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Homo Zapiens

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3.96 of 5 stars 3.96  ·  rating details  ·  3,811 ratings  ·  123 reviews
The collapse of the Soviet Union has opened up a huge consumer market, but how do you sell things to a generation that grew up with just one type of cola? When Tatarsky, a frustrated poet, takes a job as an advertising copywriter, he finds he has a talent for putting distinctively Russian twists on Western-style ads. But his success leads him into a surreal world of spin d ...more
ebook, 256 pages
Published December 31st 2002 by Penguin Books (first published January 31st 1902)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Jasmine
Five stars for a book that I resent? Certainly why not?

From the second that I started to read the book I couldn't quite decide if I liked it or hated it. The book comes off a bit like an elitist ass hole. One of those guys who knows he is smarter than you and decides that instead of acting like a civilized person he is going to prove it to you by, well telling you things that don't make any sense and then acting like they do. and if that is not enough he will include diatribes against things th
...more
Andrew
I'd like to think that I have a bit of a Russian soul. I stare down long, snowy views pinned down by the sheer weight of being, lose myself in massive novels, like to think that I fight for the proletariat, and attribute certain cleansing abilities to vodka. However, this is a Russia that is long since dead. The modern Russia is populated by thugs in tracksuits and all manner of slimy manipulators of post-Soviet malaise. This is the Russia Pelevin writes about.

"Once upon a time in Russia there r
...more
Quayar
May 30, 2007 Quayar rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: those who work in advertizing or who want to understand Russian culture better, either one.
Victor Pelevin is like a pop culture-savvy and Russian Murakami, or like Tom Robbins but less snarky and less lyrical or something. I LOVE him. This particular novel is really interesting because it approaches the world of advertising from a unexpected perspective: in soviet Russia, the seller is the sucker! Some twists are a little hokey, but the final twist is worth the read. I am a huge fan of Russian authors like Bulgakov, Dostoevsky and co, and he definitely plays around with these classic ...more
Galina
Осмиването на постсоциалистическата действителност не успя да ми влезе под кожата. В началото бях очарована от острия език на автора, от чувството му за хумор, което изглеждаше неизчерпаемо и иронията - в големи, огромни дози.
Към средата сериозно ми доскуча и въпреки въвеждането на нови персонажи и завръщането в повествованието на вече споменати лица, действието сякаш зацикли и започна да ме отегчава. Всичко описано е по руски мащабно - става дума за много пари, за много елементарни, прясно забо
...more
Poprishchin
Random pick from library when they had a "literature from neighbour countries" display. So that I would not suffer from a Russia-deficiency.

Back cover says: "The collapse of the Soviet Union has opened up a huge consumer market, but how do you sell things to a generation that grew up with just one type of cola? When Tatarsky, a frustrated poet, takes a job as an advertising copywriter, he finds he has a talent for putting distinctively Russian twists on Western-style ads. But his success leads h
...more
julie
i picked up generation p at dom knigi in st. petersburg in the late 90s. i'll admit i don't think i appreciated its brilliance at the time. we were still too close to it all, the fall of the soviet union and the rise of a new russia. but at last the time was right to read Pelevin again and fully appreciate him. my edition of this book is actually called Babylon, but from what i can see it is the same as homo zapiens.

it's difficult for me to describe adequately the brilliance of this book, the wa
...more
Morgan
Clearly Victor Pelevin wrote the bulk of this book sitting on the toilet or standing in the shower. He collected all his stray thoughts and tried to make them anecdotes in the life of a cipher of a character. This book suffers from the same problems that Tom Robbins continually stumbles over, which is that he wants to convey some grand idea and then he has one character ask a couple questions to fake a dialog, while the other character expounds endlessly with the writer's voice. Whereas Robbins' ...more
Ivan Milke
Ocena 5-

Polako se zadubljujem u Peljevina kao autora i nemam velikih zamerki par sitnih kozmetickih: malo je radnja razrudjena, na par mesta zbrda-zdola al ima neki Kastaneda shmek I poneki likovi su malo ofrlje odradjeni, skicirani a ne koncipirani, al zato ima odlicnih detalja i profila da to izvade

malo je smesno da iz nekog bezanja i lutanja nepoznatim predradjem Moskve (pred sam kraj knjige, posle dolazka medju narod u musavu kafanu) tek tako dva coska iza nalazi i svraca kod prijatelja, al
...more
Ivan Bogdanov
Generation П беше първия роман на Пелевин, който прочетох, след поредицата разкази, преди почти 20 години в аматьорския превод на Иван Попов. Тогава бях като треснат. Вчера я прехвърлих сигурно за 10 път - очарованието е останало.
За тази книга могат да се кажат много неща и е абсолютно задължителна за всички от рекламния бранш. Нещата са казани пряко и силно, не загатнати какво "99" на Бегбеде. За изминалите години са се сменили някои технически средства, но основните похвати си остават същите.
...more
Dan
acid, witty and engulfing. a critique of modernity, consumerism and capitalism.

memorable concepts and ideas: oranus as a description of the global economy, television as an altered state of consciousness and instrument of control, money as an instrument of moral and ethical evaluation, advertising as a technique of control and propaganda, virtualization of reality.
Katrin
Really, I don't understand why so many people like him.
Sidhartha
Scavengering the post Soviet psyche.
Kate Sherrod
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jacob
In some ways this is a mundane story of a uninspired young person making his way in the world and inadvertently moving through layers of society he didn't know existed. That's the story line in a nutshell, and you've seen that many times before. But the brilliant combination of place (Moscow), time (Yelstin), industry (advertising), and perspective (cockeyed and lonely paranoia) make this a really interesting book.

