The Master and Margarita by Mikhail Bulgakov
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
There are very few things I can say about this novel except it's Brilliant, Brilliant, Brillant. That, and I am afraid I'm a total fanboy of all Russian novelists and this one in particular.
And I thought Dostoyevski was good. Damn. This one is completely modern, absolutely unappreciated in his time, dead young, and hailed as one of Russia's most popular novelists. Ever. And for good reason. The satire, written in the 50's, lambasts Moscow's '30's and continues to be a threat to all Russia today. It became super popular in the 60's America and was the direct inspiration for The Rolling Stones' Sympathy for the Devil.
Does this ring a few bells?
Let's get down to the reality of this novel a bit. The Master is the novelist writing about Jesus and Pontus Pilate. He falls in love with a woman, and she with him, and her name is Margarita. She becomes a witch. And in the meantime, we've got ourselves a total retelling of Job, a satire that raises the level of Cons to all new heights. *What? Moscow has CON-MEN?*
And of course, we have hard-drinking cats, the Devil, and Pontus Pilate running around Moscow, present day. Lots of action ensues, with decapitation, thugs running amok, plays that are really major shakedowns, rampant nudity, the walking dead, and the UTTER HORRIBLE TERROR that are all editors.
Did I mention I might have just found one of my favorite all-time books? Yeah. This here is gonna have to fight for room on my top 100 list of all time. Maybe it won't have to fight very hard. In fact, I might have to bump it up into the top 20 or maybe even top 10.
It's just that good.
I was reminded a lot of Neil Gaiman's American Gods in a very good way. I was also reminded of a lot of modern comic masterpieces. In execution, it's half-Noir and all literary despair in the other.
I'm in love. :) I wanna do a huge Russian kick now. Maybe re-read all the greats, and then head back to this one and revel away. :) Just. Wow.
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