My other June reads

August 2, 2008 at 3:36 pm 5 comments


Hmmm, I was on a role there for a while wasn’t I, then I forgot about this place… Anyway, to catch up… I picked up Kafka on the Shore by Murakami in an airport bookshop and absolutely loved it. Gripping and funny and elegant and strange. I read this in a hotel in the mountains. It seemed somehow appropriate. And then I read Leviathan by Paul Auster. As I went along I kept thinking it wasn’t his best, but it got quite exciting and clever towards the end. Oh what wonderful nuanced reviews I am giving. You can see why I’m doing a PhD in English literature. Ahem. After that I was in Stansted again, waiting for my train up to Leeds, and bought a copy of The Master and Margarita by Mikhail Bulgakov. This was partly because I have a soft spot for Russian Literature, partly because I have been meaning to read it ever since I read an essay one of my cousins wrote about it for his year 12 English project several years ago now, and partly because it had a black cat on the cover, as did my copy of Kafka on the Shore. I read it on the train and then in Leeds in between packing up my English life into boxes. But I didn’t finish it. I really liked the strange chapter on Pontius Pilate, but I got bored of the people disappearing for no reason and the rest of it didn’t really grip me. I probably just didn’t give it enough time and I’m sure I’ll get back to it at some point.

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Entry filed under: Bulgakov, Murakami, Paul Auster.

The Book Thief Heaven’s Net is Wide

5 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Charley  |  August 3, 2008 at 3:17 pm

    I’m looking forward to reading both Kafka on the Shore and The Master and Margarita. A picture of a black cat draws me to books, too.

  • 2. meli  |  August 5, 2008 at 7:11 am

    its as good a reason as any!

  • 3. Cipriano  |  September 9, 2008 at 4:57 am

    If I was allowed only one sentence to summarize this book, I would frame it thus: Here is a fictional account of what happens when the devil comes to visit a city that does not believe in him!
    I just finished reading M & M an hour ago, and I must say, there is much philosophical depth strewn throughout its constant morphings and manifestations. It should be read for what it is, a comic masterpiece that defies any genre placement… it is like no other book I’ve ever encountered, and can only somewhat be likened to the supernatural thrillers of Charles Williams.
    In M & M, Bulgakov has us marvellously believing in a huge vodka-drinking talking cat; a woman (Margarita) who becomes an invisible, broom-riding aeronaut; a man who turns into a supersonic flying hog… an animated suit with no-one in it… there is no end to the Bulgamorphic inventiveness. It is no wonder that half of his Moscow ends up in an insane asylum at one point or another. I could never give a better synopsis of the book than the official amazon editorial review by Mary Park, (as seen above) so I will refrain from an attempt… but I will say that at no less than 25 different passages I did some cross-referencing with a different translation (the Pevear/Volkhonsky) and always felt that the Burgin/Tiernan-O’Connor was superior in readability.

    It is such a unique book that there are many plausible/valid interpretations of who the main character really is. In my opinion, it is Ivan Bezdomny, the disillusioned poet who seems to have internalized the best conception of who Woland (the devil) really was. Bezdomny is a sort of “parenthesis” to the story, he’s there on the first page and he’s there on the last, and though he is not on stage (so to say) as much as the others… when the curtain falls, it seems that he is the one who best understands what has happened to Moscow. The only one who seems to know more is the full moon overhead…

  • 4. meli  |  September 9, 2008 at 7:12 am

    wow, thanks for that review! i’ll definitely go back and finish it sometime…

  • 5. And… the other books for 2008 « The Little Book Room  |  January 1, 2009 at 7:21 pm

    […] My friend Vic, who I was staying with in Leeds, lent this to me. I didn’t like it as much as Kafka on the Shore, but still enjoyed […]

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