The Master and Margarita
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The Master and Margarita

4.33 of 5 stars 4.33  ·  rating details  ·  91,902 ratings  ·  4,759 reviews
Mikhail Bulgakov's devastating satire of Soviet life was written during the darkest period of Stalin's regime. Combining two distinct yet interwoven parts-one set in ancient Jerusalem, one in contemporary Moscow-the novel veers from moods of wild theatricality with violent storms, vampire attacks & a Satanic ball; to such somber scenes as the meeting of Pilate & Ye...more
Hardcover, 373 pages
Published December 1st 1991 by Ardis Publishers (Dana Point, CA) (first published 1967)
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10/09, 2nd reading: This book is hilarious, and fantastic, and wickedly sharp, and I stand by the convoluted review from two years ago. I do agree with some of the things brought up at book club -- that it seems unfinished (because it is, the author died before he finished editing the manuscript) and very rooted in 1930s Soviet Union, but I liked that about it. I think even if you don't have a good understanding of Russian society at that exact time that you can still get feel for it from Bulgak...more
Jul 03, 2007 David rated it 3 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: devil-worshippers, talking cats
The devil knows why I chose to re-read Master and Margarita.

To me, the book read more like a collection of short stories than as a novel with a cohesive narrative and theme. Sometimes, these short stories are phenomenally vivid and powerful: the seance of black magic at the Variety, the master's recollection of lost love in the madhouse, Margarita turning witch and destroying her master's enemy's apartment. Sometimes, they dragged on, parables of life in Moscow under Stalin, sometimes fantastic...more

Reading this book is similar to ordering a death-by-dark-chocolate monstrosity of a cheesecake, but instead of bringing a reasonable slice, the server brings you the whole cheesecake.

The first few bites are velvety textured, rich in flavor, and seductively delicious, but after a few bites, the beauty turns into monotony. Soon, monotony turns into drudgery; drudgery turns to distaste, and then you are left with agony, trying to choke down every subsequent bite and trying not to push th...more
I just finished. Wow. You know you read it because it's one of those books people tell you to read. It made it past the censors. Bulgakov was on a hit list and Stalin crossed him off. (This may not be true. I don't remember where I heard or read it. Maybe I made it up.)

But oh my goodness. It's just fun. Granted, I am sure there are levels of nuance that went right past me. Things that being Russian would help for getting context. Jokes I missed. I have no doubt. It didn't matter. It was a wonde...more
Христо Блажев
Дяволски чудесии в изумителния роман “Майстора и Маргарита” на Михаил Булгаков

Не е възможно да съм бил по-заблуден за един роман. Винаги съм си представял “Майстора и Маргарита” като тривиална любовна история в руски стил – дебела, тромава, дълбока и угнетяваща. Тези, които сте го чели, знаете, че нищо не може да бъде по-далеч от истината.

В един най-обикновен ден дяволът с няколко помощници пристига в соц Москва през 20-те години на XX век. Една глава се...more
Waleed Alshaiji
رواية من عالم اخر... رواية ليست من صنع البشر. هبطت كالصاعقه على هرم الادب الروسي لتنتشل بولغاكوف من عالم الطبابه والمسرحيات المغموره الى مصاف اعلام هذا الادب. الشيطان يزور موسكو او المعلم ومارغريتا، هي فوضوية اجتماعية سحرية تتحدث عن الفوضى السوفيتيه الاجتماعية التى حتى الشيطان احترم نفسه عندما عاشها. تحفة ادبية قرأتها 6 مرات ولكن من النسخة المترجمة عن دار رادوغاوالمعنونه بـ "المعلم ومرغريتا". اتمنى ان تكون هذه الترجمه موفقه.
"Manuscripts don't burn!"

The Master and Margarita was written between 1928 and 1940. It all begins with the Devil arriving in Moscow and interjecting in a conversation between to men about the existence of God.

