June! Winter! Time to retreat indoors, under the blankets or with a hot water bottle, and do some heavy-duty reading. Or is that just me? Anyway. To continue…
The Master and the Margarita is by Russian author Mikhail Bulgakov. I was not familiar with this novel before I picked it up, but neither was the rest of the world for a while. It was not published until the mid 1960′s, some twenty-five years after Bulgakov’s death. The blurb on the back of my copy (not the one pictured, this cover I personally prefer) had me from the get-go:
One hot spring the devil makes a personal appearance in Moscow accompanied by various demons, including a naked girl and a huge black cat. When he leaves, the asylums are full and the forces of law and order in disarray. Only the Master, a man devoted to truth, and Margarita, the woman he loves, can resist the devil’s onslaught.
It’s also cited as being the inspiration for Rolling Stones’ song ‘Sympathy for the Devil’ (remember that for your trivia nights) and swaps between two times in history: early twentieth century Russia, post-Revolution, and the days of Pontius Pilate. I’m almost finished.
Dancing with Mrs Dalloway: Stories of the Inspiration Behind Great Works of Literature was one of those finds where, once I picked it up, I thought “Yes, I like this.” It’s pretty simplistic, though, but that’s okay, it’s written for a specific target audience. I knew of many of the ‘stories behind the stories’ already, like how Truman Capote wrote In Cold Blood and the way Vonnegut used a lot of his life experience in Slaughterhouse-Five, but the newer tales, especially those of L.M. Montgomery getting Anne of Green Gables published and the tenacious working habits of Margaret Mitchell, were very interesting.
Orlando and Everything is Illuminated are – like The Master and the Margarita – on my 1001 Book Challenge list.
What are you reading this month?