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30/30 Day Book Meme: The One Book

Day 30: Favorite book of all time

Longtime readers and followers of this blog would know right away that it is The Master and Margarita by Mikhail Bulgakov. I might have challenge my readers’ patience with an overload of the book’s publicity campaign. Set in the iron curtain of a society that is Soviet Union in 1930s, The Master and Margarita, banned in Bulgakov’s lifetime, is his response to this fear-struck, panic-stricken era. Despite the atmosphere of terror that deepened all through the years he was working on the novel, the book takes on a surprisingly light tone, one of multifaceted humor, without compromising its philosophical depth. It is Bulgakov’s embittered and sarcastic response (and indictment) to his era’s denial of imagination and its wish to strip the world of divine qualities.

I own all the current/in-print editions in English, which are translated by various scholars. I have read the novel six times, with the seventh reading due in early next year. I have always recommended this book to friends and book bloggers with no reservation. It’s not a difficult book but it does require careful effort and patience. It contemplates on the ever-ending philosophical question about the duality of good vs. evil. Highly allegorical, with humorous, surreal, and religious nuances galore, the book is a product of reconciliation of the absolute opposites: how would anyone ever conceive a world in which God and Satan work toward the same end, and that good is not necessarily better than evil? This is only possible through Bulgakov’s enduring experiences during the remarkable era that powerfully affected his perspectives on politics and life. I cannot say it’s the all-time favorite of every person to whom I have recommended, but it’s a consensus that people felt they should have read it sooner.

9 Responses

  1. I might have found it difficult to predict but I am not shocked it is this title. And you aren’t the only one praising it. More reason why I should read it.

    • Good. I know I can just go on and talk about this book. Reading is believing. The two stories might not be obviously intertwined at first. they will eventually.

  2. It’s been in my TBR pile all year and I am running the TBR Double Dare next year so…..

  3. Please, more praise for The Master and Margarita. One cannot promote it enough :).

  4. I love all the different covers. I read this one for a college lit class and loved it. We had great, in depth discussions about the book. I will never regret reading it and only regret that I haven’t reread it.

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