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The Sacred Book of the Werewolf

3.75  ·  Rating Details  ·  2,824 Ratings  ·  260 Reviews
In this hilarious supernatural love story, a contemporary Russian prostitute who is actually a two-thousand-year-old werefox comes to the attention of a Russian intelligence officer who is actually a werewolf.
Audio, 6 pages
Published September 1st 2008 by Blackstone Audiobooks (first published 2004)
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(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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May 12, 2016 Algernon rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2016

Think of this a a re-telling of a classic Russian Fairytale : a young redhead girl meets the big bad wolf in the urban jungle of Moscow, in the wildness of the post-perestroika social restructuring. Be prepared for some radical role inversions, some black humour and a lot, I mean A LOT, of metaphysical introspection with an Oriental flavour.

It's also a kind of love story with kinks in it ((view spoiler)
Aug 22, 2010 Greg rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction, foxes
Victor Pelevin has been one of those writers that has been calling out to me for years now. I see his books at work, and some of them I think, "I should buy this someday", and others look like books that would irritate me. And over the years the idea that his books will irritate me had been winning out over getting enjoyment out of his books.

I don't know what I really expected from his books. Maybe a Russian Douglas Coupland mixed with Chuck Palanhuick? Look at this cover:

This looks like it cou
Glenn Russell
May 12, 2014 Glenn Russell rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Even if you don't ordinarily read science-fiction or novels with werewolves, you will still enjoy The Sacred Book of the Werewolf since Victor Pelevin grounds his novel in a fund of everyday reality and tells his tale in easy-to-follow linear narrative. True, the narrator is a 2000 year old female werefox in the body of a sleek, shapely gorgeous sixteen year old girl, but, still, there is enough human-like traits to identify with her desires and aspirations and conflicts. We follow our sly weref ...more
Michael Fierce

I don't know.

I wanted to like this book. The cool cover caught my eye and after reading the description - it being a tale about a werefox - I thought I would love it.

I'm afraid not.

It is lame, pretentious, and tries way too hard to be so slick and so post-moderne that it affected me in the same way as when some guy cuts you off while recklessly driving his damn annoyingly expensive car down the road - dressed in an overstuffy suit & tie no doubt - as he gabs away on his ultra-bling-blingy
Oct 06, 2008 Michael rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Viktor Pelevin has given us a delightful critique of modern Russia inside a love story, which is inside a fairy tale, which is inside a meditation on the Tao, or perhaps it is the meditation on the Tao that is inside the fairy tale, which is inside the love story contained in a critique of modern Russia. Whichever way the elements of this magical narrative nest, the matruschka-doll nature of the novel is appropriate to the subject. What that subject may be is a bit harder to describe, since what ...more
Jan 27, 2009 Becca rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Not sure how a book about a werefox prostitute in post-Soviet Russia manages to be boring, but this novel managed to do just that. Color me seriously disappointed.
Jason Lundberg
In modern Moscow, a werefox prostitute falls in love with a werewolf FSB (formerly KGB) agent, and seeks enlightenment through philosophy and Buddhism. Sexy and smart, and full of Nabokovian turns of phrase. Just as the fox's tail spins a glamour on her clients, Pelevin's wordplay ensorcells the reader, and a satire of contemporary Russia transmutes into a profound exploration of the very notion of existence itself.

The only quibble I had at all was a minor one, that of the werefox nomenclature;
Nate D
This occupies that zone of the post-modern era where the stupid and the intelligent can coexist easily without contradiction. Thus it's an adventure story and supernatural romance (about Were-creatures?! Albeit written before all that rose to new prominence via the YA market) as conduit for post-Soviet satire, interspersed with philosophical discussion that I'm actually not really ready to discard out of hand. It says something that the latter were some of the most gripping parts (one of the thi ...more
Jan 06, 2009 Cameron rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Every so often while reading the burgeoning urban fantasy genre, I long for a more literary text. Though I thoroughly enjoy my escapist and predictable werewolf yarns, the yearning for something with more weight often assails me at the novel's completion. Attesting to Pelevin's reputation as one of Russia's leading contemporary novelists, The Sacred Book of the Werewolf provides that density of subject and verbage. Knowing this is a translation, I am amazed at the translator's adept handling of ...more
Tim Pendry
Two cautions. Waterstones put this on their horror shelf - it isn't a horror novel and it adds nothing consequential to the werewolf genre. It might just slip into the dark fantasy category but only at a stretch. It should sit nowhere else but under general fiction.