My review
My review of the novel is posted here:

A comparison of the three translations I read (B&O, P&V, and Ginsburg) is in progress, and will be posted here when it is finished:
قوة الرمز والمجاز في مواجهة الإستبداد و القمع والهشاشة الداخلية
ثلاثة روايات تتداخل في رواية واحدة لنتعرف من خلالها على بولكاغوف
الرواية الاولى الشيطان يزور موسكو تحت اسم الغريب " لا تتحدث الى الغرباء" فهو غريب يأتي في كل زمان و مكان و هو القوة التي تريد الشر ابدا و تعمل الخير ابدا يستخدم السحر الاسود و الفتن ليخرج عيوب الناس و يظهر الطمع و الجشع فيهم يبدأها بعرض مسرحية سحرية و يختمها بحفلة تجمع كل الاشرار و يحرق المكان قبل ان يغادره ربما رأى بولكاغوغ ان التغيير الفعلي يكون بنسف و حرق كل قديم و...more
Mary-Elizabeth  Clinton
I re-read this every year. My perfect book of all time. I hope they never try to film it.
Толкова много обичам тази книга, че ми е трудно да я докосвам с думи.
John Bosworth

'The Master and Margarita' is a lot of things:

it's a novella within a novel

it's a political satire on Stalin-era Russia

it's an absurdist comedy

it's a fantasy of sorts

it's a statement about the ultimate flimsiness of society (all it takes is a devil in a prince-nez to topple the order)

it's (kind of) a love story

I enjoy all of these things. I enjoy all of these things when they're combined into one novel. But......this combination of themes and styles is what makes 'The Master and Margarita...more
“Che cosa farebbe il tuo bene, se non esistesse il male?”

Leggendo questo delirante romanzo, pieno di non-sense e di inganni al lettore, di un divertito gusto blasfemo e di un surrealismo che piuttosto pone in discussione il realismo stesso, non ho potuto far a meno di pensare a un'opera più tarda, certo non della stessa levatura, dissimile nello stile ma simile negli intenti: quel Good Omens a quattro mani per opera di Gaiman e Pratchett. E, attraverso di esso, il pensiero è scivolato sempre più...more
Olivia A.
The Master and Margarita by Mikhail Bulgakov was an excellent book. Bulgakov is a Russian author who lived in Soviet Russia. Upon finishing the book, the Russian government would not allow the book to published because it revealed the corruption and laziness within the government. In The Master and Margarita, Satan comes down to visit an atheist Moscow, Russia. When he arrives, he wreaks havoc with the help of his three assistants: a giant black cat that walks oh his hind legs named Behemoth, a...more
Lisa (Harmonybites)
I adored this more than words can say: funny, poignant, whackily imaginative... Written by Bulgakov from 1928 to 1940, a first draft had been completed at the time of his death, but he was still in the process of editing it. Just the act of writing it was an act of courage and faith--because he knew it couldn't get past the censors. It finally appeared 27 years after his death in a highly censored version, with a more faithful and complete edition coming out in the late 1980s at the height of gl...more
Şimdiye kadar okuduğum en iyi rus edebiyatı eseri oldu bu kitap benim için. 20. yüzyıl rus edebiyatını daha da sevdirdi bana. Kitabı türkçe okuyacak olanlar için bir kaç önerim var;

Öncelikle everest yayınlarından basılan versiyonunu okumanızı tavsiye ediyorum. 2010 yılında ilk kez rusça aslında türkçe'ye çevrildiği versiyonu budur zira. Can yayınlarının bastığı versiyonu fransızca'dan çeviri olduğu için okurken grotesk öğeleri tam anlamıyla kavramakta sıkıntı yaşayabilirsiniz.

