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Thursday, August 28, 2008

SPOTLIGHT: "The Sacred Book of the Werewolf" by Victor Pelevin

Victor Pelevin @ Wikipedia
Order “The Sacred Book of the Werewolf

A complex, expansive, explosive novel—at times brilliant…" —Kirkus

Part science fiction and part Anais Nin erotica, with a hint of Bridget Jones’s Diary and a whole lot of allegory . . . the novel holds our interest with unpredictable twists and turns, leaving us stunned, puzzled, and asking for more.” —

Equal parts biting satire on neo-Russian consumerism, drug-fuelled muckabout, sci-fi adventure, love story, literary in-joke and mystico-shamanic treatise on the nature of enlightenment. Disruptive, transporting and very funny, it's one of his best.” —
The Daily Telegraph

Russian novelist
Victor Pelevin’s comic inventiveness and talent as a fabulist have won him comparisons to everyone from Jorge Luis Borges and Gogol to Dostoevsky and Philip K. Dick. He has been called “the enfant terrible of post-Soviet Russian literature,” “the freshest voice to emerge from the rubble of Soviet Russia,” “One of the most energetic and imaginative voices to reach our Western antennas,” and “a psychedelic Nabohov for the cyberage.” Pelevin’sThe Sacred Book of the Werewolf” (Viking; ISBN: 978-0-670-01988-5; $25.95; on sale September 8, 2008), his first novel in America in six years, continues his tradition of brilliance and humor. This ingenious work of the imagination is at once a supernatural love story and an outrageously funny and satirical portrait of modern Russia:

A Hu-Li is a 2,000 year old shapeshifting werefox from ancient China who follows the Supreme Tao—a secret teaching of immortal werefoxes, which leads to complete liberation from life and death. On the surface, however, she’s a lascivious fifteen-year-old Moscow prostitute, who seduces men in order to absorb their life force (“I don't need anything from human beings except love and money”, she puts it). Despite her work as a prostitute she has remained a virgin, as she simply hypnotizes her clients by means of her tail—an organ which puts men in a trance in which they dream they are having sex with her. Being a virgin has become a bit of a psychological problem for A Hu-Li despite all her spiritual sophistication. Enter Alexander, a high-ranking officer in the Russian Security Services who also happens to be a Wagner-addicted werewolf and the key figure in Russia’s big oil...

What is the secret of A Hu-Li’s immortality? What is the difference between the transformation of perception and the perception of transformation, and what does either have to do with werewolves, werefoxes and modern marketing techniques? What dark secret lies behind Russia's new riches? Is Alexander the legendary “super-werewolf” who understands the nothing that can become anything at all? How does A Hu-Li ultimately achieve her freedom? These and other quandaries are revealed in “The Sacred Book of the Werewolf”, Pelevin’s sharpest and most engrossing work to date.

About Victor Pelevin:

Victor Pelevin, born in 1962 in Moscow, is recognized as one of the leading Russian novelists. In 1998, he was selected by the New Yorker as one of the best European writers under 35, and in 2000 he was the subject of a New York Times Magazine profile. His critically acclaimed novels, which have been published in 33 countries, include Omon Ra (1997), The Life of Insects (1998), Buddha’s Little Finger (2000, a finalist for the International IMPAC Dublin Literary Award), and Homo Zapiens (2002). Pelevin shares his time between Moscow and the rest of the world.

NOTE:The Sacred Book of the Werewolf” has sold almost a quarter of a million copies in Russia and was released in the UK on February 21, 2008 via
Faber & Faber (see inset). It’s the kind of book that I would have reviewed for Fantasy Book Critic if I were still doing reviews, but hopefully this spotlight will get some other reviewers interested in the title :)


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