The Master and Margarita – Mikhail Bulgakov

Rating: 4/5

I feel like I need to reread this one three more times until I finally understand everything! This is definitely one of most imaginative books I’ve ever read, even though it came at the cost of my comprehension, ha. I chipped away at it for months because it’s just so wacky and nonsensical and dense that I kept having to put it down every few chapters to process what I’d read. The experience I had while reading it was very similar to my read of Neuromancer – I was really confused all throughout, but once I finished I was vaguely happy to have read it, lol.

The Master and Margarita has been on my TBR for years, ever since Daniel Radcliffe said it was his favorite book ever. It really didn’t disappoint! I love the weird humor and whimsy that went into writing this, from Behemoth the talking/walking/human-sized cat to Margarita greeting the souls of “wicked” historical figures at Woland’s midnight ball. The link between present-day Russia and ancient Rome I found a bit tenuous – I would’ve preferred to read the two stories separately (and they’re both interesting enough to stand on their own), rather than force them to be linked together. And as with most Russian literature, there are so many names for each character that I quickly lost track of them (who’s Bosoy again? Which one was Varenukha? Is Styopa the same person as Likhodeyev?) but I just went along for the ride. One day I’ll reread it just to experience the craziness again.

P.S. Until I read this book I thought the title was “The Master and THE Margarita”, and that the book was about a master and his alcoholic beverage 😂

P.P.S. I love this list of 75 covers from around the world and the snarky commentary for each one. I don’t know why, but all the cover art for this book is hilariously bad!

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