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The Master and Margarita Audiobook

The Master and Margarita

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Publisher's Summary

The Devil comes to Moscow, but he isn't all bad; Pontius Pilate sentences a charismatic leader to his death, but yearns for redemption; and a writer tries to destroy his greatest tale, but discovers that manuscripts don't burn. Multi-layered and entrancing, blending sharp satire with glorious fantasy, The Master and Margarita is ceaselessly inventive and profoundly moving. In its imaginative freedom and raising of eternal human concerns, it is one of the world's great novels.

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(P)2009 Naxos Audiobooks

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

4.2 (758 )
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4.4 (603 )
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Performance
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  •  
    Jahn-Takeshi MaastrichtNetherlands 02-18-10
    Jahn-Takeshi MaastrichtNetherlands 02-18-10 Member Since 2015
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Excellent"

    The classic excellently performed.

    5 of 6 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Valerie 12-13-15
    Valerie 12-13-15
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "I tried."

    This book piqued my interest because it was described as having controversial & hilarious religious and 1930s Moscow satire. I think I would have liked this book more if 1) I lived in 1930s Moscow and 2) if I was very religious. But living in 2015 America, this book was just too dull for me. Too, too dull. :( I tried really hard to like it, but just couldn't make it happen. I listened to the audiobook and I WILL say, the reader Julian Rhind-Tutt was phenomenal -- in his pace, tone, voices, and just overall talent. So hats off to him...

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Jefferson 03-01-14
    Jefferson 03-01-14 Member Since 2010

    I love reading and listening to books, especially fantasy, science fiction, children's, historical, and classics.

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Sympathy from the Devil (and for the Procurator)"

    The Prince of Darkness, posing as Professor Woland, specialist in black magic, has come to USSR-era Moscow to people watch and to host his annual ball. And if the Satanic entourage--consisting of Behemoth, a snarky, black cat jester, Azazello, a red-haired buffoonish assassin, Koroviev, a tall, cracked pince-nez wearing interpreter con man, and Hella, a semi-nude succubus--raises a little hell in the city, most of the victims deserve their fates. The satiric mayhem in Mikhail Bulgakov's The Master and Margarita (1928-1940; 1967), smoothly translated by Michael Karpelson, targets the literary world, the mental health profession, the communal apartment system, the police, popular entertainment, greed and pride, and, perhaps, atheistic rationality.

    Among those caught up in it all are Berlioz (an editor who believes that Jesus never existed), Ivan "Homeless" (a bad poet who becomes upset by the editor's fate), the managers of the Variety Theater, and, saving the novel, the Master and Margarita. The Master (who has renounced his real name along with the world) has written a novel about the Procurator of Judea, Pontius Pilate, and his brief but eternal relationship with Yeshua Ha-Nozri (Jesus) in Yershalayim (Jerusalem). Through the main story of the devil's visit to modern Moscow, Bulgakov interweaves chapters from the Master's historical novel which feel more vivid, interesting, affecting, strange, and real than most of the surreal contemporary events. The writer's lover, Margarita, has encouraged him and called him the Master because of her esteem for his genius and work, but in a Moscow dominated by atheist literati, to try to publish a novel featuring a real Jesus is to invite public scorn and condemnation, which has driven the Master into an insane asylum.

    Part One of Bulgakov's novel was difficult to enjoy, bearing too many too lengthy supposedly funny but actually boring burlesque satiric fantasy sequences, like the nightmare of the chairman of the tenant's association in which he appears on stage before an audience of bearded economists and is commanded by an actor to turn over all his hidden foreign currency. I found that I didn't care for or about most of the Moscow characters and was asking myself, "This is supposed to be one of the greatest novels in the twentieth century?" In fact, if it weren't for two chapters featuring Pilate and Yeshua and one introducing the Master, I might have lost the will to soldier on.

    Fortunately, Part Two incorporates more of the Master's novel and begins with Margarita, and because I cared about her and the Master, I began enjoying the surreal fantasy sequences, which became so imaginative, scary, humorous, and moving that I ended up liking Satan and his buffoonish entourage and the novel as a whole. For example, Margarita's application of infernal ointment over her entire body and subsequent witchly joy ("invisible and free!") and flight and ball hostessing are all magically and darkly alive, the marksman contest between Behemoth and Azazello is great fun, Pilate's walk with his dog and Yeshua along a lunar staircase is beautiful, and the ride of the infernal band on black horses into moonlit storm clouds is sublime.

