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The Master and Margarita (Collins Classics) [Paperback]

Mikhail Bulgakov
4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (71 customer reviews)
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Book Description

8 Jan 2015 Collins Classics
(Book Jacket Status: Jacketed)

The underground masterpiece of twentieth-century Russian fiction, Mikhail Bulgakov’s THE MASTER AND MARGARITA was written during Stalin’s regime and could not be published until many years after its author’s death.

When the devil arrives in 1930s Moscow, consorting with a retinue of odd associates—including a talking black cat, an assassin, and a beautiful naked witch—his antics wreak havoc among the literary elite of the world capital of atheism. Meanwhile, the Master, author of an unpublished novel about Jesus and Pontius Pilate, languishes in despair in a pyschiatric hospital, while his devoted lover, Margarita, decides to sell her soul to save him. As Bulgakov’s dazzlingly exuberant narrative weaves back and forth between Moscow and ancient Jerusalem, studded with scenes ranging from a giddy Satanic ball to the murder of Judas in Gethsemane, Margarita’s enduring love for the Master joins the strands of plot across space and time.
--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Product details

  • Paperback: 432 pages
  • Publisher: William Collins (8 Jan 2015)
  • ISBN-10: 000755821X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0007558216
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (71 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 2,097,359 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description


This novel, considered by many a masterpiece of 20th century Soviet era literature, is complex and many layered. It tells three stories, including that of Pontius Pilate and Jesus, the story of the Master who is in an insane asylum and his true love Margarita, and a writer who wants to destroy his own masterpiece which is the first story of Pontius Pilate. The main story is set in Russia in the 1930's and involves the devil who is disguised as Professor Woland, who can use black magic. Actually, listeners may wish for some magic of their own to keep the three stories straight, to separate fantasy from reality and to appreciate the nuances of the stories, all of which require a knowledge of art, religion, history, the Soviet era and the life of Christ. In addition, there is the usual difficulty of keeping the Russian names straight as characters are called by alternating versions of their first, middle and last names throughout. And then there is the fact that this novel is a satire and so it is up to the listener to figure out if the author actually means what he is saying. Fortunately, narrator Julian Rhind-Tutt, a British actor, is a magician with his voice. Within a minute, he can voice three characters and the narrator, gliding silkily from one to another with great distinction among them. Even if listeners aren't totally sure what is going on at all times, this audiobook is still is a pleasure to listen to. And after this audiobook, listeners can always go on to read the book with a confidence gleaned from this intelligent and entertaining interpretation.

Bulgakov's satire of the greed and corruption of Soviet authorities illustrates the redemptive nature of art and faith, and Julian Rhind-Tutt's superb interpretation does the classic full justice. With a dramatic flair and a deep, multilayered voice, he pulls off a host of fantastical characters including Professor Woland (Satan) and several of his associates, Pontius Pilate and Jesus Christ, witches and madmen and a variety of early 20th-century Moscow literary and theater types. --Publisher's Weekly --This text refers to the Audio CD edition.

Book Description

A fierce satire, filled with dazzling surreal humour --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Customer Reviews

