The Master and Margarita (Vintage Crucial Classics) Paperback – 7 Aug 2003
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|Paperback, 7 Aug 2003||
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'A superb, stunning, allegorical novel' Nigel Jones, Independent
A fierce satire, filled with dazzling surreal humour --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.See all Product Description
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Top Customer Reviews
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.
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."
Social satire? Fantasy? Historical fiction? Religious fable? Romantic comedy? Existential tragedy? Yes. ...ish. It's a tough one to classify: a lot of labels fit it, but none quite describes all of it... Basically, if you want to know what Russian literature is about but can't be bothered to wade through the 19th century classics, read this - it distils much of what is best about it: the big questions, the sweeping romance, the darkly absurd and phantasmagoric sense of humour. You want "the Russian soul" - it's all there.
The book was first published in Russia in the early 70s and gained cult status pretty much immediately. These days it is very much part of the unofficial Russian canon, and many expressions have entered everyday language. What's it like to actually read? Well, despite having at least three or four core plot lines, this is a pretty tight piece of writing and, as Russian novels go, a comparatively short one - 384 pages. As far as the language goes - hats off to the translators! Bulgakov's language is dense, elaborate, and highly ideomatic. It's hard to translate, and there are plenty of crap translations about.This translation is the best one I've seen for getting across the unique music and atmosphere of the Russian original. That said, the original does expect a bit of an effort on the reader's part - but it's worth it. It really is one of those books where you get out what you put in.
Can I fault this book? Well, I suppose, Bulgakov is pretty partisan, and there are definitely good guys and bad guys. But then, maybe, in a book where Jesus and Satan turn up, that's to be expected.
Bulgarkov weaves a story of remarkable complexity, alternating between the bizarre and the credible. He variously and apparently effortlessly combines humour with tragedy and to some extent mysticism.
This is a book for the serious reader; if you are such, it's likely that you'll be captivated by Bulgarkov's writing - surely the work of a genius.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
This book is an undeniable classic in Russian literature! Well written, touching, entertaining, engrossing, true! Good translation.Published 1 month ago by Regina
How does one describe this book?
Faustian? – undoubtedly but the Faustian bargain goes far further here– which one can’t detail without spoilers
Odd? Read more
Having looked at the original and Glenny's 1967 translation reprinted by Vintage, there would appear to be quite a few mistranslations, or, at best, 'over-interpretations' of the... Read morePublished 3 months ago by Tony Bastow
Not like anything I've read before. Have a try, see if it takes you to new places. Is there a creature more entrancing than Margarita? Read morePublished 4 months ago by DunxE
I find this book's towering reputation quite puzzling. It's entirely possible that some of the satire and references to Russian society and history went over my head, but for me... Read morePublished 4 months ago by S Litton