(Book Jacket Status: Jacketed)
The underground masterpiece of twentieth-century Russian fiction, Mikhail Bulgakov’s THE MASTER AND MARGARITA was written during Stalin’s regime and could not be published until many years after its author’s death.
When the devil arrives in 1930s Moscow, consorting with a retinue of odd associates—including a talking black cat, an assassin, and a beautiful naked witch—his antics wreak havoc among the literary elite of the world capital of atheism. Meanwhile, the Master, author of an unpublished novel about Jesus and Pontius Pilate, languishes in despair in a pyschiatric hospital, while his devoted lover, Margarita, decides to sell her soul to save him. As Bulgakov’s dazzlingly exuberant narrative weaves back and forth between Moscow and ancient Jerusalem, studded with scenes ranging from a giddy Satanic ball to the murder of Judas in Gethsemane, Margarita’s enduring love for the Master joins the strands of plot across space and time.
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This novel, considered by many a masterpiece of 20th century Soviet era literature, is complex and many layered. It tells three stories, including that of Pontius Pilate and Jesus, the story of the Master who is in an insane asylum and his true love Margarita, and a writer who wants to destroy his own masterpiece which is the first story of Pontius Pilate. The main story is set in Russia in the 1930's and involves the devil who is disguised as Professor Woland, who can use black magic. Actually, listeners may wish for some magic of their own to keep the three stories straight, to separate fantasy from reality and to appreciate the nuances of the stories, all of which require a knowledge of art, religion, history, the Soviet era and the life of Christ. In addition, there is the usual difficulty of keeping the Russian names straight as characters are called by alternating versions of their first, middle and last names throughout. And then there is the fact that this novel is a satire and so it is up to the listener to figure out if the author actually means what he is saying. Fortunately, narrator Julian Rhind-Tutt, a British actor, is a magician with his voice. Within a minute, he can voice three characters and the narrator, gliding silkily from one to another with great distinction among them. Even if listeners aren't totally sure what is going on at all times, this audiobook is still is a pleasure to listen to. And after this audiobook, listeners can always go on to read the book with a confidence gleaned from this intelligent and entertaining interpretation. --Soundcommentary.com
Bulgakov's satire of the greed and corruption of Soviet authorities illustrates the redemptive nature of art and faith, and Julian Rhind-Tutt's superb interpretation does the classic full justice. With a dramatic flair and a deep, multilayered voice, he pulls off a host of fantastical characters including Professor Woland (Satan) and several of his associates, Pontius Pilate and Jesus Christ, witches and madmen and a variety of early 20th-century Moscow literary and theater types. --Publisher's Weekly
'A stunning, superb allegorical novel-Bulgakov is one of the greatest modern Russian writers, perhaps the greatest' Independent
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Book Description COLLINS & HARVILL PRESS, 1967. Hardcover. Book Condition: New. book. Bookseller Inventory # 0002615061