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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.
(P)2009 Naxos Audiobooks
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful
4 out of 5 stars
By Jacob on 12-06-11

Satisfying Satanic Satire

The core of this piece is satire, marking a path of wanton destruction through Moscow as Satan and his delightfully hooligan entourage parade from one scene to another causing chaos and watching the aftermath in the name of...well, why the hell not? There is also a love story as well as retelling of the history of Pontius Pilate.

Marked with numerous interesting characters, Bulgakov creates a readable if somewhat uneven tale. The title characters are introduced about halfway through the novel and are an attempt to create some sort of deeply affecting love story, that I don't consider all that effective given that it is pretty much the sole aspect of their personality we see is them pining for one another. However, title characters or not they are not there often and rarely without Woland or his minions at their side in order to make things interesting. The satire is effectively humorist and blasts Soviet greed well, but then greed is a very easy thing to parody.

The most interesting aspect of the novel for me were the moments when we are given a metafiction/history written by The Master. The language is wonderful and the imagery is perfectly evocative and I truly wished I had the option of reading more.

The narrator, which is quickly becoming the make or break factor of every audiobook I purchase, is, to my mind, remarkable. While the accents are all variously British, they are unique and he endows every character with a certain uniqueness and charisma (or lack thereof if the book should call for it) and should be beloved by all. I can't honestly understand the negative marks throughout the rest of audible. If you want a boring consistent drone of a voice, I think you are better listening to an automation than a legitimate audiobook.

Additionally, the translation (Michael Karpelson, 2006) is my personal favorite and has the most personality (the others I have read are much more dry in their translation and it shows heavily in the dialogue). This book was left incompletely edited when the author died, not being all that well acquainted with the rest of his work, which would explain some of the issues, but issues or not this book is a delightful read with a solid narrator.

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47 of 49 people found this review helpful

4 out of 5 stars
By David on 06-15-10

Worth the effort

The Master and Margarita lurches violently between different tones farcical, romantic, surreal, tragic, and back again). I enjoyed parts of it more than others. The chapters that actually deal with the eponymous Master and Margarita and their pact with the devil and his minions are wonderful: poetic, intellectual and comic, often all at the same time. Unfortunately, it takes a long time to get to these sections, as much of the novel consists of farcical satire on various comical minor characters who are probably funny if you are familiar with life in 1930s Moscow, but merely feel like a lot of irritating wittering if you're not. I found myself frequently wanting to hit the chapter skip button.

Still, this may be just a matter of personal taste, and if anyone can get you through the more irksome chapters, it's Julian Rhind-Tutt, whose performance is quite brilliant, capturing the mixture of tones extremely well, injecting a scabrous nastiness into the farcical scenes, and giving the Devil a wonderfully lugubrious smugness.

The ending is spellbinding and I'm glad I persisted with this audiobook. It's a slog sometimes, but it's worth the journey.

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29 of 31 people found this review helpful

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful
5 out of 5 stars
By Sydney on 11-19-09

Splendid

This went to my top five favorite audiobooks by the first twenty minutes, absolutely wonderful reading of this weird, funny, scary, profound satire/whatever it is. The dryly sarcastic narrative voice is pitch-perfect, the huge cast of characters wonderfully done. Not often a book this good gets and equally great performance. Fantastic!!

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8 of 8 people found this review helpful

4 out of 5 stars
By Tom on 07-20-10

Good fun but a bit too long for me

I enjoyed this book - particularly the narration which is a real tour de force and makes the book for me - but I confess that I did find it rather long and tending to go around in circles towards the end. It is also quite difficult to keep track of all the multifarious characters with strange Russian names and I did get quite confused at times! Some brilliant and laugh out loud funny set pieces though particularly in the first half which the narrator really brings alive - I can see why the book is regarded as a masterpiece.

Overall, four stars for me.

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6 of 6 people found this review helpful

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful
5 out of 5 stars
By jdk on 07-25-16

Brilliant, absolutely brilliant. Read it!

Bulgakov's The Master and Margarita is a work of beautiful language, powerful characters, fantastic magic, and moving moral tales.

Julian Rhind-Tutt's superb reading brings life, light and humour to a story often, in the best way, abstract, absurd and surreal.

This edition is also a flawless translation to English.

A Masterpiece!

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1 of 1 people found this review helpful

5 out of 5 stars
By Anonymous User on 06-29-18

loved every minute of it!

Love this story so much. Julian Rhind- Tutt does a splendid job in bringing it to life!

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