The second is the claim on the dust jacket that it is 'very funny' or 'outrageously funny'. It is not - in English. It can be mildly amusing at times but I think you have to be a post-Soviet Russian to get this book.

I would bet that
Jan 20, 2010 Marie rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
I hated this book. truly. There may have been great metaphors that I missed, but mostly it felt like a pretentious effort to link al ot of erudite stuff in what was really just a Beauty and the Beast- meets - Nabakovian pedophile effort of prurient crap.
A Russian-speaking friend expressed some doubt, when I said I was reading this, about whether it would work well in translation. Having finished, I share her feelings. Pelevin fills his pages with wordplay and puns, and while the translator makes a noble effort to translate them, too many fall flat--partly because, I suspect, English-speakers are less inclined to pun to begin with, which makes the constant barrage feel out of place.

Even so, I enjoyed a lot of the prose on a page-by-page basis. I
May 23, 2011 Franc rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I'm enjoying this so far. It seems to be a perfect follow-up to Lolita, which I just finished, and which it is constantly referencing.
Jun 12, 2009 Kat rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book's beginning is very promising and highly original. A werewolf does make an appearance eventually, but the main heroine is a werefox and werefoxes are a very interesting, hitherto unknown (to me) breed. The translation seems excellent, with lots of word play rendered v. deftly in English. There is a compelling love story, and a lot of imaginative sex scenes (and I do mean imaginative!! Let me just allude to the importance of the tail in a werefox's life in general and sexual passion in ...more
Una torta millefoglie
...che rende meno l'idea ma suona meglio di "Il libro cipolla"

Recentemente, come alcuni di voi sapranno, ho partecipato ad una conversazione su GR sul postmodernismo. All’interno di un thread per la scelta di un libro per un gruppo di lettura, ci si chiedeva quale potesse essere la definizione di postmoderno e quali autori possono essere ascritti a tale gruppo. Senza entrare nei dettagli della discussione, ché non è l’intento di questa recensione (per chi fosse interessato i
Apr 30, 2012 Oriana rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-2012
For such a densely philosophical novel so packed with obtusity, paranoia, occultism, prostitution, and meandering, this has a surprisingly mushy, almost (but not quite) maudlin theme: love is the only thing that will save you. Here is a quote from late in the book that prettily sums it all up:

Two lonely hearts met among the pale blossoms of the Moscow spring. One told the other that she was older than the city, the other confessed that he had claws on his dick. For a short while they twined the
May 06, 2009 Irene rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Not at all to my liking. The author apparently turns himself on with constant name-dropping of authors. His self-proclaimed hipster status (as exhibited through the writing itself) is laughable. Also, here's a word (or two) of advice: if you're going to write an urban fantasy novel, it NEEDS a plot, fast moving action (chicken hunting in the woods does NOT count), and some sort of spine-tingling je ne sais quoi.

This novel is crap.
Jovana Vesper
I'm in love in the language of this book. If it could be a scarf I would wrap myself in it. And the story..oh the story is philosophical pleasure, something in between "Sophie's World" by Jostein Gaarder and Kate Bush's song "The Sensual World". Its a re-reading type of novel, its an absolute indulgence.
Jan 11, 2009 Kora rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
tedious and pretentious -- what a waste of a good silly premise.
Jan 04, 2009 Stacie rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Stacie by: John
A love story that formulates into a personal velocity. A book told from the female, were-fox perspective. A unique supernatural world developed with strong philosophical exploration.

What I liked....
Fantastic lines like "...a man's weak spot is the fantasies that fill his mind." So much of this story made me stop and really focus on the meaning of what was being transcribed. The philosophical points of view can be followed easily with this main character. I can argue with most of them, but I was
Maurice Carlos Ruffin
I'll cut to the chase. This is the best novel I've read since Junot Diaz' Oscar Wao five years ago. I can't speak for anyone but myself when I say that this book struck all the right notes for me.

Frankly, it's a stupid concept when you explain the set up and plot. The lead character is named A Hu-Li. She's appears to be a teenage Chinese prostitute. But she's actually a several thousand year old werefox. Sound ludicrous? It is.

