. She heads to New Mexico with her family to help her ailing grandfather transition into an assisted living facility.

The ranch has always been a part of the family, but the drought has caused the land to go to ruin, the animals to waste away and what was once a vibrant landscape, is now just a shriveled-up dust bowl. Grandpa Serge does not agree. Although battling dementia, he’s hanging onto the stories of his past, which include his deceased wife Rosa and the bees that literally took the rain away with them.

Carolina’s time at the ranch is short but from the stories Grandpa Serge tells and the curious bees that continue to circle her head, Carolina realizes the importance of family.

What a sweet story. I thoroughly enjoyed reading this one. There is a little magical realism going on, which I tend to have a very low tolerance for, but here, it’s done well and with a very light hand. The author’s description of a land ravaged by drought is spot-on. This is the second book I’ve read dealing with drought and my poor Southern California self is really hoping this is not a trend but honestly, I didn’t mind too much.

If you like stories about family or ones where kids respect and even admire their elders, check this one out. Carolina is a sweet kid and her grandpa is quite the story teller. You’ll breeze through this one in a heartbeat.

Source: Review copy provided by the publisher via NetGalley.
Disclosure: This post contains Indiebound affiliate links.