Naturally, much of Bulgakov’s frustration with the socio-political systems of his day bleeds through the story, an exploration of human nature in a sometimes highly surreal and seemingly random setting. Bulgakov’s imagination takes playful leaps, embroidering recurring symbols throughout. I also feel how we interpret these fanciful routines and playful satire within the stories is completely up to the reader.
This is the first time I’ve read the book and I can see there is definitely *something* there otherwise people wouldn’t go on about the book so much. But I also suspect I’ll have to read a little more Russian literature so that my cultural references are more up to scratch. Maybe with subsequent rereads I’ll “get” more of what is going on. What I did appreciate was that each chapter was almost a standalone tale in itself, which made it easier for me to work through the story.
Bulgakov holds up a mirror to people’s hypocrisy, and finds the sense of ridiculousness in everyday occurrence that we accept and take for granted.