Victor Pelevin is a Russian postmodernist author. His books revolve around the world of post-Soviet Russia. He uses a variety of extremely strange narrative techniques to paint even stranger literary canvases.
His books include:
- Chapayev i Pustota (Chapayev and the Emptiness), which uses stories about the popular folk hero Chapayev (who was, incidentally, originally a character in the novel of the same name, dealing with the Russian Civil War) as a vehicle for an explanation of Western philosophy (In Russian gangster slang, in fact), an alchemical marriage, the determination of Russia's true identity, a practical illustration of the Chuang Tzu and the butterfly story, and much more.
- Zhizn Nasekomykh (The Life of Insects), which takes the extended metaphor of modern Russian society being a collection of insects very literally. For example, an office drone is a cockroach, an intellectual is a moth (always going toward the light), a druggie is a marijuana beetle, so forth. It switches between "insect-life" narration and "people-life" narration very unexpectedly.
- Pokoleniye "P" (Generation "P"; recently published in the US as Homo Zapiens. The "P" stands for Pepsi) Possibly his definitive work. Without giving too much away, this involves a wacky advertising designer, a Ouija board, the ghost of Che Guevara, and a brilliant explanation of consumerism.
- Omon Ra (Omon Ra; a pun on the Egyptian god Amon Ra and OMON, the Russian equivalent of SWAT) is built on the curious premise that the Soviet space program was run entirely on cosmonaut power; no automation. This is a very dark book, and the most condemning of the USSR of all of his. The end is happy, but the middle will make you angry.
- Zheltaya Strela (Yellow Arrow) is a collection of short novellas and stories. The sheer variety of themes and formats presented here is mindboggling--from the humorous sketch to the full-blown meditation.
I think that covers just about all. He also wrote a short story, Buben Verkhnego Mira (The Tambourine of the Upper World), that was used as the basis for a concept album by the Russian band Va-Bank.
Pelevin was born in 1962 in Moscow and remains alive to this day.
The Russian Writers' Union considers him to be a "cancerous tumor on literature."