    The reader Julian Rhind-Tutt gives a virtuoso performance fluidly switching between a variety of voices for the many different characters in their different moods and modes, among them Behemoth nasally sarcastic and mocking, the devil scary, urbane, and humane, and Yeshua calmly kind and reasonably insane (or unreasonably sane). Although during the first part of the novel's interminable surreal satiric sequences, Rhind-Tutt's frenetic and high-pitched voice got on my nerves, his Pilate, Aphrenius (Pilate's hooded chief of secret police), Yeshua, Devil, and Margarita are all full of wonderful gravitas, and I did enjoy his satanic minions' voices in Part Two of the book, and overall he brought the novel even more to life than only reading it would have done.

    You gotta love good advice from the Devil like "Never ask anything of anyone, especially if they are more powerful than you," and "Everyone receives what they believe in," and when you add to them wisdom from Jesus by way of Pilate like "Cowardice is the greatest sin," and then think that Bulgakov was writing during the most oppressive era of the USSR and had his books and plays banned because he would not toe the party line, and that he devastatingly satirizes Moscow and Soviet Union life, and that he sympathetically portrays villains like the Devil and Pilate, when you keep all those things in mind, you sense that Bulgakov must have wished he could make a deal with the devil like the Master's.

    3 of 4 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Jay Cook Nashville, TN, United States 04-16-13
    Jay Cook Nashville, TN, United States 04-16-13 Member Since 2005

    Spreadhead and Biblioholic.

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "No Wonder Stalin Suppressed Bulgakov's Works"

    The Master and Margarita consists of two different story tracks: one involves Satan and his companions arriving in 1930's Moscow, the other involving the crucifixion from Pontius Pilate’s point of view. These two narrative threads are intertwined throughout the novel.

    The adventures of the Devil and his retainers in Moscow are delightfully absurd. Their brief sojourn in the city is a direct affront to the Stalinist order as they confront corrupt bureaucrats at every turn. This is (I believe) the only classic of Russian literature in which a huge black cat attacks the NKVD with a machine gun. In retrospect, it is a great example of Stalin's caprice (especially when it came to artists) that Bulgakov was allowed to continue breathing, much less working. Not surprisingly, this work was not allowed to be published after well after the deaths of both men.

    The passages dealing with Pilate are beautiful. One almost feels sympathy for the Procurator and the sticky situation he finds himself in, trapped between his desire to administer Roman justice and his need to keep the local population mollified. The part concerning the initial trial of Christ is particularly well written.

    Even though this is generally regarded as one of the best novels of the twentieth century by many intellectual types, it was a satisfying read and did not feel like "culture". It is depressing to think what other great works might have come out of Russia during the last century if the Soviets had not suppressed all art that did not support their concept of Socialist Realism.

    The narration on this was PERFECT. The author's change of tones between the two tracks of the story and his different voices for the characters, especially the devil's retainers, were superb.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Rasmus 07-21-16
    Rasmus 07-21-16 Member Since 2015
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    "Great story with irregular voice"

    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

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    S. Luke Asheville, NC 07-09-16
    S. Luke Asheville, NC 07-09-16 Member Since 2015
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    "Brilliant!"
    What did you love best about The Master and Margarita?

    It's combination of deep psychological insight and its profound,
    side splitting humor.


    What was one of the most memorable moments of The Master and Margarita?

    One of the final scenes in which the meaning of forgiveness is portrayed in the experience of Pontius Pilate.


    What about Julian Rhind-Tutt’s performance did you like?

    His delivery and insight into Bulgakov's humor is delightful.


    Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

    Yes. Both.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    William R. J. Ribeiro 06-05-16
    ratings
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    "Mind bending tales and characters"

    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.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    National Velvet 05-09-16 Member Since 2015
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Worth it just for the masterful performance"
    What made the experience of listening to The Master and Margarita the most enjoyable?

