“I have no use for satirists.”
So says Stalin in an early chapter of Mikhail and Margarita, this love-quadrangle novel set in 1933 Moscow. Bulgakov is summoned to the Kremlin after writing a letter in defense of the recently arrested Osip Mandelstam, and then Stalin and Bulgakov take a spin about the capital in the vozhd’s posh convertible.
It is a fabulistic conceit, and this brilliant novel is filled with many more, but also with vivid language, sly references to Bulgakov’s novel, and a generally haunting image of life under the Great Leader’s thumb.
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