The Master and Margarita

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Grove Press, 1967 - 31254046232720Jerusalem - 402 pages
176 Reviews
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The devil, disguised as a magician, descends upon Moscow in the 1930s with his riotous band, which includes a talking cat and an expert assassin. Together they succeed in comically befuddling a population which denies the devil's existence, even as it is confronted with the diabolic results of a magic act gone wrong. This visit to the capital of world atheism has several aims, one of which concerns the fate of the Master, a writer who has written a novel about Pontius Pilate, and is now in a mental hospital. Margarita, the despairing and daring heroine, becomes a witch in an effort to save the Master, and agrees to become the devil's hostess at his annual spring ball. By turns acidly satiric, fantastic, and ironically philosophical, this work constantly surprises and entertains, as the action switches back and forth between the Moscow of the 1930s and first-century Jerusalem.

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LibraryThing Review

User Review  - Jarratt - LibraryThing

I read this as a part of a book club (Book Palaver, it's called) and didn't enjoy it much at all, I'm afraid. Not only are there Russian names, which is tough enough, but the author provides multiple ... Read full review

LibraryThing Review

User Review  - ragwaine - LibraryThing

I got to disk 12 out of 13 and just didn't care any more. I don't understand why this is a classic. It's more like a bunch of (repetitive) short stories, with no real main characters to speak of which ... Read full review

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About the author (1967)

Mikhail Afanasevich Bulgakov was a Russian playwright, novelist, and short-story writer best known for his use of humor and satire. He was born in Kiev, Ukraine, on May 15, 1891, and graduated from the Medical School of Kiev University in 1916. He served as a field doctor during World War I. Bulgakov's association with the Moscow Art Theater began in 1926 with the production of his play The Days of the Turbins, which was based on his novel The White Guard. His work was popular, but since it ridiculed the Soviet establishment, was frequently censored. His satiric novel The Heart of a Dog was not published openly in the U.S.S.R. until 1987. Bulgakov's plays including Pushkin and Moliere dealt with artistic freedom. His last novel, The Master and Margarita, was not published until 1966-67 and in censored form. Bulgakov died in Moscow on March 10, 1940.

Mirra Ginsburg was born in Bobruisk, Byelorussia in 1909. As a child, she learned to love books. Folk tales were her favorite type of story, especially those from her native country. She wanted to share the richness, wit, and beauty of the tales with American children and did with her translation work. She died on December 26, 2000.

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