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The Master and Margarita
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Archive 2015 > February 2015: The Master and Margarita by Mikhail Bulhakov

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Louise Our February group read is The Master and Margarita by Mikhail Bulgakov

Description (Penguin Classics Edition):

One Spring afternoon the Devil, trailing fire and chaos in his wake, weaves himself out of the shadows and into Moscow in Bulgakov's fantastical, funny and frightening satire of Soviet life. Brimming with magic and incident, it is full of imaginary, historical, terrifying and wonderful characters, from witches, poets and Biblical tyrants to the beautiful, courageous Margarita, who will do anything to save the imprisoned writer she loves. Written in secret during the darkest days of Stalin's reign, when The Master and Margarita was finally published it became an overnight literary phenomenon, signalling artistic freedom for Russians everywhere.

I'm a couple of days early in getting the thread up, but feel free to jump into the discussion.

----------------


Since most of us will probably be reading this book in English translation, there are a couple of questions that might be useful to discuss before we get reading (I know I won't be able to start for a few days at least):

1. If you are reading in translation and have already picked up your copy, which translational are you using and why?

2. For those who have already read the book or enjoy Russian fiction, which translators would you recommend and why? Are there any you would recommend steering clear of?

- Personally I've gone for the Peaver and Volokhonsky translation from Penguin Classics. There are several affordable and easy to find English translations from different publishers with much prettier covers but P&V seem to be pretty highly regarded. I read their translation of Anna Karenina a few years ago and found the language very accessible too, so figured I'd stick with them. It does mean that I wasn't able to get the edition with the most stylish cover though.


message 2: by Kirsten (new) - added it

Kirsten  (kmcripn) NPR's All Things Considered recently had this related item:

http://www.npr.org/blogs/parallels/20...


RitaSkeeter Hi Louise, like you I'm reading the P&V version. I've read their translations of War and Peace and The Brothers Karamazov, and found those both very clear and readable.

I read The Master and Margarita for the first time around this time last year. I'm hoping I might be able to develop more appreciation for it when reading it with a group, as I struggled with it. I also read a different translation last year (I can't remember the translator's name, but it definitely wasn't P&V), so will see whether a different translation helps at all.


RitaSkeeter PS - just noticed your comment about the cover - ha! I get very attached to particular cover art and get very cranky when that art isn't available in my region.


Louise Me too! And what I love about (public domain) classics is the variety of covers from different publishers I can choose from. Translated fiction - and my desire to get 'the best' translation - ruins all that choice!


message 6: by Kim N (new) - added it

Kim N (crossreactivity) Louise wrote: "Personally I've gone for the Peaver and Volokhonsky translation from Penguin Classics."

That's the version I'll be reading as well.


message 7: by Louise (last edited Feb 01, 2015 06:07AM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

Louise P&V seems to be the popular choice then!

Have just started the book. First impression after chapter one is that I like how quickly it's getting down to business with creating a very unsettling and foreboding atmosphere. Am a bit of a fan of classic horror/gothic/supernatural too so early indications are that I'll probably enjoy this book a lot.

My edition also has about a million endnotes (again!) but I'm ignoring those completely unless I feel it's something I need to look up at the end of the chapter to understand. I think if I read them as I went I would totally lose track of the actual story! This book might test how well I remember my information on Soviet Russia though.


message 8: by [deleted user] (new)

Translation is a thing that interests me. I always have to wonder, how true is the translation to the author's words. I only read in English so I guess I'll never really know... But having seen some pretty bizarre translations in other mediums it makes me wonder.

I'll be reading The Master and Margarita this one. I don't know about the translation but the print is tiny. As far as I know this will be my first Russian novel. I honestly know very little about Russian history. But that's one of my favorite things about reading, learning new things.


