I think my copy came from my dad. I have no idea why he had it – it’s not his kind of thing at all. And I picked it up in my teens, so it’s been with me for a long time. I can’t see a tram without thinking of it. If you know, you know. It fuelled my desire to go to Leningrad/St Petersburg – my dad refers to it at Leningrad (“refuse to kowtow to Putin”). Bizarrely, my father and my brother have both visited, and I haven’t – and probably won’t now. Odessa is another place I’ve always wanted to visit, and haven’t made it to. I guess that’s one of the things that books are for – to allow you to visit places you’ll never get to. And times you missed.
What else? Sunshine and warm apricot juice, and then that dark, glorious fantasy – and the fear of oblivion. The great, enormous, over-whelming fear of oblivion.
I had a postcard for a long time (and where did that come from?) that looked like Behemoth in human form. And, strangely, my first serious, rollercoaster boyfriend. I went to a fancy dress party as Margarita (at the ball, not naked on the broomstick) – and nobody knew but me. I forced my husband to read it, and he shares the love (thank goodness – would we be married if he didn’t? Who knows).
On our way back from Rome we met a guy from Costa Rica, who told us it was his favourite book. I’m not even sure how we got to that point in the conversation, but I immediately felt that bond you feel with someone who shares a slightly off-beat love.
I haven’t re-read it for years. I feel I should. I’ve read other Bulgakov in the meantime, but none of it is quite so glitteringly, darkly, wonderfully satisfying. If you haven’t read it, you should. You must. Go out right now and buy a copy, find yourself somewhere comfortable to sit, and read it. Go on.
It’s a marvelous book. One of my favorites. I did a blog post on it a few years back. Borscht and vodka. 😁
I need to check that out!
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