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The Library of Babel

A Spin-off of http://bookwormshead.blogspot.co.uk

The Life of Insects - Victor Pelevin Despite its title, this book doesn't speak about entomology. Not in its common terms, at least.

Six years have passed since I've read "The life of insects". In the meanwhile Viktor Pelevin, who was considered one of the best contemporary novelists of the so called "new Russian generation" has been forgotten by many reviewers. Unfortunately for him there has been a new wave of angry, young and often attractive teenagelike Russian novelists to talk about. Pelevin who's in his fourties looks like a dinosaur.

On the Italian edition of this book there is an absurd line who calls Pelevin "a cybernetic Nabokov for our times". That's pure nonsense.

The Life of Insects is definitely an astonishing work of genius. Pelevin's insects have human beings, they behave like people, they spend their holidays in Yalta in a postmodern version of the fin-de-siecle and bourgeois scenario chosen by Checkov for his famous "Lady with the little dog" tale.

There is plenty of social satire against the Russian habits, decadence, corruption and neverending bureaucracy in this book and it's expressed with a very good writing technique.
If you want to have an interesting portrait of a changing Russia caught in the late 90s, you have to read other works of this novelist, like "Babylon", but this one is the best book Pelevin has ever written.