    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.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Kilian Evang 05-07-16
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    3
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    "Meh"

    The story is entertainingly weird but I fail to see what's so special. As for the performance, I find it overacted, making it sometimes annoying to listen.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Rhonna 12-02-15
    Rhonna 12-02-15
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    9
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    "Fascinating, Fun, but requires knowing the classics"

    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.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
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  • mogwins
    London, UK
    4/12/16
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Didn't really deliver on its promise"

    Rhind-Tutt (AKA the cool one from Green Wing) provides superb narration of a novel that starts full of mystery and intrigue, but fails to really go anywhere.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • am
    3/3/16
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Found some voices used annoying"

    Ive read this a couple of times and frankly preferred the read.. the voives put on for some of the characters distracted from the text..

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Phil K.
    12/2/15
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Bringing the classics to life"
    Would you consider the audio edition of The Master and Margarita to be better than the print version?

    It depends on the reader/listener really, some may struggle with the Russian names and places etc. The audio version gives it some life , verve if you will.


    What was one of the most memorable moments of The Master and Margarita?

    The initial meeting between Berlioz, Homeless (Bezdomny) and Woland. Excellent characterisation and a poignant and mysterious start to the story


    What about Julian Rhind-Tutt’s performance did you like?

    His characterisation of even the bit part players allows an audience to picture the scenes very easily allowing one to concentrate on the conversations


    Did you have an emotional reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

    Some bits will make you smile but its not a comedic novel (as per 21st century terms) but insightful as a good parody should be.


    Any additional comments?

    Worth a listen for those thinking I ought to read a bit more intelligently...

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • michael
    7/28/15
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Interesting story, very creative but left me a bit wanting in the end"

    Story: A delightfully visual and farcical story but left me a bit hanging in the end. I kept waiting for the story to go somewhere but I'm not sure it really did, or what the point was.
    Performance: The performances were good but perhaps a bit too dramatised and exaggerated especially the portrayal of the cat which was hard to listen to. I think I otherwise could have liked this character but was put off by some of the voice portrayals.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • F
    6/7/15
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Fantastic book and reading"

    One of the most enjoyable and thought provoking audiobooks I've listened to. The nature of the characters, particularly Margarita and Volant, develops through the book.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Mrs
    United Kingdom
    6/1/15
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Why didi I dislike this book so much?"
    Would you try another book written by Mikhail Bulgakov or narrated by Julian Rhind-Tutt?


    I would have to know much more about Mikhail Bulgakov and the book before committing myself to it. Julian Rhind-Tutt did as well as he could with this bizarre story and bizarre characters. I am supposing that he was asked to create such silly voices because when was only narrating he did very well.


    What was most disappointing about Mikhail Bulgakov’s story?

    Everything. I think the translation may have been at fault as some of the phrasing was very odd. .Did I dislike it so much because I don't understand Russian nuances? I wouldn't have minded the evil scenes if they had been evil - but they weren't. It was probably intentional to have an obscure period setting to enhance the evil but unfortunately the evil was ridiculous.


    What does Julian Rhind-Tutt bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you had only read the book?

    His silly voices made it worse.


    If you could play editor, what scene or scenes would you have cut from The Master and Margarita?

    My answer to this is obvious. Bin the book.


    Any additional comments?

    I did enjoy the sections about Pontius Pilate but can't work out the relevance of these.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Miss
    3/20/15
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Brilliant, thrilling and enthralling."

    Loved every second if it. Thrilling story I'm going to listen to it again very soon!! Thank you kindly sir

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Miss B.
    1/28/15
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Quirky, entertaining but a meanders a bit"

    The sort of Russian novel that reinforces the idea that perhaps the abridged version would be better. Wonderful first third or so but then seems to lose its way a bit. Definitely worth finishing as the fun returns. Excellently read.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • greg
    1/28/15
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Wonderful description, superbly read"

    Fascinating listen and Masterfully read. Thoroughly enjoyable, unlike anything else I have read, though I am not well read. The description is just gorgeous and yet succinct.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • P.Lean
    1/11/15
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Success at last."
    Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

    Yes, because I have wanted to read this for ages and tried several times without success. However the audio version was a breakthrough and allowed me to access the whole book for the first time.


    What was one of the most memorable moments of The Master and Margarita?

    The flight scene of the witch.


    Which scene did you most enjoy?

    The love scenes between the Master and Margarita.


    Did you have an emotional reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

    The greatest feeling was that it was continuously thought provoking and stimulating.


    Any additional comments?

    I am so thankful to the narrator for letting me finally enjoy this book. I was subsequently able to enjoy a theatre production of it so it was a gift that keeps giving.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful

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