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La freccia gialla

4.0 of 5 stars 4.00  ·  rating details  ·  1,455 ratings  ·  41 reviews
La Freccia gialla è un treno di cui non si vede né la testa né la coda, che corre senza mai fermarsi, verso la sua destinazione finale: un ponte distrutto. I passeggeri conducono i loro mille piccoli traffici quotidiani, ignari del destino che li attende e quando uno di loro muore, il corpo viene gettato dal finestrino secondo i rituali consolidati di un vero e proprio cer ...more
Paperback, Strade blu, 118 pages
Published April 2005 by Mondadori (first published 1993)
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the yellow arrow (Желтая стрела) is a slim philosophical parable set in post-soviet russia, but one easily applied to a much wider context. victor pelevin, acclaimed russian novelist and short story writer, wrote this existential novella nearly twenty years ago, following gorbachev's perestroika. the yellow arrow, a speeding train without station stops and destined for disaster as its terminus, is an apt metaphor- one that also captures the indifference and unquestioning nature of the train's pa ...more
What a deceptively concise story. Who knew that it would aim to encompass the concept of life and the 'yellow arrow' that it is for so many people. The locomotive of I, to use one of the stories terms, brings to mind Plato's cave, inherent restrictions on life that are rarely observed and yet remain in plain sight. To only know a second of the present before it is shunted to the past by a succeeding second, to never observe fully the succession of moments, to be inextricably bound to life speedi ...more
Warning, if you have not read the book, do not read this review. This is a thorough review I wrote for my Russian history class during my undergraduate degree. I am not sure if I were to read it again, whether my thoughts or any part of this review would change. I don't remember how I faired with this review (I think I got a B+), in any case, I hope this helps.

Although only a novella comprised of ninety-two pages, Victor Pelevin’s The Yellow Arrow has seems to captivate post-Soviet Russian soci
This book received good reviews from a number of quality sources, so I was surprised to see how utterly devoid of content and thought this novella was. Like so many other postmodernists who have aped the tricks of the avant-garde without understanding the purpose behind those tricks, Pelevin writes a story that looks as if it should be interesting, but cannot do anything with the material. The entire effort reads as a sustained metaphor for the changes wrought by Yeltsin's deregulation, but its ...more
I really enjoyed this short novel. Maybe Snowpiercer was based off of this book since both involve a never-stopping train with passengers living on it with a protagonist looking for a way off. Interesting and fast read.
The conceit was brilliant, but the writing itself could be mundane and clunky. And at times that clunkiness weighed down the train allegory and made it seem too self-conscious. Some of the philosophical parts were boring and sounded like things stoned middle-schoolers say to each other ("And if I tell myself that I am here, where is this 'here'? And what does it mean, 'I tell myself'?" - p. 39). But overall, I still think that root concept is lovely - a train no one knows they're on speeding tow ...more
Wonderfully imaginative. Russian writers have a lock on how to portray the dehumanizing horrors of totalitarian societies.
"The Yellow Arrow", a ninety-two page novella, was the first of Victor Pelevin's books to appear in English translation and provides an excellent introduction to one of Russia's finest contemporary writers. This was the first Pelevin book I ever read, and I was not disappointed.

"The Yellow Arrow" of the title is a train traveling towards a ruined bridge. It is a train that appears to have no beginning and no end, and it makes no stops. From this simple premise, Pelevin elaborates an absurd and s
Arne Bergquist
Honestly I am not positive exactly how to interpret this book, but I found it hard to put down. Set on an endless train that never stops and no one can get off that is hurtling towards a destroyed bridge. Criminals get ahead and almost everyone seemingly goes about their day to day existence without questioning. How can you get off? How can you escape the day to day humdrum? Gather the main interpretation is an absurd look at modern post communist Russia and what awaits the nation. Recommend
Kate Sherrod
I'm a big fan of Victor Pelevin, but I've never read the novella via which he first came to international attention. Until now, when I came across a sweet little used hardcover edition at the Powell's mothership on vacation in Portland last week. Which I then, while waiting for my sister and hostess to get off work, proceeded to take to the nearest pub and devour over a few pints of Guiness, not only because it is Pelevin, but because it is also another entry in that weird trope of fictions conc ...more
Lorenzo Berardi
We were told how planet Earth turns on its axis day by day, drawing an elliptical orbit around the Sun once a year.
Well, this is something.

Yet, both time and space may stand on a line, potentially leaning toward the infinite, but actually aiming to a specific moment in which everything will end. Somehow.