Hrishabh Chaudhary (hrishabhchaudhary) On my earlier attempt, I lost interest after 150 pages. I hope I'll finish it this time.


message 10: by [deleted user] (new)

I thought I was in trouble after the first page, the first two characters have such similar names, I couldn't keep them straight. Finally I just looked at the length of the names, and not the letters... not a good start to start off confused...


message 11: by Louise (last edited Feb 02, 2015 07:45AM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

Louise So, I'm enjoying it. But. I don't know if it was the book or the fact that I was nursing a horrible headache but, after perfectly understanding chapters 1 and 2 I sort of lost the flow a bit in the next few chapters. So I had a bit of a google for study guides and found this:

http://www.gradesaver.com/the-master-...

It seems to have pretty useful summaries of each chapter (though looks like maybe potential spoilers so use with care). It helped me get back into the flow of things anyway after the confusion in chapter 4 (apparently I hadn't somehow missed something, it really is as odd as it seemed!), so I figured it might be a useful resource to others.


Katie (cessnovember) This is one of my favorite books, so I'm eager to reread it (again...and again...). I first read P&V's translation, but I'll be going through it this time around with B&O's version. P&V certainly left an impression on me, because I find myself "changing" the way I read B&O in my head to match what I remember from P&V.


message 13: by [deleted user] (new)

Louise wrote: "So, I'm enjoying it. But. I don't know if it was the book or the fact that I was nursing a horrible headache but, after perfectly understanding chapters 1 and 2 I sort of lost the flow a bit in th..."

I lost the flow too after a few chapters too. Thought it was just me. I read yesterday morning and tried again last night. I was horribly confused.

I've decided to give in for now. Maybe it isn't the best book for a Russian Lit beginner? I do notice I sometimes have trouble with more "contemporary" classics (which I mean to say books less than 100 years) than I do the older stuff. I don't know why.


RitaSkeeter I started my re-read last night. I'm on struggle street a bit with it, but I will keep going! (Might need to go back over what I read last night though, as I'm yet another who lost the flow a bit).


message 15: by Louise (last edited Feb 05, 2015 05:00AM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

Louise I had to do that too - go read back a chapter from last night before carrying on. I'm actually really enjoying it though. It's a bit hard going (I suspect it's one of those books that becomes better with every re-read) but so far I'm finding it a lot more rewarding, interesting, and original, than last month's group read.


Traci: I haven't read much Russian Lit (just this, We, The Suitcase, Faithful Ruslan, and Anna Karenina really) but I agree that the most well-known newer classics seem a lot less instantly accessible. I think, with Russian lit in particular, it comes because the 20th century was such century of radical political change and experimentation. Anna Karenina may be absurdly long but the social hierarchy of aristocrats is a concept that is familiar, even if no longer used (to the same extent) today. While classics written and set during the 20th century require a lot more homework/pre-existing knowledge, I think, to fully appreciate and understand the setting and context the author is writing from. Russia is probably the most extreme example of a shift between the 'old' writers and the 'new', but even in countries that didn't go though such a radical political change I think you can still see it reflected in more modern classics - 1984, Brave New World etc. etc.- moving away from traditional character/plot/romance based narratives and into exploring the consequences (real and imagined) of extreme political ideas and ideologies. It's a lot less 'universal' and, as such, a lot harder, as a modern reader to fully appreciate the context.

Bulgakov is obviously writing for a contemporary Russian audience who would instantly understand his frames of reference, so he doesn't really explain things that would seem notable to us but takes it for granted that the reader understands Soviet Russian housing policy and the like. Throw in the fact that it's magical realism rather than straight up realistic fiction and it can get even more confusing! I know I would be struggling a lot more if I didn't have a (very very basic) understanding of life in Soviet Russia from studying it at A level.


---

Not actually Russian lit or a classic (yet), but if anyone is interested in another magical-realism novel set during communist Russia - a more recent novel that is a bit more explicit in giving social context - Catherynne M. Valente's Deathless is very very good. Mashes up Russian folklore and fairy tales with Russian history. The ending, I admit, is a bit weird, but it is very very good, and beautifully written.

