Book: The Master and Margarita


The book: The Master and Margarita, by Mikhail Bulgakov

The edition: Italian translation by Maria Serena Prina, as published by Oscar Mondadori, 552 pages, including a short story and a letter to the USSR Government by Bulgakov as well as a foreword about the author and an afterword about the novel

The story: a good summary here

My experience with the book & my thoughts: I’m sorry I don’t have much to say about this one. And not because a lot of time has passed since I read it, but simply because it went quite over my head. Even with a preface and afterword and everything, I still didn’t get it. Much.
OK, some social and political satire was so evident that even I saw it. Like when they say that the apartment is mysterious because people have disappeared — as in, went away with a policeman who wanted to check on them, and never went back. But that was pretty much all that I got out of this book. Sorry.

Language & writing: oh how I loved the language here! I cannot show you, because I read it in Italian, but it was full of beautiful words… and I started thinking that such words would have a hard time getting published today, and that since the Internet all languages seem to be somehow impoverished…

Links to better understand this book: I did try to understand some more… and I’m sure you’ll do a better job. Here’s something that may be of help:

Read this if: I’d say, if you like the classics and have the tools (knowledge) to appreciate and understand it.


4 comments on “Book: The Master and Margarita

  1. Interesting how you can love the language of a book and at the same time not getting it (much) 🙂 That dichotomy deserves a special blog post just by itself!

  2. Hi Scribacchina,

    It definitely doesn’t sound like a silly notion to me, although I have to say that this is one book that wouldn’t be for me. Fantasy is not really my genre anyway, but even the synopsis went way over my head and didn’t capture my interest at all.
    I can appreciate the beauty of words and language, but they mean very little to me, if there is no substance of a discernible plot and story to substantiate them.
    The only time that words and language on their own have a positive meaning for me, is in poetry, although even then, there has to be some thought line behind it for me, not just random words strung together.
    It is a good job that we don’t all like the same thing, isn’t it?

  3. Thank you for your answer Yvonne. I really can’t help it 😉 but I see what you mean, that words mean little if there is no plot to substantiate them. For the word geek that I am, I’d still take plot over beautiful words anytime. But this book hit me especially hard from that point of view, making me think about the way language has changed in recent years. Working with words myself, it’s hard to accept.
    BTW, I’m not sure this book qualifies as fantasy… I don’t know how to qualify it at all 🙂

Ditelo con parole vostre/Let your words be heard

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