Originally Posted by toomanybooks
the theme that cowardice is the greatest sin.
My main question to others is not whether you got the book, but whether the text drew you in and engaged in a rewarding way? If not, what did the author do or fail to do that kept you from being drawn into the text?
I hope this isn't too English majory.
Excellent starting comment. Very interesting.
A little remark
cowardice is the greatest sin
It is stated a few times in the text. But more than that, the hero of the book among the humans, the winner, is indeed Marguerite, she is not coward, on the contrary she is the bravest of all, for reasons that might be interesting to discuss, true descendant of a queen. In the end she wins. The pirate, the director of the restaurant, is also not a coward, and he also goes unscathed with two prime sturgeons, wrapped in newspaper, under his arm.
Actually, all along the book, the real sin of the Muskovites and of Judas, the great sinner, is probably just greed. That is constantly the target of the author and of Woland's gang. Plus the drinking, the fornication, the corruption, and all the rest of frivolities.
As a corollary, I would like to ask: which are the noble characters in the story. I know whom I would put as first. His name starts with ... L. That is his real name.
whether the text drew you in and engaged in a rewarding way.
Yes it did. To enjoy it, I had to let myself go to the rhythms of the narrative, that matched the crazy exploits of Woland's gang. I read the first chapters slowly and savoring each word, but as soon as I felt almost stuck, I let myself go with the futuristic turbillon of the episodes. I read most of the book in two intense afternoons. Only when the story took me in Jerusalem, I relented the pace of my reading and followed the now slower spires of Bulgakhov tale.
Or when the narrative went back to the main "human characters" : the poet and the Master. Actually, I felt impeded by the ebook and resorted to a printed version that allowed me to read much more effectively and faster. An orgy of reading.
To the second part of your question, I answer saying that the text is a jewel of literary perfection, a miracle. Bulgakov is a true Master. I did not perceive any shortcoming. Even the end, slightly sugary for our modern tastes, is absolutely perfect. After all the excitement, all the fabulous vaudeville adventures, the reader is landed in the space of dreams. Not in the darkness, of which we had some description, not in the light, of which we had just some reflected glimpse, but in the sleep, the repose. Great stuff. Ah, the cat, what a theatrical device.