Oh and I would definitely recommend The Suitcase by Sergei Dovlatov as a realistic (and much more straight-forward!) modern Russian Classic. It's a semi-autobiographical collection of short stories - one for each object the author packed into his single suitcase when he left the Soviet Union.


message 16: by Nina (new) - rated it 5 stars

Nina | 449 comments Totally up for this one. I read it some two years or so ago and I got very confused and coudln't really enjoy it. So, I am looking forward to reading it with a group, I hope this will help me. Somehow this seemed like a book I should enjoy. Only then I couldn't. I used the P&V translation, happy to hear that this seems to be a popular and good choice!

Now I only need to finish my current book (struggling my way through Snow) before I can join the discussion!


Louise So how's everyone getting on?

I finished Book One yesterday and am now moving on to the second half. Not entirely sure where the story is headed but am enjoying it!

Have now got a lot more used to the choppy style and shifting characters and am finding myself getting lost a lot less often.

Am making a lot more use of the provided endnotes to explain contextual clues than I anticipated though. Not just some of the historic details but also lots of sly references to Faust which I wouldn't have got on my own.


message 18: by Lisa (new) - rated it 3 stars

Lisa | 6 comments I finished Chapter 2. I'am finding this book weird and funny at the same time. I don't understand what the Pilate and Jesus digression has to do with the rest of the story, but it's been entertaining so far.


Cosmic Arcata | 5 comments I a just starting this book. I read it last year. I knew I wanted to read it again.

I just read the first chapter (view spoiler)


message 20: by [deleted user] (new)

I stopped reading, but reading your comments made me think of good vs evil, God vs the Devil, etc...

(view spoiler)

This is in no way my personal beliefs, but just a general observation. And in my personal experience I am almost always attracted to the darker characters in the books I read. The villains and anti heroes. And I've given some thought as to why that is.

I would like to give this book another shot, but my mind wasn't in the right place for it at this time. Maybe another time.


message 21: by Nina (new) - rated it 5 stars

Nina | 449 comments Traci, interesting what you are saying! So, why do you think you are more attracted to the dark characters? (if you want to share with us)


message 22: by [deleted user] (new)

Nina wrote: "Traci, interesting what you are saying! So, why do you think you are more attracted to the dark characters? (if you want to share with us)"

My usual answer is... they're more interesting. Which is true but its also a little more complicated. Actually, its simple too, I just like tragic characters. And if they have a tragic past, even better. But I'm also interested in the inner conflict of good and evil. My favorite villains tend to be the ones that have both aspects to their personality. I love 'fallen' heroes/villains (it all depends on the pov). I also love heroes/villains who find redemption, or who are 'saved'.

I think a big reason, for me anyway, is that I like characters that I have sympathy for, and I tend to have the most sympathy for the tragic, the damaged, and the broken characters.

It shouldn't come as a surprise that two of my favorite characters are Valjean and Javert, both from Les Misérables.


message 23: by Cosmic (last edited Feb 09, 2015 09:05AM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Cosmic Arcata | 5 comments Traci wrote: "Nina wrote: "Traci, interesting what you are saying! So, why do you think you are more attracted to the dark characters? (if you want to share with us)"

My usual answer is... they're more interest..."


(view spoiler)


I think too, that evil characters create more emotional tension. I think this is why it is hard for me to write a story because I don't want to create these dark characters. They frighten me, because maybe humanly we can "go there" and it is so shocking what we feel. I knew people that said they couldn't read classic like Crime and Punishment because it was so dark.

Satire maybe the key to talk about the unthinkable when you are in such an emotional place like Mikhail Bulgakov was.

I have been kinda immersing myself in this time period 1914-1944. It started with my reading of The Catcher in the Rye and trying to make sense out of it being called a classic. To researching different writing styles that may have influenced Salinger.

