Posts Tagged ‘Russian Literature’

7th April
2010
written by Steph

Mmmm... margaritas...

Last year Tony read The Master and Margarita and loved it so much that he promptly told me that I needed to read it too.  Only, when I first picked it up, my brain was fried for sundry reasons and I simply could not keep up with the book’s manic and frenetic pace (not to mention all the long Russian names), and I made it about 80 pages in before I threw my hands up in exhausted defeat.  It was a book I was sure I would like if only I was in the right mindframe, preferably one that wasn’t constantly sleep-addled. I put it aside, but with the promise that I would try it anew in the future. And so I did, and it went much better.  Though I must say, that I still found it wildly chaotic and I pretty much was only able to recall about 5 names (out of 15?) throughout the course of the book, so I can’t say all of my previous problems were surmounted, but at least this time I was able to deal with them.  But for all the better, did I love this book? (more…)
19th February
2010
written by Steph

One of my 2010 resolutions that is always at the back of my mind (but struggling to break through to the forefront, I assure you) is that I’d like to read more Classics.  Who doesn’t, really?  We have a pretty wide selection for me to choose from (and with my ipod touch on hand, the possibilities of free public domain novels are nearly endless), so it can be somewhat overwhelming trying to narrow my pick down to single book.  In such times, I tend to wind up creating highly specific restrictions that are ultimately pretty arbitrary.  In this case, I decided that since A Hero of Our Time is considered the father of the Russian novel, and we have a bunch of Russian classics (e.g., The Brothers Karamazov, Doctor Zhivago, The Master & Margarita, etc.,) kicking about the place, I’d better read this one before I tackle any of those other ones.  It only makes sense, right? (more…)
7th April
2009
written by Tony
This could almost be the title of a book by Jimmy Buffet... if that weren't so repulsive.

This could almost be the title of a book by Jimmy Buffet... if that weren't so repulsive.

A warning: parts of this review may seem a bit obtuse if you have not read this book. So. Go, read this book. You will love it. Then come back and read this review and you can see how smart I am and how much you agree with me. Really! Manuscripts don’t burn. So says Satan to Margarita late in the tale. Thus, Satan reveals a truth that Bulgakov found in his own life and brought to this book. The many meanings of this simple phrase offer an excellent metaphor for the novel itself. Quite literally, the notebooks in which writers of the day put their writing were not easily burned. But, of course, more than that, once something is written it takes on a life of its own, and is never really forgotten, and that is the true value and message of this tale. Bulgakov burned the first copy of this book after the failure of another of his works, only to resurrect it years later. In fact, the novel would not have been finished at all if it were not for Bulgakov’s wife. Bulgakov died before he could finish the masterpiece and the last portion was written by his wife. In this way the relationship between the Master and Margarita (our title characters) seems eerily prescient, and is almost certainly an allusion to Bulgakov’s relationship with his wife. (more…)
18th February
2009
written by Tony
Not the edition I read, but the best image I could find

Not the edition I read, but the best image I could find

Steph picked this book up on a whim during one of our many famous book gathering expeditions at McKay’s recently, and I was immediately interested. I’ve read some of the Russian classics and thought it would be interesting to read something billed as the forefather of great Russian prose and fiction. It is also, for many reasons, worth noting that this particular translation was penned by none other than Vladimir Nabokov himself. This enhanced my interest in the volume even more, as I know that Nabokov was an eminent scholar who taught himself perfect English, so the translation would not only be accurate but would contain more of the essence of the original intent and linguistic subtleties inherent in such a complex language as Russian. (more…)