Kitap hakkında bir...more
This novel, begun by the Soviet writer Mikhail Bulgakov in 1928, was not published until 1966, twenty-five years after his death. The narrative is by turns funny, poignant, and utterly strange, weaving together at least two major plots, the first occurring in then contemporary Moscow and involving a visit to the city by the Devil and his entourage, the second focusing on Pontius Pilate and the death of Jesus. Joining these apparently unrelated plots are the characters of the Master, a Faust figu...more
Roger DeBlanck
Bulgakov’s The Master and Margarita is a spellbinding novel loaded with wild adventures through the streets of Moscow in the 1930s (a place comfortable with purges) and through the ancient districts of biblical Jerusalem (a place comfortable with crucifixions). The narrative whirls ahead at breakneck speed. Once resigned to Bulgakov’s world of bizarre and baffling occurrences, readers are spun around to make sense of the satirical connections between what Bulgakov has created in his story and wh...more
Knjiga je zaslužila 5 zvjezdica, mada mi je bilo teže odlučiti se između 4 i 5. 4 bih dao zato što mi je u početku bila nečitljiva. Nije da sam se mučio čitajući nego mi nije davala priča onaj polet da brzo gutam stranice. No kad sam došao do drugog dijela gdje se uvodi lik Margarite ( točnije njen let na metli i zafrkancija građana Moskve od strane ekipe Sotone ) shvatio sam da je to knjiga po mom guštu i čitao dalje s užitkom.
Pregled bi bio ovakav: Majstor i Margarita je kompleksna knjiga, di...more
A masterpiece of Soviet literature, unfortunately banned during Mikhail Bulgakov's lifetime. As the translator Mirra Ginsburg explains, Bulgakov was a Fellow Traveler who accepted the revolution but did not actively participate in it. The novel takes place in two periods: Stalinist-era Moscow and the time of Jesus Christ. It involves the interplay between these periods, subject to the visit of Satan and his retinue to Moscow and an alternative version of the Gospels. Pontius Pilate is a major fi...more
Molly Ison
It's a work of art, a work of literature and a work of philosophy. Usually I enjoy reading good books, but occasionally I encounter one that I appreciate more than like. (The last I can recall is Marquez' Autumn of the Patriarch).

On the side of literature, it was a interweaving of historical and ethical ideas with a specific time and place, sketches of characters that were temporarily brought to life with a few specific details, and an accompanying story about Pontius Pilate.

On the side of enj...more
Apr 03, 2007 Matt rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Fantasy fans with a mean streak
This book is like a martini made with good vodka. Very dry, a little offsetting at first taste, but very complex and rewarding to those who can really savor it. (Aren't I clever?)

I don't have much Russian in my bookshelves, but the little I do share common traits of dense prose in which everything even remotely related to the main story is given attention. It can feel sterile until you realize it's speaking to you with tongue firmly in cheek.

That's why a novel about Satan coming to Moscow, causi...more
Praeitais metais į mano mokyklą buvo atvykęs skaitovas -- nepamenu jo vardo, tik balsą, kuris tąkart susirinkusiems mokiniams pasakojo apie Michailą Aleksandrovičių Berliozą ir Ivaną Nikolajevičių Ponyrevą prie Patriarcho tvenkinių. Tąkart, kai kuklioje mokyklos aktų salėje, po įtempto I ir III skyrių atpasakojimo pasigirdo skaitovo žodžiai (SPOILER ALERT) "Tai buvo nupjauta Berliozo galva" ir kelioms sekundėms viskas nutilo, mano nugara nuvilnijo malonūs šiurpuliukai, o veide atsirado didžiulė...more
JSA Lowe
Dostoyevskiansly irreverent, embittered and hilarious. I don't see how it's anti-Stalinist, the political humour goes right over my head without some kind of annotation/footnotes; but I do see how it bends narrative around itself like a Mobius strip and I loved every page of it. Plus it takes the mick out of literary movements and poetic egos but to perfection. Bulgakov's Pontius Pilate seems strangely, profoundly familiar, I suspect in much the same way that Milton's creation myth still informs...more
Marius van Blerck
An extraordinary read. I hovered between awarding four or five stars, before settling on the latter. My reservations related to a nagging feeling that the outcome should have had more tragedy, but then realized I was judging Bulgakov as if he was Kafka. Both authors belong to the Theatre of the Absurd, and should be judged on their own merits. Bulgakov clearly has more of a Lewis Carroll streak to him, albeit of a more sinister kind, and it would be interesting to know if he read Carroll. While...more
This is one of the best reads so far for me this year. From start to finish, Bulgakov kept my attention and kept me entertained and excited throughout.