One of the things that I think is interesting about Mikhail Bulgakov is we know that a lot of his friends had spoken out against the government and were dead, when he was writing this book. This was a way to write about something in order not to get in trouble. Of course it was a book for the drawer, but if discovered he could just laugh it off.

I am especially interested in reading these kinds of books! I think the Catcher in the Rye was such a book. There is also Bambi which is a political allegory. (Disney did away with the adult themes and defused the reading of this classic. Most people think that the book is a animal rights book. It was such was threat that Hitler had it banned. I am not sure though that they include this book on the banned book list?) So if you know of some other books like this I would be interested in adding it to my book shelf.


I have read that freedom or the loosening of the "iron fist" in Russia, is like the lifting of the hammer so that it could be brought down again even harder.

I am glad that you brought up this topic. I hope more of you will talk about evil characters and writing styles and why you think Mikhail Bulgakov wrote what he did satirically. Or when you read something that you sent is satirical that is a historical reference or the "signs of the time" that Mikhail Bulgakov was living in, I hope you will bring it to our attention.

The first time I read this I was just trying to wrap my head around the story. It felt like pin the tail on the donkey or looking at small tornadoes spinning out of a larger one. I had a hard time "grasping" it. Now I am looking at more of the nuances and letting go of the expectations of classification.


message 24: by Nina (new) - rated it 5 stars

Nina | 449 comments Nina wrote: "Traci, interesting what you are saying! So, why do you think you are more attracted to the dark characters? (if you want to share with us)"

Yes, I understand this. I also find the characters most interesting that have some sort of inner struggle. Though I think that personally I prefer even more tragic characters that are not bad but just end up in a situation where there is no other way out than the tragic end. The Anna Karenina's and Tereza's of this world. But I guess I will ty to look for some more tragic in the evil ones in mu future reads :-)


Cosmic Arcata | 5 comments Nina wrote: "Nina wrote: "Traci, interesting what you are saying! So, why do you think you are more attracted to the dark characters? (if you want to share with us)"

Yes, I understand this. I also find the cha..."


I really like Anna Karenina as well but it has surprised me that Russian books are more like this book than Anna Karenina. I found this book through my daughter. She wanted to learn Russian. So a Ukrainian friend sent he a book in Russian and she sent him in English. This was the book he chose for her. He gave her the assignment of reading five pages as day. She did three. It took her a year to read it in Russian. She started when she was 15. So imagine this being your first introduction into Russian Literature. She wasn't that seasoned in classic before this; but has a propensity for languages.


Anyway I am finding the second time around enjoyable.

I would love to hear from a Russian how they interpret the satire.

(view spoiler)


message 26: by Lisa (last edited Feb 10, 2015 02:47PM) (new) - rated it 3 stars

Lisa | 6 comments I just finished chapter 9.. and now, I am truly worried ...What is happening in this city?
And, where is Margherita?
I need to know now, I have gone too far.. :)


Also, I don't know why, the poet in the book reminds me of the main character from Crime & Punishment (and of course, I can't remember the name).


message 27: by Cosmic (last edited Feb 10, 2015 03:31PM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Cosmic Arcata | 5 comments anpermel wrote: "I just finished chapter 9.. and now, I am truly worried ...What is happening in this city?
And, where is Margherita?
I need to know now, I have gone too far.. :)


Also, I don't know why, the p..."



I can tell you that this book only makes sense at the end. It feels like a carnival ride where you get spun around and around. When you are ready to get off she will appear.
http://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Ma...

I noticed though I didn't read them that there are several interpretations. Interesting.

I just thought I would leave a link because there will be the character list.

