Bulgakov’s Master and Margarita, Take #4

(this really was the best I could do)

(this really was the best I could do)

“You’ll remove your Pushkin tattoo and replace it with a Bulgakov quote once you read Master and Margarita

Said the Bulgakov reader to the Pushkin fan.

(Said Bulgakov reader has never read a word of Pushkin as an adult though, just saying…)

I’ve had my copy of Master and Margarita since I was 16 years old when my mum bought me the Penguin ‘Banned Books’ box collection. I never understood why she bought me such a set given that she would censor my bookshelves every now and then of books she deemed too explicit (though she left The Complete Works of Marquis de Sade untouched for the entire time I lived with her simply because I think she saw it was the Complete Works of Somebody and only moral upstanding writers could have Complete Works editions made), but I digress.

For some reason every time I try to read Master and Margarita, I enjoy it, but I just can’t break past the third chapter. No idea why! Now that 10 years have passed I really feel I should read this book for the following reasons:

  • I’ve kept the book for all this time, so on some level I made a promise to myself to finish it one day
  • all the people I know (and like) who have read this have rated it high which is a promising recommendation in itself, even though I could end up hating it completely as I did with Infinite Jest
  • I like the whole Mephistopheles characterisation trope generally (there’s a reason why Rolling Stones’ Sympathy for the Devil is a good song),

and, most importantly, my boyfriend’s parents think it’s a great book. It doesn’t hurt to have a good incentive to stick to this book this time, and what better incentive than being paranoid no matter how clever you are, your partner’s parents probably think you’re a bit uneducated if you haven’t read a certain book.

[Also on that note, what a good premise to judge all future partners of sons/daughters:
“You’re having sex with my child, I dislike you already, tell me what you’re reading at the moment so I can decide whether or not I can tolerate you.”
“Umm, I’m reading this Dan Brown novel at th-”
“Get out.”]

Anyway, though I doubt I’ll find Bulgakov better than Pushkin, I’ll be giving Master and Margarita one more determined try after I finish reading Bulgakov’s novella Heart of a Dog. Deep down I know I can’t say I like Russian literature without reading these two books of Bulgakov, so here I go again…

Any reading progress updated via goodreads account par for the course.

[image credit: http://lagoutin.ru/post/1231017592]

POSTSCRIPT:
Apparently my boyfriend was later told off for shaming the family in admitting that he’d never having read a word of Lermontov (another favourite of mine). I’m dancing around with the three editions I have of Hero of our Time & a copy of his biography. Seriously, though, when is a good edition of his poetry going to be published?

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About SZ

Like dice in mid-air.
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