This Russian literary classic is very easy and fun to read. The story is split into two settings; Moscow as well as Jerusalem. Sarcastic but some of the satirical tone is hard to pick up. The 50th anniversary edition was annotated with lots of interesting tidbits about Russian life.
I don’t have a lot of highlights from the book, but I put together a small set of notes on all the characters. I found it difficult to keep track of who was who, since the names look similar to the non-Russian reader and there are many aliases in use. Some spoilers might be in the characters section.
Berlioz wanted to prove to the poet that the main thing was not how Jesus was, good or bad, but that this same Jesus, as a person, simply never existed in the world, and all the stories about him were mere fiction, the most ordinary mythology.
Editor and poet were both struck, not so much by Our Brand precisely turning up in the cigarette case, as by the cigarette case itself. It was of huge size, made of pure gold, and, as it was opened, a diamond triangle flashed white and blue fire on its lid.
you will regret having sent to his death a philosopher with his peaceful preaching!’
And all along his difficult way, he was for some reason inexpressibly tormented by the ubiquitous orchestra that accompanied the heavy basso singing about his love for Tatiana. (E.g. he was tired of markers of a ubiquitous life under communism)
at the present time this house was owned by that same Massolit
heard. A basso said pitilessly: ‘That’s it. Delirium
- Mikhail Alexandrovich Berlioz (a.k.a. “The Editor”) - Introduced in the very beginning; dies in a way predicted by Woland.
- Ivan Nikolaevich Ponyrev (a.k.a. “The Poet” or “Homeless”) - Introductory character. Loses his pants and goes crazy looking for Woland.
- Koroviev (a.k.a. “Faggott”) - Assistant to Woland the magician. Wears a pince-nez and speaks in a nasal voice.
- Behemoth - Huge cat in Woland’s entourage who loves guns and vodka.
- Nikanor Ivanovich Bosoy - Chairman of the tenants association in apartment 302-bis. His money is turned into counterfit bills by Woland.
- Rimsky - Financial director of the Variety Theater
- Varenukah - Administrator of the Variety Theater.
- Styopa Likhodeev - Director of Variety Theater. Disappears to Yalta.
- Ha-Nozri - Christ-like figure in Jerusalem.
- Natalya Proleonevya - Maid of Margarita.