8 October 2014

Book Review: The Master and Margarita

“But what can be done, the one who loves must share the fate of the one he loves.”
The Master and Margarita took me two attempts to read. The first time I tried I just could not get past the first chapter. I now put this down to the fact that I wasn't concentrating. I love Russian literature but sometimes the names cause me a bit of a headache as I have to keep going backwards to check who's who. I think that's what slowed me down with this novel the first time round. 

1930s Moscow and the devil decides to pay a visit. With his motley crew in tow old Satan wreaks havoc on the townsfolk of Moscow teaching them lessons about greed and corruption. The novel takes place between Moscow and Jerusalem with two stories running parallel, that of the Master, Margarita, the Devil and his crew and that of Pontius Pilate and Yeshua (Jesus). The two stories are intertwined and both are relatively interesting. I probably enjoyed the main thread in Moscow a bit more than that in Jerusalem as the characters were so great. 

My favourite character by far was the mischievous Behemouth, the cat. I know what you're thinking, "you only like him because you're a crazy cat lady". This is only partly true. I do love him because he's a cat but I love him more because he is ferociously sarcastic and loves Vodka. What's not to like? 

I am not going to go into too much detail about the actual events that happen in the novel because it is far too complex to put into few words. I also think it should come as a surprise. I don't know why I picked up this novel; I think it was because it was £2 in HMV and is published by Vintage who I adore. I had no idea what I was letting myself in for but I'm so glad I picked it up. 

By the time I finished this novel I wondered why I hadn't read it sooner; I frickin' loved it. It is bonkers in the best kind of way. It is surreal and satirical and made me fall in love with Russian literature even harder. I wouldn't recommend this if you aren't a fan of the fantastical as this certainly has some unbelievable moments but if you want to try something different, The Master and Margarita is the book for you. 

Rating: ****

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