Mikhail Alexandrovich Berlioz
Head of the literary bureaucracy MASSOLIT. He bears the last name (Берлиоз) of French composer Hector Berlioz, who wrote the opera The Damnation of Faust. Berlioz is particularly insistent that the Gospel Jesus was a completely mythical figure with zero historical basis, as opposed to a historic person whose biography was later "embellished" by Christians. Woland predicts that he will be decapitated by a young Soviet woman, which comes to pass when Berlioz slips on a puddle of sunflower oil and falls under a streetcar.


message 28: by Nina (last edited Feb 12, 2015 12:16PM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Nina | 449 comments So, finally started reading the book. It's the second time I read it and I must honestly say that so far I am enjoying it much more than the first time. OK, I am only at chapter 2. But hey, chapter 1 is actually funny if I am just taking it by the word without thinking that this is absurd and try to understand what the authors means to say. And I enjoyed 2 because it also has a lot of humor thinking that indeed we all know the Bible stories but who says that it really all happened in this clean and straightforward way? It's funny to look at serious historical events in a humorous way, it has some Asterix & Obelix twist.

The first time when I read the book I really didn't enjoy it, I got lost in the story, I mixed up the characters, I 'didn't get it', really, all that made me NOT stop reading was
1) it's one of my principles
2) this is considered a classic, so there MUST be something in it - or it's me not getting it
3) got it as a gift, felt like I owed finishing it to the one who gave it to me.
Clearly, three bad reasons.

So, this time my strategy is just not even trying to understand but just to sort of enjoy the ride. Oh, and actually I noted down the names + nicknames + occupation/role of the characters to avoid mixing them up again.

I guess that I won't manage to really understand the satire in the book with this strategy either and for a large part that is certainly due to the fact that I don't know enough about Bulgakov's contemporary Russia when he wrote the novel, as Louise and RitaSkeeter also wisely mentioned earlier. Part of it is certainly as well that generally very absurd or unrealistic books are not my favorites. And Pilate and Jesus' role in the story will probably remain an eternal mystery to me.

But hey, at least I can enjoy it in reading it in a very literal way and consider it some sort of visit to a theme park with all sorts of bizarre attractions and roller-coasters, right? And not torture myself to understand it and appreciate it for being a great classic.


Louise I think that's a pretty great attitude to have actually.

I finished the book the other day but have been a bit busy since. Thoughts and questions on the book/everything mentioned here later! Really enjoyed it though.


message 30: by [deleted user] (new)

Nina wrote: "And Pilate and Jesus' role in the story will probably remain an eternal mystery to me."

Would you say this plays a big part of the story? A small side part? Or in between?

I'm asking because, though I got confused in the following chapters, I was interested in the thought of the "truth" (truth in the point of view of the book) behind the history of Jesus.

That chapter was actually my favorite chapter of the ones I read, which wasn't that many.


message 31: by Nina (new) - rated it 5 stars

Nina | 449 comments So far (having just finished chapter 3) I would say a small part in terms of importance (though a big part in terms of pages). Regarding the story of Jesus: no matter how it all happened, we know that Jesus was a historical figure and that he was condemned. We also know (being modern people living in the age of reason) that the Bible is a collection of stories. And we know that Jesus had followers and that they founded Christianity. The rest is up to your personal beliefs. So, whatever the 'real' events were is of little importance as the result (what I just listed above) remains the same (Jesus dead, Christianity founded).

On the other hand, the story with the devil could go into any direction. That's why I care more about it, I enjoy reading it and I am curious on what will happen next as this will determine the further story of the book. Thus, for me at this moment, that's more important. But maybe this will still change, another 500 pages to go...


message 32: by Lisa (new) - rated it 3 stars

Lisa | 6 comments Cossmic wrote:
I can tell you that this book only makes sense at the end. It feels like a carnival ride where you get spun around and around. When you are ready to get off she will appear.

Wow, this sounds promising!I am still in the middle of the carnival ride while approaching Book Two.
All the crazy stuff that keep happening, create a bizarre "suspense" and are actually funny. But the dismay of the various characters in front of these events, so absolutely absurd and surreal, it scares me a little. Why is the unreal feeling so real? Nobody can stay safe :(


message 33: by RitaSkeeter (last edited Feb 14, 2015 05:13AM) (new) - rated it 2 stars

RitaSkeeter I found the discussion on evil interesting. I've been thinking that the role of Yeshua in the story is to provide balance. Yes, we all have darkness that we can give into, but there is also good in everyone as well.

