My interests run to psychology, popular science, history, world literature, and occasionally something fun like Jasper Fforde. It seems like the only free time I have for reading these days is when I'm in the car so I am extremely grateful for audio books. I started off reading just the contemporary stuff that I was determined not to clutter up my already stuffed bookcases with. And now audio is probably 90% of my "reading" matter.
Without a doubt the best novel I have read in years. I cannot shake the feeling that there are multiple layers of references that I am missing through my own ignorance of Eastern European history in general and 1930s Russian society in particular. Even without that, it is enormously entertaining. It is also somewhat telling how similar Soviet Russia and the US are when you get right down to cases. And human nature is universal no matter what kind of system you try to impose on it.
It is a fairly densely written novel. Apart from a number of Moscow-specific place references, it assumes some familiarity with the New Testament, the Faust story, and their influence on European history in the intervening centuries. All of this is put into play in the service of a satire on contemporary Soviet society in the pre-World War II period. It is of course much more than a mere social satire.
While there is a comic tone that runs throughout most of the book, there are serious aspects as well. I am hard put to think of another book that touches on so many different aspects of humanity. The title characters manage to stay out of center stage through most of it; perhaps their essential dignity shelters them in some way... In any case, the book functions at a number of levels. It is eminently satisfying. I was sorry it had to end. Even though there were some unanswered questions, it still felt like the book had reached its natural place of conclusion, and I was happy to leave things exactly the way the author chose to leave them.
Yes, tremendously clever.
Behemoth and Azazello, such rich characters.
His reading of Behemoth was without par... Very very entertaining
I am astounded that this was a Russian author, having read a number of the other dour Russian authors who always seem to put together a tome that required stamina and dedication.This was a delight to read, and was also quite a bit more than a delightful story, really made me think about Pontius and own responsibility to our actions.
It's a great book but the narrator dramatizes every character into a caricature. It's extremely disorienting and annoying. Couldn't get through it for that reason alone. I ended up buying the actual book.
This book reveals a surprising story and amateur or metaphors and twisted stories will enjoy it. The voice though is sometimes loud and sometimes very low which made it difficult to follow in the street or public areas. But characters are well impersonated
It's combination of deep psychological insight and its profound,
side splitting humor.
One of the final scenes in which the meaning of forgiveness is portrayed in the experience of Pontius Pilate.
His delivery and insight into Bulgakov's humor is delightful.
Loved how it made my imagination fantasize in new peculiar ways! The situations were brilliantly portraited in an old Moscow that just envelope you. And oh the tales from Pontius Pilot! Exquisite reading. Thank you Messiah.
The jury is still out on the story - at the moment, I don't like the fact that Satan is benevolent in the tale, because he is definitely NOT like that in reality - but I felt compelled to review this book for the superlative performance. It is a sublime to experience the reader getting on the inside of each character, and giving the voice, intonation, accent, etc. that suits the character to perfection. His rendering of Woland is the absolute tops. I just finished - and feel like starting over just to hear again this genius of a reader.
Would love to see this as a movie or play...it's so visual. Charting the characters names would have been helpful since many are called by more than 1 name. I will read this again when I have time to reread the references and more of the historical reality being satirized.
A relieved "Yes!" I have recommended the written version again and again over the years, and am happy to say I can now recommend this audio version, as well.
It's possible that comparable elements might be found in other books, but there is no one book out there that is quite like The Master and Margarita. Ask anyone who's ever read it and s/he will likely say the same.
I discovered this book in my early twenties and have read it maybe seven or eight times over the years - every time there's been a new English translation, and once or twice just to visit an old friend. I am 50 now, and this treasure of a novel just keeps giving.
As a person who tends to have a hard time choosing any one "favorite" thing, I don't use the term lightly. My fellow book lovers will understand, then, the depth of my gratitude to Julian Rhind-Tutt for not ruining my favorite book of all time.
He did more than not ruin it - in fact, he nailed it, with great energy and precision. So much so, that I began to think he must love this book as much as I, and so many others, do.
His character voices were excellent (thankfully, the hilariously depraved Behemoth is rendered flawlessly, as is his comrade-in-irreverence, Koroviev.) It seemed to me a good choice to use a variety of British/UK and other western European accents, as opposed to Russian ones; It made the humor, in particular, just that little bit more accessible to the English-speaking listener. Having said that, Mr. Rhind-Tutt seemed to have no trouble with Russian nomenclature. I don't speak Russian so I'm no expert, but his pronunciation was at the very least smooth and consistent.
Turns out Julian Rhind-Tutt is a fine actor. My biggest concern was that he'd miss some of the moods of this complex novel, but he caught them all - the snark, the slapstick, the darkness, the restlessness, the passion, and the poignancy - and all with the same deftness. I was already somewhat familiar with his work in movies and various BBC series, so I know him to be an engaging performer. However, as fans of audio books know, listening to a good actor narrate a good book is a peculiarly intimate experience. I now have new respect for Mr. Rhind-Tutt. In particular, he captures - surprise! - Margarita beautifully.
When I purchased this audio edition over a year ago, I found myself avoiding listening to it because I feared it might be a disappointing experience. I'm glad that last weekend I finally decided to give it a chance. Everyone knows there is no harsher critic than a disappointed fan; Mr. Rhind-Tutt may consider himself officially Worthy. Other TMAM fans rejoice! A thousand thanks to the producers & director(s), and, most especially, to Julian Rhind-Tutt.
No. It needs to be savored.