After War and Peace I thought I might take a break from Russian literature. But my friend Sarah has been bugging me for years to read Mikhail Bulgakov's The Master and Margarita and said it would be a great read after the crap that was War and Peace. Boy, was she right.
The Master and Margarita takes place in Moscow during the Stalin era of terror (specifically the 1930s, since most of the Stalin era was an era of terror). This book is so magnificent, I don't really know how to describe it. Bulgakov uses fantasy to reveal the corruption and lack of artistic freedom in the Soviet Union. Satan lands in Moscow, along with his bizarre crew, and causes total chaos in the artistic community. We find out that his goal is to "save" the Master, a writer, who was institutionalized after he wrote a book about Jesus and Pontius Pilate. Intrigued yet? This book will make you think for days and days. If you don't know much about Soviet history, it might make you head to your local library to learn why this book was banned for 26 years after it was written. And when you finish reading it, you know you'll have to read it again, because you missed something. As for me, I'm going to start looking for Bulgakov's work, because he is indeed a Master.