The Master and Margarita

The Master and Margarita by Mikhail Bulgakov

What We Read

The devil comes to Moscow disguised as an out-of-town “magician” named Woland and he brings a bunch of his idiot friends (a gun-happy talking cat named Behemoth and a fanged hitman named Azazello) and they test humanity with doublespeak, manipulation and murder. The book was, allegedly, listed as one of the Top 100 Most Important Books Ever. It’s super-dense and super-Russian, but not sad like Dostoevsky or epic like Tolstoy. Bulgakov’s lampooning of the Russian elite, aimless Communists and, well, religion made for a read that was as insightful as it was important.

What We Did (and How We Did It)

This was our very, very, very first book club. It was hosted by Elise Frketich, who now lives in Belgium (and who might, consequently, be evil) and studies philosophy. What we did was simple. Elise had a list of about 10 questions. She asked questions. We answered them. Whoever answered the most right won the trophy, which Elise introduced for the first time at our first book club and, apparently, was forgotten by a group of cheerleaders who attended a conference at UBC.

What We Thought

Some people who will remain nameless didn’t read the book. Others stopped reading it. One didn’t know what he read and his name was Kurt. Consensus was that this club started off with the hardest book to consume and digest that we’ve ever read – and that we might ever read. But, at the end of the day, it came with an important lesson: if you see a giant talking cat with a machine gun, man, just turn around and walk away. And I think that these are words we can all live by.

As told by John Horn…

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5 thoughts on “The Master and Margarita

  1. I’m pretty sure I read this, but can’t remember anything about it. I think I was going through a magical realism phase. I think I liked this one, loved Rushdie’s Midnight’s Children, and couldn’t bear 100 Years of Solitude.

    Wait- this was for your FIRST book club? When was that? Why the review now?

  2. Brenton – didn’t you read the last sentence of the post – beware of large machine gun wielding cats – how much more insight do you need??!?

    Julian – sorry about the delay, we are sadly a little bit behind when it comes to the book reviews, but a bunch more will be coming online shortly!

    K

  3. Brenton – my insight: read Midnight’s Children instead.

    Kurt – phew! I thought the DG had started doing reruns.

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