OK - I didn't know that the mental clinics were actually cushy places of luxury in those times. It's an odd thing in a society where you want people to continue to work and contribute. If you make the clinic more luxurious that every day life by such a margin why would you ever leave?
That's why I had expected that Bulgakov was making some point of the insanity of the Russian society of the time. Well, I guess he was, but not through the extensive exaggeration that I had attributed to description of the clinic.
I found the secret police interesting in this story. They are alluded too extensively without explicit references - people vanishing, block of time "away". But I'm not sure if a point is ever made about the secret police in this book. The police seem to be tasked with the impossible mission of making sense of the nonsensical. Are the accounts about a great hypnotism of Moscow at the end of the book a reference to the power of propaganda in communist Russia or is that a stretch too far?
I think that the nature of "currency" is worthy of discussion in this book because it's so prevalent throughout.
I thought that the references were demonstrating the failure of the communist ideals. The performance where men and women are held for hoarding currency, the farce of the seance, the currency shop at the end, the easy greasing of the palm of the real estate manager.
It seems to me that the obsession with currency exhibited by so many characters in the book despite the very obvious policy towards it in Russian seems like a statement about the futility of communism as a barrier to the evils of capitalism.
Did anyone feel this while reading the book?