This novel is a dizzying stew of metafiction, Menippean satire, historical allusions, critique of his contemporaries, riffing on Faust, re-imagining the Christian crucifixion and other things I'm sure I'm leaving out.

Bulgakov's work in theater is evident here as his sense of the dramatic, setting the scenes, and developing his characters works to...more
The Devil went down to Moscow...he was looking for a soul to steal. Okay, maybe not. Regardless, Bulgakov has to be the strangest Russian writer of his time. If I didn't know better I'd really think he was writing just a few years ago. He just seems so different from the other writers of his day, so unusual. I mean, his Devil is such an odd duck. He makes fools of the arrogant Muscovites who just aren't capable of dealing with him, but he doesn't do a whole lot that seems really devil-ish. His J...more
For some reason, when my Goodreads friends chose to read this book together, I declined, thinking it was going to be a gag-me-romantic sort of love-story novel.

After they began to discuss it, and I realised it was about the Devil reeking havoc in Moscow, I was all over it!

We follow the Devil and his minions (a red-headed man with a yellow fang, a tall man with checked pants and a cracked pince-nez, a naked woman with a purple scar on her throat and an upright walking, talking, vodka drinking bl...more
Montale defini’ questo libro “un miracolo che ognuno deve salutare con commozione”. E’ un libro straordinario e straripante, caleidoscopico, visionario senza essere irrazionale. E’ una favola reale e sospesa nel tempo, che non solo descrive la dolorosa realtà del periodo staliniano, ma illustra anche una originale e personalissima visione della religione ed una tenera storia d'amore, il tutto narrato con ironia ed uno stile di scrittura cristallino. Ho letto questo libro per la prima volta a 17...more
Curtis Ackie
Nabokov once said “one cannot read a book; one can only re-read it,” and this is the book I have re-read most, if the books of my childhood are discounted. The book’s greatness is well known and if you haven’t read it you’ve probably had someone tell you you should. The thing is, they were right, you should read it, and then read it again.
Honestly I’m stuck for words to say about this book, mostly because there is so much to say and I’m loathe to make a long post. The Master and Margarita was an...more
  • Golden Calf
  • Moscow to the End of the Line
  • Petersburg
  • Red Cavalry
  • Горе от ума
  • Понедельник начинается в субботу
  • Arch of Triumph: A Novel of a Man Without a Country
  • The Foundation Pit
  • The Overcoat and Other Tales of Good and Evil
  • A Hero of Our Time
  • The Czar's Madman
  • The Luzhin Defense
  • Omon Ra
  • The Complete Poems
  • Memories of the Future
  • The Petty Demon
  • The Life and Extraordinary Adventures of Private Ivan Chonkin
  • The Little Tragedies
aka Michail Boelgakov (Dutch)
aka Michail Bulgakov (Czech, Italian, Swedish)
aka Michail Bulgakow (German)
aka Michail Bulhakow (Polish)
aka Mihail Bulgakov (Finnish, Romanian, Turkish)
aka Mihhail Bulgakov (Estonian)
aka Mijaíl Bulgákov (Spanish)
aka Mikhail Bulgákov (Portuguese)
aka Mikhaïl Boulgakov (French)
aka Михаил Булгаков (Bulgarian, Russian)
aka Μιχαήλ Μπουλγκάκοφ (Greek)
aka ميخائيل بولغاكوف (Arab...more
More about Mikhail Bulgakov...
Heart of a Dog The White Guard A Country Doctor's Notebook The Fatal Eggs Morfine

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“But would you kindly ponder this question: What would your good do if
evil didn't exist, and what would the earth look like if all the shadows
disappeared? After all, shadows are cast by things and people. Here is the
shadow of my sword. But shadows also come from trees and living beings.
Do you want to strip the earth of all trees and living things just because
of your fantasy of enjoying naked light? You're stupid.”
“Everything will turn out right, the world is built on that.” 304 likes
More quotes…