Book review on ‘The Master and Margarita’ by Mikhail Bulgakov

Everything will turn out right, the world is built on that
(Mikhail Bulgakov)

`The Master and Margarita`, the novel by Mikhail Bulgakov, became classics of world literature. It was translated into several languages and filmed. The novel holds a special place in my heart. This book is written in magic realism genre: realistic setting (it is Moscow), magical elements (witches, magical creatures and miracles), limited information (Bulgakov deliberately leaves the magic in their stories unexplained in order to normalize it as much as possible.) and critique.

A perfect example of the Russian tradition of wit, imagination and satire that features a wonderful cast of characters (including a talking black cat with a penchant for chess). Bulgakov effortlessly combines the historical, the biblical and the magical to deliver one of the most accomplished and creative books in the world literature.

At first glance it may seem that this book is about love. But it is a big mistake. Besides, there we have Woland, some passages from the Bible and wise philosophy. Bulgakov portrayed the miserable existence of moral principles in the rotten souls of the city folks. Many Muscovites were thinking only about `housing problem` and money.`(…) they are people like any other people, they love money (…)` – said Woland in one chapter. Some of them are just narcissistic fools without any conscience. Against this background Woland (the mysterious foreigner serving dark forces by the way) seems like a wise savior. But he never gives money or decides the problems of common people… He will teach you a lesson, which you never forget (you can ask Berlios).

One of the brightest things in this novel is true and heart breaking love. Margarita is a really powerful woman who is ready to do everything for the happiness with her husband, agreeing to dance at Walpurgis night with vampires, killers and witches.

It is interesting that the novel has only one positive person – Yeshua. He is a symbol of spiritual freedom – he is a fighter. He is shown without his divine qualities; “He is just a good and noble person with a strong moral compass who doubts and questions the surrounding reality,” – these are the words of the author. My rating is 10/10.

December 19, 2020

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