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The Master and Margarita (Vintage Crucial Classics) Paperback – 7 Aug 2003

4.4 out of 5 stars 180 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Paperback: 448 pages
  • Publisher: Vintage; New edition edition (7 Aug. 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0099455722
  • ISBN-13: 978-0099455721
  • Product Dimensions: 18 x 11 x 3.2 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (180 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,731,197 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

Review

'A superb, stunning, allegorical novel' Nigel Jones, Independent

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

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
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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Format: Paperback
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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Format: Paperback
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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Format: Paperback
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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Format: Paperback
This book has got to be one of the best in any language... A man in Stalin's Moscow writes a novel about Jesus. Satan turns up with a retinue of demons, among whom is a giant gun-totin' cat. Much havoc ensues. Pigs fly, choirs of bureauctrats sing folk songs, and lovers find happiness (sort of).

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.
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Format: Paperback
Michael Glenny's translation of Mikhail Bulgarkov's widely acclaimed masterpiece accurately reflects the author's narrative, according to one of my highly competent students of English as a foreign language whose mother tongue is Russian.

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.
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