Ken Bazley's Reviews > The Master and Margarita

The Master and Margarita by Mikhail Bulgakov
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M_50x66
's review
Nov 19, 07

Recommended for: anyone who can read
Read in November, 2007

Having never read any of the 'great' Russian authors I approached the book with some trepidation, but that was tempered by the fact that this particular edition apparently once belonged to Beck!
The English translation (by Mirra Ginsberg) of this Bulgakov novel is so brilliant that I'm seriously considering learning Russian just to see how good the original text must have been..
The prose flows kineticly, bouncing the reader from the time of Pontius Pilate to 20th century Moscow to a ball in honour of Satan and back again, all the while paying extreme attention to the tiniest minutiae of any one character's actions. Not suprisingly then, it manages to convey well the sense of chaos that descends on Moscow when a quad of ostensible black magicians come to town. The translated text conjures in my mind imagery somewhere Franz Kafka and Belleville Rendezvous although this can't have been the authors intention for reasons of terminus ante quem!
Whether there are political undertones to the book it is hard to tell as I know little of Russia during this period. Stalin, however deemed The Master and Margarita to be subversive and therefore saw fit to ban it and in fact all of Bulgakov's works (to go hand in hand with other 'subversive' works by Shostakovich, Eisenstein, etc). Most of these have now been post-humously published. I would thoroughly recommend you get hold of a copy any which way you can and jump on board for a non-stop fantastical riot.
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