“Life Got You Down? Time to Read The Master and Margarita”

At Lithub, Viv Groskop writes about Mikhail Bulgakov’s The Master and Margarita. “Written in the 1930s but not published until the 1960s, The Master and Margarita is the most breathtakingly original piece of work. Few books can match it for weirdness. The devil, Woland, comes to Moscow with a retinue of terrifying henchmen, including, of course, the giant talking cat (literally the size of a pig’), a witch and a wall-eyed assassin with one yellow fang. They appear to be targeting Moscow’s literary elite. Woland meets Berlioz, influential magazine editor and chairman of the biggest Soviet writers’ club. (Berlioz has been drinking the hiccup-inducing apricot juice.) Berlioz believes Woland to be some kind of German professor. Woland predicts Berlioz’s death, which almost instantly comes to pass when the editor is decapitated in a freak accident involving a tram and a spillage of sunflower oil. All this happens within the first few pages.”

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