So what can I say? It's almost like spotting your opponent twenty p
Jun 29, 2010 Peter rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
If I was judging this book on pure imagination and the content of its ideas, it would receive a much higher ranking. Unfortunately, I am judging it as a novel. And as a novel, it was hit-and-miss. Sometimes Pelevin can coast for chapters on his premise (a two-thousand-year-old Chinese werefox in the body of a teenage prostitute), but as I got deeper into the book, I wanted a stronger narrative and less philosophical digression to keep me locked in. The protagonist was well done and even set up w ...more
Feb 05, 2009 Sarah rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I admit I enjoyed this book overall. The story was interesting though I feel it was kind of awkwardly written, possibly because the story was really secondary and I'm not used to reading that kind of fiction. It might only appeal to people who are into Eastern philosophy already and have done some previous reading on it. The stuff Pelevin talks about is pretty much right out of almost every single book I've read on Taoism and Buddhism, but he obviously understands it or he wouldn't have been abl ...more
Simon Mccoy
Jan 26, 2013 Simon Mccoy rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I should probably start by saying that I most certainly judged this book by its cover: I’m sure I would’ve been much more reluctant to pay it any attention had I stumbled across one of the more seedy looking editions listed here; the combination of the word ‘werewolf’ in the title, and the provocatively silhouetted figure of the main protagonist would’ve been enough for me to draw some hasty and ill-informed conclusions about what I could expect from such a novel. With that in mind, I’m hugely t ...more
Tracy Reilly
Apr 19, 2014 Tracy Reilly rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Brilliant. Will say more later when I have more time to register thoughtful ideas.

April 19, 2014---From my Blog--finally decided to add here:

From the Book of the Sacred Werewolf: another Pelevin philosophical mind-blower---

So, Victor Pelevin and I have an interest in mining the same vein. The West's (America's) effect on the East (Russia), and visa-versa. Other books of his aim more directly at this, but this one still plays around with subconscious connections as well. Solidarity vs. Rugged Ind
Dec 08, 2008 Trickey rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: adult-fiction
Although this book was translated from the original Russian, there is certainly nothing lost in both language and social context. Pelevin makes references to cultures all over the world in a seamless and elegant manner which only enhances the large ideas he is trying to convey. Definitely not a traditional "story" in any sense, more of a diary construction with the reader as confidant. At times the enlightenment theory is just as confusing as if it was coming from a zen master, but the concept o ...more
Jul 27, 2011 Dave rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Hilarious and much in the style of a Michael Bulgakov novel but entirely contemporary. wonderful read, I loved every minute of it.

The book starts as a curious work of Russian style magical realism but, once the basic premises have been accepted, launches head-first into some deeply philosophical dialogue about perception, reality and the state of the world.

It would be easy to be put off by this but the book is simply too much fun to put down. Readers who are familiar with some basic cognitive sc
A Hu-Li is a two thousand year old Chinese werefox and a 15 year old virgin prostitute in today's Moscow. Her name also transliterates into the equivalent of "Who gives a f--k" in Russian and she's both entertained and upset about this. This book is about, in no particular order, sex, transcendence, love, transformation, Russia now, fairy tales, Russia then, oil politics... but most of all transcendence. Its weird, its funny, its sad, its shallow at times and philosophical at others. I believe i ...more
Jun 15, 2016 Elvin rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Orijinal, xüsusi üslübü olan əsərdir. Dialoqlar maraqsız qurulsa da əsər özü axıcıdır, aydın süjetlidir.
İnsanlar arasında yaşayan, ilk baxışdan heç bir fərqi olmayan canavar-adamlardan(werewolves and werefoxes) bəhs edir, anlayış özü qədim Çin əfsanələrindən bəhrələnərək yaradılıb.
Alleqoriya ironiya ilə zəngindir. Xüsusən gündəlik ictimai-siyasi həyatda baş verən hadisələrin canavar-adamların gözü ilə fərqli izahları çox maraqlı idi.
lézengő reader
Azért akkor amélyenszántást nem kell tőle várni, de jó kis könyv.
Ez a goodreads meg egyre randább :/
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"Victor Olegovich Pelevin is a Russian fiction writer. His books usually carry the outward conventions of the science fiction genre, but are used to construct involved, multi-layered postmodernist texts, fusing together elements of pop culture and esoteric philosophies. Some critics relate his prose to the New Sincerity and New Realism literary movements." (Wikipedia)

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“Reading is human contact, and the range of our human contacts is what makes us what we are. Just imagine you live the life of a long-distance truck driver. The books that you read are like the travelers you take into your cab. If you give lifts to people who are cultured and profound, you'll learn a lot from them. If you pick up fools, you'll turn into a fool yourself.” 50 likes
“There's a scientific hypothesis that every person's name is a primary suggestive command that contains the entire script of their life in highly concentrated form. . . . According to this point of view, there is only a limited number of names, because society only needs a limited number of human types. Just a few models of worker and warrior ants, if I could put it like that. And everybody's psyche is preprogrammed at a basic level by the associative semantic fields that their first name and surname activate.” 12 likes
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