I went to a wedding last week and although one may think that reflections about devilry and darkness are out of place, that’s exactly what I was thinking about throughout the ceremony. The hymn ‘Lord of the Dance’ came up and the line ‘it’s hard to dance with the devil on your back’ really tickled me. The reason being I have just read Bulgakov’s ‘The Master and Margarita’ (Thanks for the recommendation, Franco). And in this, the devil’s nothing if not comical.
Singing that line a myriad of surreal images sparkle. Perhaps, none so amusing as those concerning Behemoth: an enormous, black, talking cat. From his first appearance when he hops on a tram and insists on paying his fare, to all his vodka drinking and gun wielding shenanigans, he is delightful! There are other wonderful, characters in the demonic entourage, like Azazello and Koroviev whose antics are well worth checking out. And of course, there is the devil himself – if you loved Dr Faustus then you will love his understated guise as the foreign professor, Woland.
There is too much to say about the book in one blog, but I think what I liked the most (aside from the devilry) is how creativity and imagination dissolve the bland and superficial. God and the devil, bureaucrats and higher culture fall by the wayside, but the human spirit comes shining through.