"The Yellow Arrow" is a neverending train tracing out that horizontal timeline, having a past, a present and even a future in its wagons. It runs to its fate. May it be a broken bridge, may it b
There has been a long debate with my equally lit-geek wife about the best piece of Existentialist literature. She likes Camus' The Stranger. I don't, preferring instead Kafka's The Trial (which she has never read). That is, until today. The Yellow Arrow, as stark as it is (fewer than 100 pages), seems every bit as viable as those novels, as Andrei's powerlessness and the absurdity of the situation are both palpable. Perhaps I like The Stranger less than The Trial because Camus' protagonist just ...more
A tight little early book by Victor Pelevin. Similar in tone to The Life of Insects. Andrei and Kahn are on a train called The Yellow Arrow that is a perpetual train, and is also the whole world. There's a host of supporting characters, many of whom felt slightly familiar to me after riding on several Ukrainian trains this past summer. I'm sure they're all archetypal. Anyway, it's Pelevin, so there's a lot of philosophy in its 93 pages, and it's not particularly subtle, but, you know, he still m ...more
Dan Keating
An extraordinarily academic work, Victor Pelevin's "The Yellow Arrow" is a far more subtle book than I was expecting it to be. Pelevin proves himself to be a worthy successor to the classic greats of Russian literature, through his outstanding use of descriptive language, liberal application of social satire, and multi-layered use of subtext throughout. Above all that, though, "The Yellow Arrow" has a kind of universality to it that was surprising and compelling, and the way in which depicts lif ...more
"The Yellow Arrow" is an extremely quick read. I practically read it in a day. However, it is one of those books where one does not know whether it was extremely simple or the most complicated thing they have ever read. The whole concept of the passengers being on a train, but they don't know they're on a train, and the train never stops, is bizarre. I need to sit down and think for awhile just to decide if the train is the only metaphor, or if the entire book is an ongoing metaphor with literal ...more
This was the short story (around 90 pages, actually, so not too short) featured in a collection of short stories by the author.

Creepy, wonderful, messed-up, thought-provoking... These are adjectives I would use to describe the story. Very imaginative telling.

However, I am not sure whether those reading in English would enjoy this as much. I will take a look at the translation, when I have more time, to see how the interpreter manages, but certain things are understood on a purely visceral leve
One of those philosophical books. We all ride a train and what is there, out the window? Nobody knows until the train stops. And it never does...
Weird on one hand, brilliant on the other.
Vald M
About our life as it goes in train:
«Этот поезд в огне и нам некуда больше жить...»
John Mccormack
Completely different.Will write a review after I have thought this one over.
Wonderful commentary on post-Soviet Russia. Captures the sense of peering into a chasm, about to leap into the great unknown, in just under 100 pages.

"Khan," said Andrei, "won't you tell me how you could learn something from someone you've never even seen?"

"You don't have to see a man in order to learn something from him. You could get a letter from him."

Thoughtful simplicity. An art in itself.
There's actually supposed to be shot stories along the main title. Anyway - this book is also one of those who transformed my thinking. I can't really say it's about the Russian State or State it self. It's about everything, and that everything is a train, and we don't even know this. Listen, and you might hear how the rails are making sounds.
haven't read any of Pelevin's other work, but the Yellow Arrow is a personal favorite. A dark allegory about life and the Russian State, in which a man who is riding on a train that never stops, houses countries of people, and the dead are thrown out the windows, begins to wonder what would happen if he were able to get off. Beautiful and simple.
Victor Pelevin's novella The Yellow Arrow is a little philosophical parable. It's short, sweet, and make's you think. I may have rated this higher, if i felt like wracking my brain over the philosophy that Pelevin spouts throughout, but I just wasn't in the mood to do so, nor was his ideas interesting enough to make me go there with him.
La freccia gialla un treno, non possibile vederne l'inizio n la fine. Fa pensare alla nascita, di cui non serbiamo ricordo e alla morte che totalmente sconosciamo; e noi l nel mezzo, a volte in movimento, a volte in attesa, altre in stasi, dimentichi dell'ipnotico rumore delle rotaie. ...more
Owen Brush
An intelligent, insightful, and well crafted book about being a passenger on the train of life/society. "In order to get off the train, you need a ticket - you hold it in your hands, but who will you show it to?"
Il libro è composto da 2 racconti: il primo, il più lungo, si intitola proprio "La freccia gialla".
Libro molto strano, atmosfera cupa, triste.
L'idea è bella ma secondo me non è stata resa molto bene.
Nov 08, 2012 Travis rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Travis by: Tex
This is great fiction. It is a very interesting story. Reading it made me really wonder what cultural differences (and similarities as well) between Russians and Americans.
Russians and trains. Not quite as good as Erofeev's "Moscow at the End of the Line" but still Pelevin, which equals goodness.
A really good book that mixes the Russian reality from the 90s with new age (Castaneda kind of) ideas. Amazing read.
Brad Harkins
Excellent. Wonderful and strange. Everything I could want in a little book like this. Pelevin, read him.
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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 about Victor Pelevin...
Omon Ra The Sacred Book of the Werewolf Generation "П". Повести. Рассказы The Life of Insects Buddha's Little Finger

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“I am closest of all to happiness—although I won’t attempt to define just what it is—when I turn away from the window and am aware, with the edge of my consciousness, that a moment ago I was not here, there was simply the world outside the window, and something beautiful and incomprehensible, something which there is absolutely no need to ‘comprehend,’ existed for a few seconds instead of the usual swarm of thoughts, of which one, like a locomotive, pulls all the others after it, absorbs them all and calls itself ‘I’.” 6 likes
“Прошлое - это локомотив, который тянет за собой будущее. Бывает, что это прошлое вдобавок чужое. Ты едешь спиной вперед и видишь только то, что уже исчезло.” 5 likes
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