The Master and Margarita is a darkly comedic takedown of Soviet society, an audacious revision of the stories of Faust and Pontius Pilate, and a thrilling love story. The novel begins with the Devil's arrival in 1930's Moscow disguised as the distinguished Professor Woland. Together with his retinue of odd associates, including a talking, vodka-swilling black cat, Woland wreaks havoc on the societal elite. Meanwhile, the Master (an author of an unpublished novel about Jesus and Pontius Pilate who has been hounded by Soviet censors), languishes in despair in a psychiatric hospital, unable to share his story. His devoted lover, Margarita, agrees to sell her soul to the Devil in an effort to rescue the Master from his fate. The story weaves back and forth between current day Moscow and ancient Jerusalem, studded with sparkling scenes ranging from a dizzying Satanic Ball to the crucifixion of Jesus on Bald Mountain, with the enduring love between the Master and Margarita joining the strands of plot across space and time.
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