The Master and Margarita by Mikhail Bulgakov is the chosen book that we will send to all subscribers this December, a time to explore the absurd from the family dining table. Here is a book that proves just how potent magical
realism can be as a literary tool during oppressive times, ennobling a writer with the power to re-tell stories as well as to reimagine and challenge the world, even when our true voices are being silenced. Bulgakov chooses to
re-tell biblical passages as a way of criticizing the literary and political circles of Soviet Russia. While he was born and raised in Kiev he chose to live and work in St Petersburg and had to write directly to Stalin to gain approval to write his most famous book for fear of imprisonment or execution. He had been on the front line of many wars and suffered unimaginable horrors, barely surviving many of his injuries.
When he returned to Russia and found that his writing was still being censored and destroyed by an increasingly authoritarian government, his secret work retreated further into the shadows of magical realism, his hopes and fears for his life, his country and his work masking themselves in ever more hallucinatory forms. Bulgakov created an unprecedented satire by blurring religious reimagining’s with characters boiled straight down from gothic folklore including werecats and vampires to attack the society in which he was living. After a covert reading of the novel in front of a small group of friends, it is said they all sat in silence and horror for fear of what would happen to any of them
should the book be published in their lifetime. His courage to finally write this book is in part down to the masquerade he gained access to behind all his fictious and outlandish characters.
This full essay written by the brilliant @katievbr will accompany all Sendb00ks packages this month.