For example, Margarita (view spoiler)

The other thing I find very interesting about this book, that I alluded to above, is that this was written at a time when Russia was atheistic. It is interesting that the author would use Woland/Yeshua to personify the good and evil in the world. I felt he was almost saying, well you can believe whatever you want, but that doesn't change that Woland and Yeshua are out there in the world all the same.


RitaSkeeter Nina wrote: "So far (having just finished chapter 3) I would say a small part in terms of importance (though a big part in terms of pages). Regarding the story of Jesus: no matter how it all happened, we know t..."

Good point Nina. It is all about the meaning people ascribe to things...


RitaSkeeter Cosmic wrote: "I can tell you that this book only makes sense at the end. It feels like a carnival ride where you get spun around and around."

I've read it twice now and it still doesn't make sense to me! Third time lucky?!


message 36: by Nina (new) - rated it 5 stars

Nina | 449 comments RitaSkeeter wrote: "I found the discussion on evil interesting. I've been thinking that the role of Yeshua in the story is to provide balance. Yes, we all have darkness that we can give into, but there is also good in..."

That's a very interesting thought! It's true, name it all you, God/Devil, Ying/Yan, Jesus/Woland, ... there's always the bright and the dark in the world (and in any belief). Hey, this Jesus part starts to make sense to me! :D


message 37: by Nina (new) - rated it 5 stars

Nina | 449 comments Kirsten wrote: "NPR's All Things Considered recently had this related item:

http://www.npr.org/blogs/parallels/20..."


Thanks for sharing the link, Kirsten, nice article! Next time I am in Moscow I will certainly go the museum!


message 38: by [deleted user] (new)

Nina wrote: "So far (having just finished chapter 3) I would say a small part in terms of importance (though a big part in terms of pages). Regarding the story of Jesus: no matter how it all happened, we know t..."

That actually answered my question quite nicely. And does sound like something I would like.

I'm probably going to give it another go later in the month, when my mind is a little quieter.


message 39: by Lisa (last edited Feb 17, 2015 02:00PM) (new) - rated it 3 stars

Lisa | 6 comments I finished the book!

1)Book One:perfect!
2)Book Two:inconsistent!
3)the Master and Margarita: a disappointment!


message 40: by Kirsten (new) - added it

Kirsten  (kmcripn) I just started, so I have no opinion at this point. Though, I can see that it could really piss off viewers of Fox News.


message 41: by Nina (new) - rated it 5 stars

Nina | 449 comments Having just finishe chapter 11 I still struggle with the fact that almost every chapter introduces a new character that - at least for that chapter - is important enough to remember them properly. I started wondering how many new characters will be introduced. And I continued noting down their names and roles, haha, it helps me a great deal, otherwise I would totally confuse them...

What I find admiring is that despite the fact that many characters (so far) only show up in one or two chapters and still they all have very clear characteristics en well-rounded personalities.

Also, I find it sort of interesting that although it is all very absurd and not real in that sense it still comes across in a way that you would almost believe that these things could happen. Not that I believe in magic or the devel, but what I am trying to say is that although the characters are sort of quirky and a bit exaggerated, their behaviour is well-reasoned and sort of understandable. Combined with the absurdity of the story that makes an interesting mix!


message 42: by Nina (new) - rated it 5 stars

Nina | 449 comments Anyone still readong along? I just finished the chapter about the ball and somehow my feelings are getting all mixed up now. During book 1 good and bad was so clearly distinguished. But now somehow all the bad ones almost become human. And Margarita turns evil. And she starts liking the evil ones. I guess that's a bit how real life is but I am struggling to soften my view on the evil characters. Any opinions on this?


message 43: by Lisa (new) - rated it 3 stars

Lisa | 6 comments I don't know. She is presented as this woman in love, beautiful and a little crazy.The evil gang seems to like her for some reason and, they even seem to accept her in their group.In fact, they even give her what she wants in the end.

