Samantha's Reviews > The Master and Margarita

The Master and Margarita by Mikhail Bulgakov
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Madcap, absurdist, delightful, and also seemingly pointless.

Reading scene by scene, I loved this book. The devil as respresented by Worland is fascinating, and the surreal moments of magic and mysticism were beautiful and amazing in that sense of a causing an actual feeling of amazement. I laughed out loud at some parts, and stopped to close my eyes and enjoy the fantastical scenes in my mind's eye at others.

But the book as a whole doesn't hold together for me. I got bored in the middle because the scene-by-scene weirdness didn't seem to be building towards anything. I got to the end and wondered what the point had been.

I understand some of allegory to Stalinist Russia and can appreciate the commentary on society aspect of the book. Footnotes helped with aspects of that history with which I am less familiar. So, I don't think it was just that the historical aspects didn't hold weight for me in my own experience. I think it was the lack of character development.

All the characters, even the title ones, even the devil and his entourage, seemed to drift through the story without any agency or decision making.

Things just happened to them--weird, interesting things, but still . . . I wasn't cheering for anyone because I didn't know what anyone ultimately wanted, so I didn't know if I wanted them to have it or not. And a race in which I'm not invested in any of the ponies is just a demonstration of athletic prowess that I don't care that much about.

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Reading Progress

July 15, 2013 – Shelved
July 15, 2013 – Shelved as: to-read
May 19, 2019 – Started Reading
June 1, 2019 – Finished Reading

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