Re-Read: The Master and Margarita (Mikhail Bulgakov)

The Master and Margarita is a novel by Mikhail Bulgakov. I read the German translation (Der Meister und Margarita) by Thomas Reschke.
Finished on: 5.2.2020
[Here’s my last review.]

Plot:
Moscow, 1930. The writers Berlioz and Besdomny are in the middle of a discussion about the existence, or better yet actual non-existence of Jesus, when they are interrupted by a stranger who tells them a story of how he was present during Pontius Pilate’s trial of Jesus. Then the stranger goes on to predict Berlioz rather gruesome death, which promptly happens. Turns out, said stranger is actually the devil. In the guise of the black magician Voland, he and his associates came to wreak havoc in Moscow.

This is actually the third time I read Master and Margarita, and it’s probably the time it worked best for me. But I’d still say, it’s far from being a favorite of mine and it will probably really have been the last time I read it. (Why did I read it three times ? Well, the first time I was too young, so I wanted to read it a second time to really get it. And the third time now was for a Soviet lit class at uni.)

The book cover showing the shadowy profile of a cat.
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Heart of a Dog (Mikhail Bulgakov)

Heart of a Dog is a novella by Mikhail Bulgakov. I read the English translation by Avril Pyman.
Finished on: 16.1.2020

Plot:
Professor Preobrazhensky finds a hurt dog on the streets of Moscow and takes it home. The dog quickly gets used to the good life he has as Sharik with the Professor, but the Professor and his assistant Doctor Bormenthal are actually working on a project – and for that project, they need the dog. When the circumstances are just right, the dog will be the subject of their experiment.

Heart of a Dog is a bit like a Russian take on Frankenstein, with a healthy dose of satire and criticism of the Soviet political system/Stalinism. I enjoyed it a lot.

The book cover showing a dog in a suit.

[Slight SPOILERS]

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The Master and Margarita

The Master and Margarita
Director: Simon McBurney
Writer: Simon McBurney
Based on: Mikhail Bulgakov’s novel
Cast: David Annen, Thomas Arnold, Josie Daxter, Johannes Flaschberger, Tamzin Griffin, Amanda Hadingue, Richard Katz, Sinéad Matthews, Tim McMullan, Clive Mendus
Part of: Wiener Festwochen

Plot:
Moscow, 1939. The writers Berlioz and Besdomny are in the middle of a discussion about the existence, or better yet actual non-existence of Jesus, when they are interrupted by a stranger who tells them a story of how he was present during Pontius Pilate’s trial of Jesus. Then the stranger goes on to predict Berlioz rather gruesome death, which promptly happens. Turns out, said stranger is actually the devil. In the guise of the black magician Voland, he and his associates came to wreak havoc in Moscow.

Simon McBurney made an excellent adaptation of the book with a really cool and rather minimalistic stage design and a good cast. I liked it much better than I liked the book.

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Re-Read: Ма́стер и Маргари́та [The Master and Margarita] (Mikhail Bulgakov)

The Master and Margarita is a novel by Mikhail Bulgakov.

Plot:
Moscow, 1930. The writers Berlioz and Besdomny are in the middle of a discussion about the existence, or better yet actual non-existence of Jesus, when they are interrupted by a stranger who tells them a story of how he was present during Pontius Pilate’s trial of Jesus. Then the stranger goes on to predict Berlioz rather gruesome death, which promptly happens. Turns out, said stranger is actually the devil. In the guise of the black magician Voland, he and his associates came to wreak havoc in Moscow.

I read the novel for the first time about 10 years ago and basically all I remembered about it was that I did not get this novel. At all. Unfortunately I have to admit that this second read just now really did not change that.

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