Wednesday, December 26, 2012

25 Points: Master and Margarita

1. It's Bul-GA-kof, apparently.

2. This isn't magical realism.

3. So Satan's in the book? I wouldn't get too hung up on this fact.

4. It's more like science fiction, in the way that a lot of things happen but nothing really happens.

5. Master and Margarita was a samizdat, which makes it kind of romantic and interesting.

6. You would think the communists would spend their time banning more inflammatory works.

7. Bulgakov isn't a very flowery writer, just the straight facts: "And then Koroviev this and Andreyevich that."

8. Until, near the end of the novel, when he drops this doozy:
"Gods, Gods! How sad the evening earth! How mysterious the mysts over the bogs! Whoever has wandered over these mists, whoever suffered deeply before death, whoever flew over this earth burdened beyond human strength know it. The weary one knows it. And he leaves without regret the mists of the earth, its swamps and rivers, and yields himself with an easy heart to the hands of death, knowing that it alone can bring surcease."
9. The book is certainly religious, or has religious themes, but in a remarkable and unique way. Bulgakov's take on religion is unlike anything you have read before. It manages to be satirical and reverent, authentic and creative.

10. The book is titled after fairly minor characters.

11. People talk about the scene where Satan's party occurs but i don't get what the big deal is.

12. This cat rolls his eyes at a display of human sympathy. This part made me laugh out loud.

13. The magic powers kind of go overboard.

14. Really...the balance is off with the powers, this kind of dented the book for me.

15. The novel has two pretty big things going for it: it's depiction of the 30's Moscow literary scene, and the religion thing.

16. There are a lot of characters for a book this length. It allows a decent range of interaction but Bulgakov spends too little time on too many, so few of the characters ever really flesh out.

17. The novel has a keen eye for the layout of Moscow and Jerusalem. I've been to one city but not the other. The city I haven't been to seemed more real in the novel, frankly.

18. I bought the Mira Ginsburg translation which was taken from an edition censored by the Soviets. Discovering this was unfortunate.

19. Not that I have read that many Russians but this seemed sort of...Unrussian. It was too funny, not enough dwelling on what the characters were thinking. Not a bad thing, but different from Tolstoy and D-sky.

20. There is this writer's association in the book MASSOLIT which I want to know if it was a real thing or not. It seems an unreasonable place, read that maybe it is a satire of Moscow's writing scene...

21. The book really is about the Master's work: a retelling of Jesus' death. The Moscow scenes primarily act as a scaffold to hold the master's work up.

22. The last section may or may not be extremely beautiful, it seemed very beautiful.

23. Unsure whether I will seek out more of Bulgakov's writing before reading the unredacted version of Master and Margarita.

24. Margarita is obsessed with the Master. It's like Bulgakov was trying to portray a perfect love but it came off as creepy to me.

25. She sews him a hat. With a gold M on it...

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