s.penkevich’s review of The Master and Margarita > Likes and Comments

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message 1: by Mike (new)

Mike Puma Dammit. I've been eyin' this one; thought I'd beat you to it. The plan was to reread Absalom, Absalom, then snag this one. I want to clean up your TBR list before you do; this means war.


message 2: by s.penkevich (new)

s.penkevich Ha game on! I was thinking of following this up with an Absalom reread since I'll be on vacation the next 6 days and will be able to crush through pages (hopefully). I think you might like this one, it is quite funny in a biting satire way. The writing isn't quite as serious and potent in the way you and I usually enjoy it, but still packs quite a punch. And there is a decapitation in the first 50 pages, so Im sold on it already.


message 3: by Mark (new)

Mark Couple years ago I began this one, almost finished the first part, then "something suddenly came up." Very good first half from what I remember!


message 4: by knig (new)

knig Magical realism at its best


message 5: by s.penkevich (new)

s.penkevich Mark wrote: "Couple years ago I began this one, almost finished the first part, then "something suddenly came up." Very good first half from what I remember!"

These things happen. So far the 2nd half is quite good too. It gets in a grove in the 2nd half and starts having more of a linear plot to it, and becomes very 'magical' (for lack of a better term, but really, its filled with magic). I'd recommned re-reading it for the rest.


message 6: by Mark (new)

Mark Now that sounds worth diving back in for!


message 7: by Steve (new)

Steve Sckenda I have it on my list. Any book that has survived so many attempts to stamp out, must be read.


Richard Reviles Censorship Always in All Ways I read the Ginsburg translation because my most recent ex-wife was at Grove Press when the book came out and she gave it to me to read. It was a beautiful book, but I don't know how the translation stands up.

I do, however, know how your review stands up: Quite well, quite well indeed. Fine work, young Sven.


message 9: by s.penkevich (new)

s.penkevich Steve wrote: "I have it on my list. Any book that has survived so many attempts to stamp out, must be read."

Very worth it! It was just so, well, cool.


message 10: by s.penkevich (new)

s.penkevich Richard wrote: "I read the Ginsburg translation because my most recent ex-wife was at Grove Press when the book came out and she gave it to me to read. It was a beautiful book, but I don't know how the translation..."

Muchas gracias Sir Richard! Translations are a tricky thing. At least I can't really know what the original was to complain about any (I have a Borges poetry review brewing where this was a major issue.) This one had a nice flow, and after reading so many of P&V duo (the only other edition at my bookstore) i needed a fresh voice anyways.


Richard Reviles Censorship Always in All Ways I wonder that anyone has the wrinklies to translate poetry at all ever. Talk about a thankless task. Good fortune on the review, I'll be looking for it.


message 12: by s.penkevich (last edited Apr 30, 2012 10:10PM) (new)

s.penkevich Richard wrote: "I wonder that anyone has the wrinklies to translate poetry at all ever. Talk about a thankless task. Good fortune on the review, I'll be looking for it."

Thanks. Now that work has settled down a bit, and exams are over, I'll be able to pump it out. It just has the issue of trying to force rhymes through a translation, and has the original text on the other page. It is nice to have, and it is essentially an apology for poor translation, but don't lie to me and say 'here is what this stanza says' when I can see it right there on the other page saying something quite different. It'll be a rant of that nature ha.


Richard Reviles Censorship Always in All Ways I had a side-by-side edition of Neruda's poetry that led me into similar cactus patches. In the end, I got so that I was ready to unswallow every time I picked the book up.

So ten years floated past, and one day I was drawn to Canto General/ General Song; I got down into it; and gawddam Sven there is no flippin' WAY to get poetry from one language to another intact, none, rien du tout...and that folks try is the triumph of hope over experience.

Anyway.


message 14: by s.penkevich (new)

s.penkevich Richard wrote: "I had a side-by-side edition of Neruda's poetry that led me into similar cactus patches. In the end, I got so that I was ready to unswallow every time I picked the book up.

So ten years floated pa..."


Ha, yeah I agree. It almost defeats the purpose, especially with such lyrical poetry as Neruda. At least when I can't see the orginal, despite being able or unable to comprehend the language, I can read it with the bliss of ignorance. My favorite poet I can only read in self-translated works.

