One of my favorite books, and one of only three novels that have made me weep at the end. Oh, it has demons and witches and a wisecracking cat, plus a Devil who’s both trickster and revolutionary—but there’s also a love story, and a centuries-old tale of redemption woven through dreams, visions, and an unburnt manuscript. Completed in 1940 but first published over twenty-five years after the author’s death, this wildly fantastic novel still feels fresh, funny, and wondrous.— Jedediah
The underground masterpiece of twentieth-century Russian fiction, this classic novel was written during Stalin’s regime and could not be published until many years after its author’s death.
When the devil arrives in 1930s Moscow, consorting with a retinue of odd associates—including a talking black cat, an assassin, and a beautiful naked witch—his antics wreak havoc among the literary elite of the world capital of atheism. Meanwhile, the Master, author of an unpublished novel about Jesus and Pontius Pilate, languishes in despair in a pyschiatric hospital, while his devoted lover, Margarita, decides to sell her soul to save him. As Bulgakov’s dazzlingly exuberant narrative weaves back and forth between Moscow and ancient Jerusalem, studded with scenes ranging from a giddy Satanic ball to the murder of Judas in Gethsemane, Margarita’s enduring love for the Master joins the strands of plot across space and time.
“One of the truly great Russian novels of [the twentieth] century.” —New York Times Book Review
“The book is by turns hilarious, mysterious, contemplative, and poignant . . . A great work.” —Chicago Tribune
“Bulgakov’s The Master and Margarita is a soaring, dazzling novel; an extraordinary fusion of wildly disparate elements. It is a concerto played simultaneously on the organ, the bagpipes, and a pennywhistle, while someone sets off fireworks between the players’ feet.” —New York Times
“Fine, funny, imaginative . . . The Master and Margarita stands squarely in the great Gogolesque tradition of satiric narrative.” —Newsweek
“A wild surrealistic romp . . . Brilliantly flamboyant and outrageous.” —Joyce Carol Oates