The Master and Margarita The Master and Margarita discussion


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the supreme book

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message 1: by Oles (last edited Aug 25, 2016 11:39AM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Oles for me, this is the lovest book - I read it so many times that I can't count enymore - and never never never it was enough!


message 2: by Cuprum (last edited Aug 25, 2016 11:39AM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Cuprum I'm another one here. I even dont remember how many times i read it. It's my favourite book of all time. I read it in Russian. Poor English-speakers think that Dostoevsky and Tolstoy are the only good writers in Russian literature.


message 3: by Genichka (last edited Aug 25, 2016 01:53PM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Genichka It's absolutely genius book. I like to cite it and I think I like to feel it. This book came through me.


message 4: by Liza (last edited Aug 25, 2016 02:00PM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Liza Ages ago my cousin gave me The Master and Margarita and said I had to read it, especially since it's the favorite book of my aunt (who studied Russian). Does anyone have any opinion about the Penguin edition/translation vs. other editions/translations? I just completed Book 1, but I've been wondering if I'm reading the best translation and whether or not it would make sense to read a different translation of Book 2.


message 5: by Anna (last edited Aug 25, 2016 02:04PM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Anna This is one of my absolute favorite books. I am Russian, and read it Russian and English. I have always wondered whether English readers, and those without an intimate knowledge of Soviet society, can really understand the humor and depth of this book. Anyone?


message 6: by Elizabeth (last edited Aug 25, 2016 02:06PM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Elizabeth I recently did some research on this book. I learned a lot about what it symbolizes. But I can't figure out who exactly each character stands for. Can anyone tell me?


message 7: by Liza (last edited Aug 25, 2016 02:06PM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Liza I highly, highly recommend this website. A Middlebury College Russian professor created a Web annotation for the novel.


message 8: by Elizabeth (last edited Aug 25, 2016 02:07PM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Elizabeth Is there a second book? Is there a sequel to The Master and Margarita?
Oh and thank you Liza, I will check it out.


message 9: by Liza (last edited Aug 25, 2016 02:09PM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Liza There's no sequel to the book. From what I've read it seems as though Bulgakov didn't really finish revising the book before he died. His third wife--quite possibly the inspiration for the character Margarita--picked up the pieces and fought for years to have the book published. It makes me love the book all the more.


message 10: by Elizabeth (last edited Aug 25, 2016 02:11PM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Elizabeth Thank you for answering my question. I look forward to finishing the book!


message 11: by Nito (last edited Aug 25, 2016 02:15PM) (new) - rated it 3 stars

Nito I adore this book. Have to re-read it next week when I'm finished my finals, it's been long enough for me to enjoy it as new.


message 12: by Chrissie (last edited Aug 25, 2016 02:17PM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Chrissie I am reading this for the first time, and as you can guess I am enjoying every minute of it! I LOVE the passion of its characters. OK, I am not into satirical writing but this is marvelous b/c it is satire with humility. It is NOT satire where one looks down on others and judges them. The characters are just fumbling along. Why is it that Russian writing most often depicts people in this manner? The characters seem so REAL b/c we/they have such a struggle with life, constantly doing the wrong thing no matter how hard we try to do the right thing. Often we are just stumbling in the dark. Well, I am loving the quirky characters and the annotations are very interesting too! The Master has just appeared.....


message 13: by Meg (new) - rated it 1 star

Meg Thank you for the link on Master and Margarita. I don't really get this book, but I'm still working on it. So far, I'm not seeing why it is so great--I'm not compelled by the story, and the writing is not so great it pulls me in. I will do more research and see if I can figure it out.


Amanda Anna, I'm not sure about other readers who got this in English, but here's my review:

I read this in preparation to a trip to Moscow. I keep thinking that there are nuances to the book that I would have understood only if I was more familiar with Soviet culture, social norms, and literature. Still, it was fun to read in a way. There was a great sense of the absurdity of life in the old Sov' and some scenes that made me laugh out loud.


Daniel Mcbrearty I wondered about that also Anna. I could almost wish to study Russian ( I heard it's very tough) just to read a book like this in the original. I'm sure there are things we miss. But even so, it is one of the funniest, most profound and beautiful things that I ever read.


Grechka and what a mess Bortko made of the movie. Shame on him. I can't believe he also directed "Heart of a Dog".


Zulfiya Grechka wrote: "and what a mess Bortko made of the movie. Shame on him. I can't believe he also directed "Heart of a Dog"."

A mess of the movie? He actually followed the spirit and the word of the novel. He wonderfully utilized the idea of Soviet 'techni-color' (the company that manufactured film rolls in the Soviet Union) for the ordinary life and the rainbow and extravaganza of colors for the world of magic.
His Jeshua is defiant and humble in his omniscience, his Margarita is eternally feminine, and Pontius Pilate is self-conscious and ever repenting of his human error. I was mesmerized by this mini-series.


Gregg Liza wrote: "Ages ago my cousin gave me The Master and Margarita and said I had to read it, especially since it's the favorite book of my aunt (who studied Russian). Does anyone have any opinion about the Pengu..."

I do not speak Russian, but this is my favorite book and I have read every English translation. A quick summary of my findings: Ginsberg's is done from an incomplete and censored version of the book so is not generally recommended. I enjoyed Glenny but his versions typically do not have notes, which I found useful since I do not speak Russian and also benefit from refreshers on Russian history. Burgin/Tiernan O'Connor is the version I recommend to all American English speakers. Very readable and also has useful notes. The husband and wife team of Pevear/Volokhonsky came very highly recommended to me for all Russian literature from Russian speakers I know. They said they are the most literal and technically sound translations- However, I don't think they translated the flowing style of Bulgakov as well as B/T O'C. The newest translation by Aplin was okay, but I believe he is British and his English is different enough from American English that I found it distracting.


Elene I have read it in Russian and it became my favourite book,I adore it,Bulgakov writes in rather difficult language. It's the most mystical book I've ever read.It is like magic,know i have gravitation to it,and even noe i can't get rid of thoughts about it.It's kind of book which will stay in my soul forever


Aaron O'Neill I just finished this book. My first dive into Russian literature and to say it was amazing would be an understatement. I couldn’t help feel all the way through reading the book, thinking how well it might transpose to a live stage. There is something quite grand and theatrical about the characters. I understand how difficult it might be with all the teleportation and the issue of the talking cat but nevertheless.....


Zulfiya Aaron wrote: "I just finished this book. My first dive into Russian literature and to say it was amazing would be an understatement. I couldn’t help feel all the way through reading the book, thinking how well i..."

Actually it has been staged in different Russian theaters, and every time it was a different interpretation, and mostly all of them were successful. They used projection and other gimmicks to represent supernatural scenes, but you know, the main strength of those performances is the dialogue between Pontius and Jeshua or between Voland and Margarita. I think it is a part and parcel of the Russian theatrical tradition to heavily rely on the dialogue, so it was a certain solution to all those supernatural scenes.
Anyway, I am totally with you when you say it is an amazing book. I would actually go further stating that it is possibly the best Russian book of the twentieth century and definitely one of the best five novels in Russian literature. IMHO


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