Sounds convoluted, but it is utterly mesmerizing, and survives the test of time incredibly well. This is a particular achievement for an allegory lampooning something as remote as the early post-revolutionary USSR, but it certainly stands up on its own as an insightful an entertaining read.
It's continued relevance may have as much to with the universality of man's follies, or the ability of good satire to transcend time. But perhaps, it may be because the bizarreness of 1920s USSR (idiosyncracies aside) may not be that remote from the absurdities of our own modernity, albeit on the opposite tail of political and financial possibility.
I must admit that it has been some years since I had the pleasure of reading the book, but one reader was kind enough to recently remind me of a chapter that he/she thought particularly germane to the unfolding of current day financial events. In it, Woland, who most would find an eminently likable fellow, and his retinue (who also possess an assortment of captivating qualities), have arrived and begun making plans for their Reunion Ball, under the cover of putting on a series of Black Magic Performances at The Variety Theatre, in order to alledgedly expose its "machinations". But that's not the way the Show turns turns out, as you will see from the eNotes synopsis of the Chapter below:
The show begins with Koroviev [Woland's assistant who looks like a choirmaster] and the cat [called Behemoth] flipping a deck of cards back and forth, and Koroviev swallowing the cards as they are returned to him by the cat. The deck is then found on a citizen named Parchevsky, after which a heckler claims the deck was planted on Parchevsky. Koroviev tells the heckler he now has the deck. This heckler finds ten-ruble bills in his pocket instead of the deck, and when a fat man in the stalls asks "to play with the same kind of deck," Koroviev shoots his pistol up at the ceiling, and money begins raining down. The audience starts grabbing the bills, but Koroviev stops the rain of money by blowing into the air. Bengalsky steps in to declare that the rain of cash was merely a trick of mass hypnosis and asks Woland to make the notes disappear, but Koroviev and the audience do not like this idea. Someone in the gallery calls for tearing Bengalsky's head off. Koroviev says he likes this idea, and the cat jumps upon Bengalsky and tears his head off with two twists of his paws. An outraged audience asks for the head to be put back on Bengalsky, and the cat puts it back. A crowd rushes to help Bengalsky after he starts moaning, and he is taken away by ambulance. Meanwhile, Woland disappears, and as he does, Koroviev displays ladies' dresses, hats, shoes, and accessories from Paris. After he offers the women in the audience the chance to exchange their dresses and shoes for the Parisian dresses and shoes, one brunette takes up the offer. After she receives a pair of shoes and a dress, women rush the stage to get their new dresses and shoes. When Sempleyarov, the chairman of the Acoustics Commission of the Moscow theatres, calls for the trickery to end, Koroviev exposes his affair with his mistress, "an actress from a traveling theatre. Sempleyarov's wife defends him and, amidst the continuing chaos, Koroviev and the cat, now called Behemoth, vanish from the stage...