Eeegads I wish I had seen the other thread sooner. I've read every translation and have a couple first US editions.
It's kinda late now, but imo you haven't fully experienced this book unless you read the Michael Glenny
translation (or Russian). Those literary vampires Pevear and Volokhonsky suck the life out of Master and Margarita
with their clinical hack-job; it's as if they ran it through Google Translate then added footnotes. Glenny captures the poetry and humor.
Quite frankly you shouldn't understand Master and Margarita; at least without a guide (which ruins a first reading). Even the original text had its meaning intentionally hidden in layers of veiled symbolism to avoid having its socio-political criticism easily spotted.
The beauty of this book is that you don't have to 'get it' to enjoy it; the charm and beauty of the story stands alone, and in prose it is beyond compare. Bulgakov spun pure gold from first sentence to last.
Originally Posted by beppe
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.
Indeed. The worst thing about finishing M&M for the first time is that the next book you pick up will invariably read like the scribblings of an imbecile by comparison. You have to lower your standards, back down to Earth.