Let me begin by saying just how much I loved The Master and Margarita by Mikhail Bulgakov. Brilliant. Imaginative. Madcap. Unpredictable. Behemoth the black cat who cheats at chess and can't shoot straight may be one of my all-time favorite literary characters.
I originally selected it as my #worldreads entry for Russia. Then I started to do a little research. Turns out, Bulgakov is the subject of a raging literary battle between Ukraine, where he was born, and Russia, where he lived most of his adult life. There are even two competing Bulgakov museums, one in Kiev and one in Moscow. (I could plan a vacation around that.)
Bulgakov was simply a Soviet citizen back in the not-so-long-ago days of the Soviet Union, a country that no longer exists. It's worth a taking moment to consider how something that seems so permanent as a "country" or a "nation-state" can disappear overnight.
I'm sticking with The Master and Margarita as my official book from Russia. Bulgakov was ethnic Russian and he wrote the book in Russian. Not to mention the fact that Russia took over the Soviet Union's seat at the UN in 1991 and no one appears to have kicked up a fuss.
The good news is I'm now on the lookout for a great writer to represent for Ukraine.
12/3/2015 06:33:54 pm
I just finished the Master and Margarita a few months ago. The theatre scene was insane. There's an English language movie in the works for 2017. I've been meaning to watch the Italian version from the 70s.
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