This is Bulgakov's semi-autobiographical story of a writer who fails to sell his novel and fails to commit suicide. When his play is taken up by the theatre, literary success beckons, but he has reckoned without the grotesquely inflated egos of the actors, directors and theatre managers.
Mikhail Bulgakov was born in Kiev in May 1891. His sympathetic portrayal of White characters in his stories, in the plays The Days of the Turbins (The White Guard), which enjoyed great success at the Moscow Arts Theatre in 1926, and Flight (1927), and his satirical treatment of the officials of the New Economic Plan, led to growing criticism, which became violent after the play The Purple Island. He also wrote a brilliant biography of his literary hero, Jean-Baptiste Moliere, but The Master and Margarita is generally considered his masterpiece. Fame, at home and abroad, was not to come until a quarter of a century after his death at Moscow in 1940. Keith Gessen is a Russian-born American author, journalist and co-editor of n+1, a cultural and political magazine. Gessen has written articles on Russia for The New Yorker, The London Review of Books and the New York Review of Books. His first novel, All the Sad Young Literary Men, was published in 2008.