Andrew Bromfield

cover image of the book The Hall of the Singing Caryatids

The Hall of the Singing Caryatids

After auditioning for the part as a singing geisha at a dubious bar, Lena and eleven other “lucky” girls are sent to work at a posh underground nightclub reserved exclusively for Russia’s upper-crust elite. They are to be a sideshow attraction to the rest of the club’s entertainment, and are billed as the “famous singing caryatids.” Things only get weirder from there. Secret ointments, praying mantises, sexual escapades, and grotesque murder are quickly ushered into the plot. The Russian literary master Victor Pelevin holds nothing back, and The Hall of the Singing Caryatids, his most recent story to be translated into English, is sure to make you squirm in your seat with utter delight.

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cover image of the book A Werewolf Problem in Central Russia

A Werewolf Problem in Central Russia

Victor Pelevin is “the only young Russian novelist to have made an impression in the West” (Village Voice). With A Werewolf Problem in Central Russia, the second of Pelevin’s Russian Booker Prize-winning short story collections, he continues his Sputnik-like rise. Like the writers to whom he is frequently compared––Kafka, Bulgakov, Philip K. Dick, and Joseph Heller––he is a deft fabulist, who finds fuel for his fire in society’s deadening protocol. In “The Tarzan Swing,” a street wanderer converses with a stranger who could be his own reflection; in the title story, a young Muscovite, Sasha, stumbles upon a group of people in the forest who can transform themselves into wolves; in “Vera Pavlova’s Ninth Dream,” the attendant in a public toilet finds her researches into solipsism have dire and diabolical consequences. As Publishers Weekly noted about this collection, “Pelevin’s allegories are reminiscent of children’s fairy tales in their fantastic depictions of worlds within worlds, solitary souls tossed helplessly among them.” Pelevin––whom Spin called “a master absurdist, a brilliant satirist of things Soviet, but also of things human”––carries us in A Werewolf Problem in Central Russia to a sublime land of black comic brilliance.

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cover image of the book Omon Ra

Omon Ra

Victor Pelevin’s novel Omon Ra has been widely praised for its poetry and its wickedness, a novel in line with the great works of Gogol and Bulgakov: “full of the ridiculous and the sublime,” says The Observer (London). Omon is chosen to be trained in the Soviet space program, the fulfillment of his lifelong dream. However, he enrolls only to encounter the terrifying absurdity of Soviet protocol and its backward technology: a bicycle-powered moonwalker; the outrageous Colonel Urgachin (“a kind of Soviet Dr. Strangelove” — New York Times); and a one-way assignment to the moon. The New Yorker proclaimed: “Omon’s adventure is like a rocket firing off its various stages — each incident is more jolting and propulsively absurd than the one before.”

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