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The Golem and the Jinni
Helene Wecker
The Master and Margarita - Mikhail Bulgakov, Larissa Volokhonsky, Richard Pevear It took me forever to read the Master and Margarita. Mostly because I didn't know much about Stalinist Russia in the 1930's and had to stop reading to reference something several times. However, it is definitely worth reading.

I mean Satan and his minions are wrecking havoc all over Moscow, witches are flooding apartment buildings, pigs are literally flying, vampires are running around, unsuspecting citizens are being teleported to Yalta, women are prancing around Moscow in nothing but their underwear, and that's just the half of it. CRAZY right? Additionally, there is a love story that is truly unique and the story of Christ's death told from the side of Pontius Pilate. You wonder why it took me so long to read? That is a lot to take in!

What's amazing about Bulgakov's novel is that he captures the fear and frustration citizens must have been experiencing in the Soviet Union in humorous, creepy, and strange ways. I think the theme that spoke to me the most was censorship. Religious censorship plays a huge roll in this story. All of the problems started with a character disputing the existence of Jesus and Satan to the Devil himself. Satan of course uses censorship to his advantage and shows just how absurd the human race truly is. Additionally, literary censorship is felt heavily throughout the novel and Bulgakov's frustration and anxiety are felt.

Overall, The Master and Margarita is a fantastic, unusual tale forcing us to realize that nothing or no one should be able to tamper with our faith, creativity or growth, especially our government.

Just remember, "manuscripts don't burn."

P.S. I found this translation very good. Additionally, the notes in the back of the book were very helpful in explaining different aspects of culture of the Soviet Union that helped me grasp the importance of the story.