The Book Quote Challenge: Day 3

the master and margarita

Today, my friends, is the last day of this book quote challenge. If you missed the first two posts in the series, here’s part 1 and part 2.

I had to choose something really unique to finish this off, so here goes. Today’s quote is from Mikhail Bulgakov’s magnum opus The Master and Margarita. I’ve read it multiple times in Russian and in English. This is right at the beginning of the novel, when two characters—ordinary Muscovites—are talking to a very strange visitor they’ve just met. It is the strange visitor who says this.

“Yes, man is mortal, but that would only be half the trouble. The worst of it is that he’s sometimes unexpectedly mortal—there’s the trick! And generally he’s unable to say what he’s going to do this same evening.”

I can’t really say too much about this quote without giving away a very important aspect of the plot (and I don’t want to do that, as I’m hoping some of you will read the book—the O’Connor/Burgin translation is the best I’ve seen in English), but it was the first quote I ever heard from the book. My professor in first-year Russian recited it to us and I was hooked. Yes, the book has such cult status in Russia that some people can recite bits from it.

For this last day in the challenge, I tag Christina from The Rolling Writer. I know she’s been under the weather lately, but her latest blog entry implies she’ll be feeling better soon, so I hope it’s okay I’ve tagged you, Christina. Obviously there’s no rush to post—just do it when you can.

For those who don’t know Christina, she’s a fellow writer who just published her first book. She likes history and foreign languages and other good things I like, so her blog is always fun to read.


2 thoughts on “The Book Quote Challenge: Day 3

  1. Yet another great quote! Love it! I will definitely have to check out some of these books you recommend. They look fascinating. Thanks for being such a good sport and participating. It’s been a joy to see what you did with the challenge.


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