Thursday, January 17, 2013

Sterlet slices interlaid with crayfish tails and fresh caviar

Look to the right, my little chipitos. I've read two books in January. Yes two! This may not seem that impressive for some people like Scott G. F. Bailey and Mary, but it is impressive for me, so I'm a-celebratin'.

My most recent book was, of course, The Master and Margarita by Mikhail Bulgakov, sent to me by SGFB. I thought this book was about a giant cat sea captain on a boat called "The Margarita."

This is not what the book is about.

Why did I think that?

The book is more about a group of troublemakers who go to Moscow to make trouble, and it includes episodes back in time when Yeshua Ha-Nozri was executed by order of Pontius Pilate. And Margarita is not a boat at all, not at all, but a person, a person, I tell you. That was quite the revelation as I was riding my 720 Rapid LA Metro bus from Westwood to downtown LA or the opposite.

In the early pages, things I liked about the book were the cool chapter transitions that often repeated whole sentences and the jumps in point of view. The technical acrobatics were neat. I didn't particular engage with the goings on in Moscow. Though I found it entertaining, I didn't feel any emotion in the book except for the excellent chapters with Pontius Pilate.

But, as the book got going, I found all of the story threads engaging, and eventually the title characters even showed up, and they were cool, especially Margarita, who is not a boat, I tell you.

Although I didn't particularly follow why the Master and Margarita accepted things the way they did, that didn't bother me too much. And the end was really nice. There was a sort of cool down, where characters transformed into more graceful things and fates became locked and characters who had been called crazy found some relief.

This is not the type of book I would ever strive to write, I don't think, but it is a cool book.

What's Peanut eating? Bits of pork chop cooked in five spice, honey, and brown sugar


  1. I am pleased to be a chipito. I'm also pleased that you liked The Master and Margarita, though you must've been very disappointed that Behemoth wasn't captain of a ship. I'm going to call a ship in my next book "The Margarita," I think. Yes, I will.

    I admit that the first time I read it, I hated the ending. The next time I read it, the ending seemed find. My favorite part is the beginning with Wotan in the park, by my favorite part is the scene with Behemoth firing the pistol. My favorite part is the Pontious Pilate storyline. My favorite part is the bit about the literary society. My favorite part is the scene in the theater where Wotan does magic tricks. The female vampire is scary.

    It's an interesting way to structure a narrative. We have this on DVD: a 12-disk (I think) set that supposedly has every scene and word of dialogue. All in Russian!

  2. And have you watched the DVDs? This is one of those books that would be so hard to translate into visuals. I'm guessing I'd be disappointed by any attempt.

    For me, the writing was more self-conscious (my perception only) than what I prefer--except in the sections about Pontius Pilate, which were exquisite.

  3. Sounds complex :) I'm licking my chops for some of that pork. Does Peanut share?


  4. I urban dictionaried your little chipito, Davin, and learned this could include an obese chip or cat.

    But not a boat.

    I have not read this book, but it is always interesting to read your response to a particular work. And I think the sidebar list is very cool.

    Mostly, I just wanted to say happy new year. Because it's the 18th and it seems like time.

    Also, aren't we getting so close to Mr. Bailey's release?

    Also, when is Peanut coming for a playdate with my dogs (plural)?

  5. I think Davin's sidebar list is cool, too. It will encourage him to finish more books, I hope!

    We are getting close to my release date! I will have author copies soon, I think. Excitement!

    Davin, we have watched the DVD version of M&M. It was amusing, but not brilliant. Behemoth was played by a little kid in a big cat suit. They also skipped the scene near the end in Moscow where the writer's club is trashed by the demons. I think they might have skipped another scene, near the end. Maybe they were running out of money in the production budget at that point.

    I am officially Not Writing Anything just now. It feels weird.

  6. Donna, Surprisingly, Peanut does share. He beats up on other dogs, but he shares. He's complex.

    Ms. Zobair, Yes, it's possible that I was calling everyone a fat chip. Actually, the term chipito in my own urban dictionary comes from my years in graduate school. I was studying the role of iron reducing bacteria on rust, and we developed an assay that involved 96-well microtiter plates, each with a little metal disc no bigger than a ladybug's wing, and we called those little discs chipitos, because they were little chips and because my advisor was from Argentina.

    And, speaking of Argentina, my next reading book, that I hope will be up on my sidebar list before the end of the month takes place in Argentina.

    Scott, one of my dream jobs has always been to be in a big mascot costume. I think it's the anonymity. And the big head.

  7. Oh, also, Jennifer, Peanut is starting dog training class this Sunday! He may be a far better house guest in six weeks. I'm hoping. :)

  8. Peanut will be training dogs? To do what?

  9. Remind me never to have surgery in LA.

  10. This is interesting, Davin! And not just about Peanut learning lung transplant surgery. ;)

    Now that I know Margarita isn't a boat, I'm even more interested. Maybe I should get the Russian DVD set.

  11. I'm not sold on the Russian DVD set. Scott has yet to convince me. Maybe you'll find it in Redbox! :)