Matthew’s raving about The Master and Margarita persuaded me to buy a copy, and I am very pleased I read it, although it has to be the most bizarre book I have ever read!
The book is set primarily in 1930s Moscow and begins with three men arguing over the non-existence of God. Suddenly a stranger appears, and amused by their conversation, asks if they believe in the devil either. The stranger goes on to predict that one of the men, the poet Berlioz, will die, which he does in a shockingly quick and bizarre way.
The others are stunned by his death, but this is only the beginning of the weird events which go on to occur. The stranger claims to be a professor of black magic and he brings with him a six foot tall cat called Behomoth who smokes cigars. The plot gets stranger as it continues, and also alternates between the trial of Yeshua (Jesus) in Jerusalem. It is really hard to summarize the book, as so much happens, but it is packed with action, inventiveness and political/religious satire.
I have to admit that there were many aspects of the book I didn’t like, and I’m sure that a lot of the religion and politics went over my head, but the inventiveness of this book was amazing. There were many parallels with Murakami, and I am also spotting similarities between this book and 2666, which I am currently reading with Steph and Claire.
Overall, I’m really pleased that I read it, as I think it is an important piece of literature, but I prefer my books to be based slightly closer to reality.
The Master and Margarita website is one of the best website for an individual book I have found. It even contains maps showing where each event occurs. Only take a look if you’ve read the book though, as it is packed with spoilers.
Have you read The Master and Margarita?
What is the weirdest book you have ever read?