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It happened at the sunset hour at one warm spring day in Moscow at Patriarch’s Pond. Two men sat on a bench discussing religion in general, and Jesus in particular. One of them, Ivan Bezdomny, was a poet who wrote a derogatory poem about Jesus. The other one, Mikchail Berlioz, an editor of a highbrow literary magazine and chairman of the management committee of the largest Moscow’s literary clubs, was trying to convince Bezdomny that the core of the problem is not that Jesus was evil but that he didn’t exist at all.

In the fervour of the discussion that didn’t noticed when they were joined by a stranger. The stranger wore an expensive grey suit, spoke with a foreign accent and had a limp. He told them that not only did Jesus exist, the proof of this being that the stranger knew him and spoke to him, but also; to emphasize the proof; the stranger told Berlioz that he will die with his head cut off by a female member of a Konsomol……

 

Thus starts one of the most magical books ever – “Master and Margarita”. Set in the 1930s’ Moscow,and for many years forbidden to be published in the communist Russia, it’s a story of Satan roaming the city in a desperate attempt to convert the society because if they believe in God, they will believe in Satan. The Satan is accompanied by a crew of talking cat, hunchback with one yellow fang, skinny fellow in broken monocle, and a naked witch. Together they bring mayhem to the city – turning vodka paper labels into money, hiring people as hogs to serve as a transport to the Satan’s ball, serving gherkins and vodka shots to unsuspecting theatre attendants, and helping lovers achieve Peace.

 

On top of it’s great sense of humour and sarcasm, the book is a beautiful love story about two people, Master and Margarita, who remain faithful to the Truth no matter what; and it is also a testimony to human endurance against the oppressive systems.

 

I keep re-reading it every couple of years and I always find something new to laugh or to cry.

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