Like I said before, the second part of the book didnt really make sense to me (besides the Pilate and Jesus story) :(


message 44: by Louise (last edited Feb 27, 2015 05:24AM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

Louise Yeah, the first part is definitely the stronger, I think. Probably due to being more grounded in the 'reality' of Soviet Moscow.

Once the book narrows its focus to pretty much just Margarita's story it does kind of suffer. Maybe that's because I find the love story at the heart of her motivation really shallow though. Am more interested by the ever expanding cast of minor characters just trying to live their everyday lives and having the strange and sinister run ins with the devil than I am in her becoming BFFs with him.

I still thought it was a very good book, with some very interesting themes (and I think the distinctions between good and evil and how Margarita breaches them in book two is definitely one), but I much preferred the first half to the last.


message 45: by Nina (new) - rated it 5 stars

Nina | 449 comments I agree that the first part is stronger, though I really enjoyed the whole book a lot. Whoever proposed it, thanks so much for having made me reread it. It changed my opinion of the book totally.

I actually think that the second part is necessary to the story because here it becomes evident that good and evil mix. In the first it's all very clearly separated. In the second pretty much all the characters have several layers and that adds depth to the story. I also don't think that the first is just about people wanting to live their lives and Satan disturbing it. Almost everyone of them is greedy, upper class in a very unequal society having made their way up by unfair and illegal ways, none of the victims of Satan is a character you would like and I didn't pity any of them - two exceptions that I struggle to understand: Homeless and Rimsky.

I also read somewhere that partly the story has aspects of a Bildungsroman, namely concerning Homeless. Though in other words Bulgakov would disapprove of Homeles being a poet and approve of him developing towards a professor. Same time, Bulgakov himself was a writer, so that's not totally coherent. But it might be that it's about the Massolit-type of writers than about writers in general.

Favourite quote:
'You uttered your words as if you don't acknowledge shadows, or evil either. Kindly consider the question: what would your good do if evil did not exist, and what would the earth look like if shadows disappeared from it? Shadows are case by objects and people. Here is the shadow of my sword. Trees and living beings also have shadows. Do you want to skin the whole earth, tearing all the trees and living things off it, because of your fantasy of bare light? You're a fool.'

I might even tend to say that Satan is the wiser one in the book as he understands this concept of good and evil, whereas Jesus believes in only the good. Which is somehow touching but it's just not how the world works, I guess...


message 46: by Nina (new) - rated it 5 stars

Nina | 449 comments Oh, one more question: did anyone watch any movie/TV adaptation and can recommend? Some of it is so richly described - especially the ball - that I'd love to see how that was transformed into a visual explosion :-)


message 47: by Lisa (last edited Feb 28, 2015 04:20AM) (new) - rated it 3 stars

Lisa | 6 comments Nina wrote: "I agree that the first part is stronger, though I really enjoyed the whole book a lot. Whoever proposed it, thanks so much ..

Ditto! I felt like taking a tour into a parallel, disturbing world, some place I wouldn't have known about, without this book..



I might even tend to say that Satan is the wiser one in the book as he understands this concept of good and evil, whereas Jesus believes in only the good. Which is somehow touching but it's just not how the world works, I guess...

Unfortunately, it's not. Just reading the latest news from Moscow , you have enough proof that the world hasn't changed much.



message 48: by Kirsten (new) - added it

Kirsten  (kmcripn) Yesterday, BBC Radio 3 broadcast a dramatization of M&M. It is available for streaming for the next 29 days:

http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b05202tr


Charlie | 5 comments You can also watch the latest Russian film adaption with English subtitles on youtube.


Charlie | 5 comments So what is the meaning of Master and Margarita dying at the end and meeting Pontius Pilate to set him free? I'm not quite sure what the message is.


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