Paperback, 373 pages

English language

Published March 9, 1996 by Vintage International.

ISBN:
978-0-679-76080-1
Copied ISBN!
OCLC Number:
154557264

View on OpenLibrary

4 stars (130 reviews)

The first complete, annotated English Translation of Mikhail Bulgakov's comic masterpiece.

An audacious revision of the stories of Faust and Pontius Pilate, The Master and Margarita is recognized as one of the essential classics of modern Russian literature. The novel's vision of Soviet life in the 1930s is so ferociously accurate that it could not be published during its author's lifetime and appeared only in a censored edition in the 1960s. Its truths are so enduring that its language has become part of the common Russian speech.

One hot spring, the devil arrives in Moscow, accompanied by a retinue that includes a beautiful naked witch and an immense talking black cat with a fondness for chess and vodka. The visitors quickly wreak havoc in a city that refuses to believe in either God or Satan. But they also bring peace to two unhappy Muscovites: one is the Master, a writer …

149 editions

Satiirista kohellusta ja noitajuttuja

3 stars

Oikein vetävästi ja hilpeästi alkava kirja, joka kuitenkin pian rupeaa käymään hiukan puuduttavaksi. Joka tapauksessa kirja on sen verran kuuluisa, etten oikein tiedä, mitä odotin, mutta tapahtumat ja tyyli olivat lopulta jotain sellaista, mitä en ainakaan osannut odottaa. Saatana apureineen saa moskovalaiset lähinnä hölmöilemään itsekseen ja tekemään toisilleen pikkumaisia jäyniä ja kostoja, ei ryhtymään mihinkään todelliseen pahuuteen. Kiinnostavana lisänä tässä painoksessa on kursiivilla merkitty kohdat, joita Neuvostoliitossa julkaistussa painoksessa ei ole ollut, ja siitä voi yrittää miettiä, millaisia detaljeja siellä on sensuroitu. Jostain syystä esimerkiksi hymyily niin, että hampaat näkyvät, on päätynyt säännönmukaisesti sensuurin kouriin.

Review of 'The Master and Margarita' on 'Goodreads'

5 stars

I'm a cynic, and gloss over the whole tormented, introspective creative narrative. Author wants to write a historical recounting of Jesus's life, creates a self-insert character who is loftily referred to as only "Master" who wishes to do the exact thing but also ironically can't because they're both stuck in Russia's bubble of influence. Plus the shock humor, because he must bite his thumb at the world. This guy knows he doesn't have much time left, so begin his magnum opus of outrage towards society at large. Skipping this part...

Anyway...

For a book that is near a hundred years old, this is an incredibly modern, pervasive use of literary voice. If you told me it was written from someone in the last 10 years, but featured this Russian noir setting mixed with some hellish interpretations of Studio Ghibli and 'The Master and Margarita' was the end result, I'd go, …

Review of 'The Master and Margarita' on 'Goodreads'

No rating

Abandoned; it just wasn't working for me. I usually like the Slavic sly-wink writing style, that little ironic edge where the author brings you in on a shared joke: Balys Sruoga, Milan Kundera, even Solzhenitsyn made it work beautifully. Here, it feels heavyhanded, like the author just thinks the reader is stupid and wants to use a bludgeon to make sure his irony is clear. (Maybe that's part of the joke; if so, I'm not smart enough to get it, and that's OK).

Review of 'The Master and Margarita' on 'GoodReads'

No rating

I'm not going to give a rating on this one because I didn't make it to the end before giving up. About 3/4 of the way through, I see no reason to finish.

This may be a Russian masterpiece, I just cannot tell. I cannot make sense of the English translation and it feels like I'm just reading disjoint words rather than sentenses, let alone a story. All of the supposed humour and satire is lost on me, and I seriously fail to see how non-russian speakers are rating this translation so high.

Review of 'The Master and Margarita' on 'Goodreads'

4 stars

"Weird," was my reaction to much of the book. It's funny in an absurdist way that I'm not sure really translates in the moment, or perhaps in the translation. The image of the secret police shooting without success at Behemoth the cat is quietly hilarious.

I'm of two minds on my overall takeaway. I would have preferred more footnotes and annotations, since the few pages that my version offered didn't really give a great amount of insight into the people and places being satirized. I got the broad strokes: stalinism, gulags, etc., but the nuance I just assumed is there. So I would have liked to break that down more. Another example: an end note describes the repeated reference to a "Queen Margot", but doesn't give any further context. With no knowledge of the historical character, the allusion doesn't give me any better context for understanding Margarita in the novel. …

Review of 'Мастер и Маргарита' on 'Goodreads'

5 stars

When I first read The Master and Margarita by Mikhail Bulgakov back in 2012 I had no idea how to review it. Now that I have re-read the book, I am still at a loss. The Master and Margarita is often considered as one of the best novels of the 20th century by critics and cited as the top example of Soviet satire. Like most of Mikhail Bulgakov’s bibliography, this author never saw the effect that this novel had on the world; it was written between 1928 and 1940 but was first published in 1967, long after his death.

One of the things I love about Russian literature is the social commentary and satirical nature found in a lot of their books. During the Soviet era there was a lot written about the political state of the country but these were often heavily censored before publication. There was a distribution …

Review of 'The Master and Margarita' on 'Goodreads'

4 stars

This book was better than I expected. Although I wouldn't call it a favorite, I can see why some people really like it. By itself, it's a good fantastical tale set in more modern times (compared to say, medieval Europe). It's a bit over the top at times, but still enjoyable.

A full review is up in my blog: strakul.blogspot.com/2014/06/book-review-master-and-margarita-by.html

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