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The Life of Insects

Pelevin, Victor

Verlag: Farrar Straus & Giroux (T), 1998
ISBN 10: 0374186251 / ISBN 13: 9780374186258
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Titel: The Life of Insects

Verlag: Farrar Straus & Giroux (T)

Erscheinungsdatum: 1998

Einband: Hardcover

Zustand: New


Brand New, Unread Copy in Perfect Condition. A+ Customer Service! Summary: Set in a crumbling Black Sea resort, the novel follows the misadventures of two Russians, Arnold and Arthur, and the khakiclad Sam, a visiting American. These characters, it turns out, are depicted alternately as humans and as insects -- now they are humans with buggy qualities, now insects that walk and talk. As they forage, quarrel and joke in the squalid rooms of the resort -- and on the bodies of their hosts -- they encounter other members of Pelevin's satirical bestiary, and the resort itself comes to represent the decaying former Soviet Union.Few writers could pull off such a conceit; in Pelevin's hands, it is a sustained piece of artistry. The Life of Insects is a bitter parable of contemporary Russia, full of the probing, disenchanted comedy that makes Pelevin a vital and altogether surprising new writer. Buchnummer des Verkäufers ABE_book_new_0374186251

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Inhaltsangabe: In a sophisticated display of allegory, fantasy, and philosophical inquiry, Victor Pelevin creates an Ovidian, shape-shifting world that never fails to resonate on various strata with our own.

The Life of Insects opens with a trio of investors--two Russians and one American--discussing business prospects in the Crimea, when, suddenly, they reveal themselves to be mosquitoes in search of hemoglobin and glucose. Other figures morph from human to insect (and back again) in this thoroughly disorienting yet strangely familiar Kafkaesque novel. Both a parody of traditional Russian prose and a savage commentary of post-Soviet culture, The Life of Insects is a triumphant act of storytelling that succeeds in making "insect aspirations and anxiety feel so fragile and so soberingly universal" (The New York Times Book Review).

Rezension: Victor Pelevin has the sort of unbridled comedic imagination that can make most writers seem insipid by comparison. Born in 1962, the Russian writer has already published three story collections as well as a splendidly funny take on the Soviet space program, Omon Ra. From time to time his effects lurch out of control, yet Pelevin's manic level of invention tends to carry us along until he regains his equipoise. Certainly this is the case with The Life of Insects. This time, Pelevin sets his story in a sleazy Crimean resort town, where his characters eat, drink, make merry, make love... and turn into insects. This is no soft-focus allegory: the author is superbly specific about his entomological creations. "Arthur and Arnold had turned into small mosquitoes," he writes, "of that miserable hue of gray familiar from prerevolutionary village huts, a color that in its time had reduced many a Russian poet to tears." The sex scenes are a mite (as it were) much, though nothing more gruesome than you'd see in your average PBS documentary. Still, Pelevin's best trick is to makes his six-legged protagonists appear all too human. A self-doubting cicada, for example, finds himself envying the relative ease of an ant's life: "But he never dwelt on such comparisons, aware that once he stopped and began to compare himself with others, it would begin to seem that he had already achieved a great deal, and he would lose the sense of resentment toward life that was essential to continue his struggle." The Life of Insects is a black-comic Metamorphosis for the 1990s, minus Kafka's gravity and with an extra dose of Slavic neurosis. --William Davies

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