4.4 out of 5 stars
4.4 out of 5 stars
This item has not been released yet and is not eligible to be reviewed. Reviews shown are from other formats of this item.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
13 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Pleased to meet you - hope you guessed my name. 22 May 1999
By A Customer
Abandon everything you thought you knew. This may appear to be a cartoonish romp featuring farcical demons, beautiful witches and Mauser-wielding cats, but Bulgakov is screwing with your mind. Is this novel a biting satire of Stalinist Russia, a damning indictment of organised religion, a critique of received truth, or is it simply The Truth? Read the book that inspired Mick Jagger to write Sympathy For The Devil and decide for yourself.
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58 of 64 people found the following review helpful
My review is less about the novel and more about the translation; while I am not a Russian speaker/reader and therefore have not read the original to be able to compare, I think that the "naturalness" of this particular English translation is not that great - the language seems stilted and slightly awkward. At first I wondered if this awkwardness was deliberate (ie that it was also present in the Russian) but having checked the first pages of a couple of other English translations of the same book, I have decided that it isn't as other versions are more readable and "authentic" English. I would suggest trying Volokhonsky & Pevear or Burgin & O'Connor's translations instead.
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28 of 31 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars the ultimate masterpiece 13 Oct 2004
If I was to name one book as my favorite of all times this has got to be it. It is hugely entertaining, incredibly moving and a multi-layered description of the burocratic hell that is Moscow in the early 20th century. Needless to say the book is a classic, there will ALWAYS be burocratic hells around.
It is quite brilliant to have satan come to save the world, to make bad things happen to bad people and to save the last remaining good souls from destruction.
But the real beauty of the book is the wonderful book within the book, the master's masterpiece, the story of Pontius Pilate. I often read these chapters by themselves for it is a wonderfully written story of Christ and his tormentor.
Anyway, if you haven't read it, please do. if you enjoy good literature you will not be disappointed.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
By Gina
I am so sad that I did not enjoy this book more. A historian of Soviet history and a learner of the Russian language, I really wanted to love this book as much as I know many people do. I could recognise the brilliance of the novel, and Bulgakov's mastery, but I personally found it a little too wacky. I would recommend this book to others, but maybe not to the less adventurous reader.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Devillish deeds in Moscow 9 Jan 2013
By Olive
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Hard work on the first read. Complex web of goings on for which you definately need to suspend your disbelief but surprisingly entertaining in a very dark way. Will have to read it again to get the full effect.
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14 of 16 people found the following review helpful
By A Customer
You can take it on trust, this is a brilliant book. The question is which translation to get? I'd recommend this one, which reads very poetically in English. The Penguin is more faithful to the Russian ( I assume ) but less powerful, more stilted, in the English. The following quote can be found in my review of the Penguin translation also, to allow you to compare. Which one sends shivers down your spine?. "The mist that came from the Meditarranean sea blotted out the city that Pilate
so detested. The suspension bridges connecting the temple with the grim fortress of Antonia vanished, the murk descended from the sky and drowned the winged gods above the hippodrome, the crenellated Hasmonaean palace, the bazaars, the caravanserai, the alleyways, the pools ... Jerusalem, the great city, vanished as though it had never been. The mist devoured everything, frightening every living creature in Jerusalem and its surroundings. The city was engulfed by a strange cloud which had
crept over it from the sea towards the end of that day, the fourteenth of the month of Nisan."
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24 of 28 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Greatest Novel Ever 24 Sep 2004
With the ingenius use of the Biblical tale of Pontius Pilate, Mikhail Bulgakov has written probably the greatest novel ever. Although I now know it is a famous book, it wasn't brought to my attention untill this year. For a 19 year old, old "cult classics" don't usually have a grand appeal, however deciding to read this was one of the best decisions of my life.
Although the story is extraordinarily bizarre and surreal, it never seems to go over-the-top when you're reading it - although you know very well that it is exceeding reality beyond any reckoning. Thus, when you are reading it, you take the shape of the book in the sense that it seems perfectly normal. The craziness, evidently, makes it very hard for a voluntary reviewer to put it into words!
If you manage to keep up with the story, and I've heard people say they couldn't, then this makes for an utterly fascinating read. The bewildering list of Russian names can easily confuise the reader, however changing the names from their originals into "Peter Jones" or "John Smith" would take the mystique away from the book and besides, names like "Nikolai Ivanovich Bosoi" just make it much more exciting! Writing a short synposis of this story is impossible, one can only explain how amazing this book is and recommend anybody with the time read it with full concentration.
The main thing about this is how the adventurous fiction is intertwined with the story of Pontius Pilate and his decision to execute the prisoner "Yeshua Ha-Nostri". The links and the connections between the two tales are gloriously played out by Bulgakov who seems to return to the Pilate story from the story of a black magician's visit to Moscow with immaculate frequency. Come the end chapters of this book, the satisfaction of realising what has happened is one I have never been met with by any book.
This is a must-read book for anyone!
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars An incredible introduction to "other" Russian writers
I COULDN'T put this book down.
As a lover of Tolstoy's writing, and Dostoevsky, I hadn't "branched out" till this one. Read more
Published 18 days ago by Craig Campbell
4.0 out of 5 stars Crazy trip
Just wonderfully mental! I'm sure there is lots of analysis in other reviews that are far more eloquent than I could hope to be but this book was just fabulously weird.
Published 1 month ago by Michelle White
3.0 out of 5 stars Vapid Dreaming
In my opinion, this vapid, dream-like, 'masterpiece' is nothing more than a rambling, random, chaos of events unsupported and unsustained by any meaningful characterisation or... Read more
Published 1 month ago by Woolco
3.0 out of 5 stars Weird!
I read this book on the recommendtion of my brother who was very impressed with it. I don't think I quite got the plot!.Sometime in the future I will reread it. Read more
Published 1 month ago by gillian mathias
5.0 out of 5 stars Great
Both filled with humour and charm, Bulgakov delivers and leaves no room for disappointment. Joy to read, would buy again without hesitation.
Published 2 months ago by Sarah Williams
5.0 out of 5 stars brilliant!
totally brilliant book by the master of tales. so good i've bought copies for friends none of whom have been disappointed.
Published 3 months ago by TC
2.0 out of 5 stars So many typos!
This is such a special story but in this version, it's a pity that more care was not taken to ensure correct spelling...
Published 3 months ago by Amazon Customer
5.0 out of 5 stars A real classic
This is one of those rare books that everyone should take a try at reading. Beautiful writing, a story on many levels from pure black magic to savage and witty anti communist... Read more
Published 3 months ago by B. Knott
5.0 out of 5 stars Superb
The power of Bulgakov's imagination and his exceptional style of writing have produced a truly enchanting book that is an immense pleasure to read. Read more
Published 4 months ago by Buyer
4.0 out of 5 stars Classy
A fantasy novel that is very entertaining to read and a bit different to boot. I really enjoyed the style and the originality of the story. Read more
Published 7 months ago by superbonce
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