Don't you find that books are like lovers? Some you can’t bear to be parted from, wanting to spend every spare moment in each others arms, share intimate secrets as the relationship deepens so you are changed but heartbroken when the relationship has to end and you both go your separate ways. Yet with others, after the initial excitement of the first date and the promise of the pages to come, it fades, you find excuses not to read, when you do its for less and less time, you get distracted by other books and even start to two-time by skimming them, trying to convince yourself its only a fun no strings fling.
Sadly this is happening with The Master and Margarita by Mikhail Bulgakov. It had all the signs of the great read; political satire, Gothic appearances and interventions by the Devil, suppressed by the Soviets, but... but I have faded starting dalliances with other books such as The life and times of the Thunderbolt Kid by Bill Bryson.Why the fading relationship? Well the usual thing is to say its me not you, I am not ready for commitment, let’s be friends rather then face the pain of saying you are not lovable by me. The killer, as in all relationships, is the minor fault that reveals deeper flaws. For me this is the idiom and speech patterns feeling false. I find it difficult to suspend believe and become part of the world so it remains intellectually satisfying but an emotional famine.
The book was written over the 20's and 30's at the height of the worse excesses of Stalin and would have cost the writer his life had it been found at the time. It’s a period of history I have had a great deal of interest in so it’s even more disappointing that the book feels flat. Its very urban based and concerned with the cultural politics of the intelligentsia but the great disasters of the period, the destruction of the rural classes, wiping out of the party, the show trails, mass imprisonments are barely touched on Perhaps the problem is past relations with other Russians such as Solzhenitsyn who deal with similar themes but with greater distinction. Perhaps because I looking for something that the novel does not have, I am missing what it does offer. Friends of the novel say
Ultimately, the novel deals with the interplay of good and evil, innocence and guilt, courage and cowardice, exploring such issues as the responsibility towards truth when authority would deny it, and the freedom of the spirit in an unfree world. Love and sensuality are also dominant themes in the novel. The novel is a riot of sensual impressions, but the emptiness of sensual gratification without love is emphatically illustrated in the satirical passages
For now, I have decided to not spend more time with my family and stop at Book 2. So am I on a break or is this the end for us? Only time will tell but always more books in the library that I can cherish and love... And dear reader, my spurned lover could be the passion of your life so make a date and enjoy the bitch about the failures of ex’s if the relationship works out.