The main character Tartartsky is in a world seemingly moving from determinism to
...more
Jason
This is the first Pelevin novel I've read. Homo Zapiens for me had a strong first half or so. It started to get weird with the Ouija board, but the book was still interesting; I had a reason to suspend my disbelief.

But then the plot just seemed to get lost. Like Pelevin had too many ideas and couldn't whittle them down. The whole way through the second half, I thought, This is what's happenening next? And looking back, some scenes didn't seem to serve much purpose.

I stopped caring about the re
...more
Vincent
An impossible to book to love or hate. Or: I loved reading it as much as it was a slog. Pelevin has said that it is up to the reader to apply meaning to his work, which is good because there were definitely moments that required me to give up on following a story and just accept what was happening.

Far from perfect, this is a novel that suffers from an abundance of ideas, though, in typical fashion, Pelevin somehow manages to get them in order (sort of). I read his short stories and his novella
...more
Петър Стойков
Копирайтър в руските мутренски години, който ъпдейтва слоганите и идеите на световните марки така, че да имат смисъл на руския пазар. Звучи много по-интересно, отколкото в действителност успява да бъде.
Phil
It's unfortunate that this translation does not keep the original Russian name of "Generation P." Title translation aside, Pelevin is like Bulgakov for the era of Yeltsin.
Paulina
finished it in one day. gave me the strangest dream: I wandered into some derelict building - I could see the sea through one window and some huge mountains through another - and met this flying dragon-fox-angelesque creature.

then we sat down like proper yoga people and had a cup of absent. talked about something - probably commercials and pepsicola.
afterwards I went out through the door and met Tatarsky, who asked me whether I had a light. Of course I had a light. but I couldn't find it.
this
...more
SocrateAD
A sharp and entertaining book that proposes a simple model to understanding the modern world. You’ll find in this book depth in analyzing the reality, memorable concepts and typical situations.
The human transformation in the modern capitalist consumerism advertising based society is as follows:
Homo homini lupus.
Man is wolf to man.
Man is wow to man.
Man is wow to wow.
Wow is wow to wow.
Wow.
Types of Wow: oral wow, anal wow, displacement wow.
The advertising ideas presented in the book with thei
...more
1.1
This was pretty good, though at times it gets dense. The Ouija board sequence is interminable for this reason, but it's also important for understanding the plot – insofar as it can be understood. It's pretty imaginative, which combines well with the Russian setting to make for a surreal, dirty kind of world which I didn't mind getting into. For marketers or advertising people with a literary bent and ironic mindset, this book is a must-read. Murakami's name gets thrown around a bit in connectio ...more
Oriana
Ah ha, I am copying my own comment on someone else's review into this review because I am lazy and I think it's sad that I never wrote anything here.

Homo Zapiens is (IMO) Pelevin's tour de force. It's a totally fucking incredible story of advertising and mass psychology in post-Communist Russia, with a heavy dose of psychedelic mushrooms, violence, mistaken identity, etc. It's been a few years since I read it, but holy shit was it ever nuts. Plus one of the best cover illos ever.
Nelly Aghabekyan
The book was quote interesting, but not really my kind of read. Among all the imaginary and not so much revelations, those that truly interested me were stories of post-Soviet Russia and references to ancient mythologies. Ending didn't have the closure I expected, but thanks to all the mysteries left untold, my thoughts still keep jumping back to them, as if trying to see something I missed, something that was obvious all along. Was worth reading anyway.
Alex Railean
This book had some interesting moments.

My favourite element: the thought-processes of the protagonist when he was generating his slogans. That involves world-play, puns and an understanding of Soviet and !Soviet cultures - good stuff!


Still, I have to admit that the primary reason for reading this book was "să pot răspunde la întrebări CUC" (-;
Lilia
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Nic
Stylish with flashes of brilliant (if dark) humour, well-captured by the translator. The theme of shallow consumer society and its cynical manipulation is universal. However, I suspect I missed some of the more specific cultural references and satirical barbs.

Bookaholic
Faceți cunoștință cu Vavilen. Este copywriter, a studiat literatura și se vrea poet. În Rusia modernă, lucrurile sunt razna și realitățile nu-s chiar evidente. Psihoză colectivă? Poate asta vrea să spună Generația P. Sincer, habar n-am. :) Stau și mă gândesc cum să scriu despre cartea asta. E o nebunie, credeți-mă, un amalgam fascinant și bizar, pe care nu prea știi de unde să-l apuci, care de la un punct încolo dă deoparte sensul, narațiunea și o ia pe câmpi complet.

E genul ăla de carte care la
...more
Zero_killed
Evo, sad kad sam knjigu pročitao po praktički treći put odlučio sam joj dati zvjezdicu više. Roman je jako pametno napisan, sviđa mi se autorova pronicljivost u ovoj kritici ruskoga društva. Osim toga, humor je suptilan, a ponekad i intertekstualan, zbog čega neruskome čitateljstvu i nije odmah shvatljiv na prvu, ali, jednom kad se potraže reference, dobiva se uvid u autorov fini cinizam. Radnja je onako, ništa posebno zanimljiva, ali nije niti statična pa nema neke dosade. Glavna je premisa rom ...more
Luda
Идея хорошая- как строится реклама и как она строит нас.

Буддизм замаскированый блатным говором и всё это в наркомаснком бреду.

Еле прочитала... а какие были ожидание после фильма.
Nate
A little bit less lucid (from a decidedly compicated author) but still top notch. Pelevin is the truest new voice of the Russians.
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4594585
aka Виктор Олегович Пелевин (Rus)

"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." (Wikipe
...more
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