What would your good be doing if there were no evil, and what would the earth look like if shadows disappeared from it?
Stalinism was at its height when Mikhail Bulgakov wrote this masterfully absurd satire of Soviet life. Written in the 1940s, but unpublished until 1966, The Master and Margarita captures what it is to live under the thumb of a dark regime.
A scream against limiting artistic expression and a demonstration of the folly brought about by Soviet atheism, Bulgakov revised and re-wrote this novel over the course of several years, unable to publish it for fear of losing his life. When the first part was printed in 1966 it was an instant success, revered for its commitment to artistic and spiritual freedom.
Bulgakov weaves a fantastic world, meshed with chilling realism, as the story lines reel between Satan guiding the weary Margarita in a search for her former lover, The Master, and his destroyed manuscript in 1930s Russia, and Pontius Pilate ordering Christ to the cross in ancient Jerusalem. You'll marvel at a giant vodka drinking cat, join a Satanic ball, and meet a very different Jesus Christ in this mind wrenching tale.
There are many translation and free versions available on the internet. I like the Mirra Ginsburg translation, easily available at Amazon.
This became one of my 'favorite books of all-time' the first time I read it.