Hope over experience, that's a gem right there.


message 15: by Mike (new)

Mike Puma Nice job, Schuyler.


message 16: by Jim (new)

Jim Fabulous review of an incredible book.


message 17: by Jeffrey (new)

Jeffrey Keeten I started this book a decade or so ago and didn't finish. I must have been out of vodka. Crazy that I haven't read this and I feel crazier yet after reading your compelling review. I have Dead Souls in the queue to read this year, but now I'm thinking I need to read The Master and Margarita before Gogol. Excellent work my friend!!!


message 18: by Jenn(ifer) (new)

Jenn(ifer) so you liked it then?


message 19: by s.penkevich (new)

s.penkevich Mike wrote: "Nice job, Schuyler."

Gracias! Although, the Schuyler is lost on me. It's been a long morning ha.


message 20: by s.penkevich (new)

s.penkevich Jim wrote: "Fabulous review of an incredible book."

Thank you very much! This book really blew me away.


message 21: by s.penkevich (new)

s.penkevich Jeffrey wrote: "I started this book a decade or so ago and didn't finish. I must have been out of vodka. Crazy that I haven't read this and I feel crazier yet after reading your compelling review. I have Dead So..."

Thank you! I would highly recommend it, and a side of vodka would go nicely. I also need to read Dead Souls. Perhaps this fall we should get a reading group for it.


message 22: by s.penkevich (new)

s.penkevich (Jenn)ifer wrote: "so you liked it then?"

Si! How could you tell?!


message 23: by Mike (new)

Mike Puma s.penkevich wrote: "Mike wrote: "Nice job, Schuyler."

Gracias! Although, the Schuyler is lost on me. It's been a long morning ha."


When I thought you were Dutch, I'd decided the s in s.penkx hadta stand for Schuyler.


message 24: by s.penkevich (new)

s.penkevich Mike wrote: "s.penkevich wrote: "Mike wrote: "Nice job, Schuyler."

Gracias! Although, the Schuyler is lost on me. It's been a long morning ha."

When I thought you were Dutch, I'd decided the s in s.penkx hadt..."


Ah-ha! That is right, I had forgotten. I do like Schuyler.


message 25: by Jeffrey (new)

Jeffrey Keeten s.penkevich wrote: "Jeffrey wrote: "I started this book a decade or so ago and didn't finish. I must have been out of vodka. Crazy that I haven't read this and I feel crazier yet after reading your compelling review...."

I'd be up for that. Keep me posted.


message 26: by Mike (new)

Mike Puma s.penkevich wrote: "Mike wrote: "s.penkevich wrote: "Mike wrote: "Nice job, Schuyler."

Gracias! Although, the Schuyler is lost on me. It's been a long morning ha."

When I thought you were Dutch, I'd decided the ..."


Everyone likes Schuyler--I think it's the cute kid in the picture with you.


message 27: by s.penkevich (new)

s.penkevich Mike wrote: "s.penkevich wrote: "Mike wrote: "s.penkevich wrote: "Mike wrote: "Nice job, Schuyler."

Gracias! Although, the Schuyler is lost on me. It's been a long morning ha."

When I thought you were Dutch, ..."


Ha, close. That's Matilda. Dutch enough though.


message 28: by Hend (new)

Hend great review,it is on my reading list......
u encourage me to read it soon.....


message 29: by Megan (new)

Megan Muy bien hermano! I will probably read this eventually once I steal all your books haha... even though I'm still convinced its about the Master from Doctor Who drinking margaritas and you're just lying to me ;)


message 30: by s.penkevich (new)

s.penkevich Megan wrote: "Muy bien hermano! I will probably read this eventually once I steal all your books haha... even though I'm still convinced its about the Master from Doctor Who drinking margaritas and you're just l..."

You caught me! You would really like this one I think. Even though I had to stay focused as you made fun of me for reading on the train haha.


message 31: by Nataliya (new)

Nataliya Great and very insightful review. It made me want to reread my copy of "M&M" again - for 12th time or so.


message 32: by Megan (new)

Megan s.penkevich wrote: "Megan wrote: "Muy bien hermano! I will probably read this eventually once I steal all your books haha... even though I'm still convinced its about the Master from Doctor Who drinking margaritas and..."

Hey I can't help it me and Mackenzie were trying to have an insightful conversation about robots and drunk roosters with you but no you just ignored us


message 33: by Stephen M (new)

Stephen M s.penkevich wrote: "Mike wrote: "Nice job, Schuyler."

Gracias! Although, the Schuyler is lost on me. It's been a long morning ha."


Although the morning hasn't been lost on Schuyler with his poem ;)
(I hope someone catches that reference).

Great stuff. This sounds like an awesome book.


message 34: by s.penkevich (new)

s.penkevich Nataliya wrote: "Great and very insightful review. It made me want to reread my copy of "M&M" again - for 12th time or so."

Ha, I already want to reread it again as well!


message 35: by s.penkevich (new)

s.penkevich Stephen M wrote: "s.penkevich wrote: "Mike wrote: "Nice job, Schuyler."

Gracias! Although, the Schuyler is lost on me. It's been a long morning ha."

Although the morning hasn't been lost on Schuyler with his poem ..."


James Schuyler's The Morning of the Poem by chance? (Google gets the actual credit)


message 36: by Nate D (new)

Nate D Apparently the "Gods, my gods! How sad the earth is at eventide!" passage was one of the very last he wrote, dictated to his wife just before he died. The context really makes it even more devastatingly perfect.


message 37: by s.penkevich (new)

s.penkevich Nate wrote: "Apparently the "Gods, my gods! How sad the earth is at eventide!" passage was one of the very last he wrote, dictated to his wife just before he died. The context really makes it even more devastat..."

Really? Wow, that does make this exponentially more striking. Shame he died before he was able to see the impact of this novel, although it seems he was respected and known during his time as well. I've used 'second-grade fresh' a few times in conversation since reading this book.

Also, thank you again for breaking down the translations. It has inspired me to read this again someday with the better translation (despite the incomplete draft)


message 38: by Nate D (new)

Nate D I'm told that "second-freshness" was indeed commonly used concept when my girlfriend was growing up in Russia.


message 39: by Stephen M (new)

Stephen M s.penkevich wrote: "James Schuyler's The Morning of the Poem by chance? (Google gets the actual credit) "

Google served you well. That's a wonderful poetry collection by the way.


message 40: by s.penkevich (new)

s.penkevich Stephen M wrote: "s.penkevich wrote: "James Schuyler's The Morning of the Poem by chance? (Google gets the actual credit) "

Google served you well. That's a wonderful poetry collection by the way."


Excellent, I'll have to check that out.


message 41: by s.penkevich (new)

s.penkevich Nate wrote: "I'm told that "second-freshness" was indeed commonly used concept when my girlfriend was growing up in Russia."

That is awesome. I'm on a mission to spread it here now ha.


message 42: by Nataliya (new)

Nataliya Nate wrote: "I'm told that "second-freshness" was indeed commonly used concept when my girlfriend was growing up in Russia."

Well, yeah. That was definitely not Bulgakov's invention but a real concept. Sad but true.


message 43: by Luke (new)

Luke it's a pretty good book
.


message 44: by Jim (new)

Jim s.penkevich wrote: "Or, dear reader, shall I digress yet again, and direct your attention to the implicit irony inherent in the novel’s heroes: Woland (your charming Mephistopheles) and Pontius Pilate, the man who signed the death certificate of Jesus."

So many aspects of this book left me awestruck. But Woland and Pontius Pilate had my eyes glued to the page, and for a time the rest of the world just disappeared. A book like no other.


message 45: by s.penkevich (new)

s.penkevich Well said! The Pilate thread really captured me as well, I was so confused for awhile what he was trying to do with that all. It was like 'wait, is that supposed to be Jesus or not?'


message 46: by Shovelmonkey1 (new)

Shovelmonkey1 Loved this book. Left my copy abroad when i was working in Turkey. Might have to get another copy.


message 47: by Jim (new)

Jim s.penkevich wrote: "Well said! The Pilate thread really captured me as well, I was so confused for awhile what he was trying to do with that all. It was like 'wait, is that supposed to be Jesus or not?'"

Delicious confusion...

Shovelmonkey1 wrote: "Loved this book. Left my copy abroad when i was working in Turkey. Might have to get another copy."

I would vote Yes! on that one. If not for several hundred books in the queue, I would probably sit down and read it again right now.


Richard Reviles Censorship Always in All Ways Seconding Jim's desire to re-read and blockage due to TBRitis. Severe TBRitis. Barely sub-lethal TBRitis.


message 49: by Jim (new)

Jim Richard wrote: "Seconding Jim's desire to re-read and blockage due to TBRitis. Severe TBRitis. Barely sub-lethal TBRitis."

Just keep the airway open and eyes moving, and hope for the best. At least we will die with great books in our hands, and powerful prose in our heads.


Richard Reviles Censorship Always in All Ways Yeah, maybe, but I am really just not down with the whole dyin' part. Too much to read. And that's just the catch-up reading!


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