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Sleep (A Werewolf Problem in Central Russia)
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Sleep (A Werewolf Problem in Central Russia)

3.88 of 5 stars 3.88  ·  rating details  ·  523 ratings  ·  22 reviews
Russian writers tend to gravitate toward either Tolstoyan gravity or Gogol's brand of feather-light fabulism. Victor Pelevin, the author of four previous books, most definitely belongs in the latter camp. His work may be grounded in the grubby realities of contemporary Russia, but the food shortages, decaying apartment blocks, and political chaos serve him as a kind of nat ...more
Published (first published November 5th 1998)
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Aug 21, 2008 Aaron rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Cosmonauts, Industrialists, Anyone with Pneumatic Hammers Instead of Arms
Recommended to Aaron by: Zach
It'd be an interesting experiment in sociology to give a group of socio-anthropologists nothing but the canon of distopian/absurdist Russian literature and make them try to extrapolate an idea of what Russian culture is actually like:

"We have concluded that the primary export of this theoretical Russian people is the generation and training of cosmonauts and gigantic, steam-driven hammers which are used to smash iron ore. The supernatural is possible with the permission of the Party. All governm
My Amazon review: A book of difficult stories, at best, the first story, "A Werewolf Problem in Central Russia", about a wanderer who happens upon a pack of werewolves, and the last story "Prince of Gosplan", which meshes the real world with the world of computer games, are the two stellar and meaningfully understandable stories in this collection.

Whether it is my own ignorance of Russian/Soviet history and life, my lack of philosophical depth, and/or issues of translating Russian to English, th
I think I know why some people gave this book less than stellar ratings. It's well-written, entertaining and thoughtful. That said, while the book physically sits on my fiction shelf at home, it's listed as philosophy here on Goodreads. I don't think I'm the only one who had trouble defining it, and unfortunately,'Muricans are a culture that likes our stuff to be well-defined.
I feel like I give everyone four stars! This one should have been a five star read, but the author needs polishing. Victor Pelevin utilizes the absurd to make sweeping statements about post-Glasnost Russia, much like Bulgakov. I adore this literary device, but it must be used wisely. The book meandered too far into the intricacies of the author's mind, which meant nothing to me, though maybe I'm just not from the right culture.

But enough criticism. This was a thoughtfully written, intriguingly p
The dust jacket compares Victor Pelevin's work with Kafka, Bulgakov, Philip K Dick and Joseph Heller, but the comparisons that came to mind for me were with Nikolai Gogol and the Strugatskii brothers. My favourite stories in this book were the title story, and the concluding novella "Prince of Gosplan", which reimagines late-Soviet life as a bunch of computer games: the hero is like a male Lara Croft with worse resolution. If you like surrealism, absurdism and the convolutions in time and space ...more
There were two stories in this book that I really enjoyed: A Werewolf Problem in Central Russia and Prince of Gosplan. However, I guess I didn’t read as much into any of the stories as other reviewers did.

For those who like satires about current problems (which are the same no matter where you are in the world), then this is a good set of stories. For those who aren’t big fans of abstract satires, like myself, I wouldn’t recommend this book.
Feb 01, 2008 Gennadyi rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: lit fans
An intriguing collection of stories.
the titular story is by far the best one of the bunch, the rest are ok at best.
one of the things that really made me enjoy the story was that after the initial discovery of werewolf villagers the phenomenon stops existing as such and is stated so matter-of-factly that the characters immediately become as real as people you've met.
does not carry any of the anne rice or r.l. salvatore mood that one might expect.
I like this book the way I liked the movies Willard, Trolls and House of Yes. It is quirky, dark, unique and surprising. It is also blessed with riveting and bizarre situations, characters and settings as well as a kick ass title. If anyone is having a werewolf problem, it is most likely the inhabitants of Central Russia. The writing is creative, unique. He has another book where each character is an insect that is also well worth it...
This is the kind of bizarre I expect to see more and more in "traditional" fiction--and this guy was doing it 10 years ago. Seriously, we need to loosen up, allow video games and werewolves and solipsism practicing clerks to fill the literature shelves. Not all the stories struck the right cord, but not one of them felt like anything I'd read before, and in this day and age, that is a rarity indeed.
I like Victor Pelevin, but I found this collection to be mostly disappointing. The title story and "The Prince of Gosplan" were the only ones I really liked. "Tai Shou Chuan USSR" was pretty good too I guess. A lot of the others started out with good premises, like "Sleep," but then went nowhere comprehensible.
Robert Wechsler
The first, title story is absolutely incredible. It's worth the price of the book. Its magical realism is so much more interesting than most; its fablistic qualities aren't hammered into your head like so much Russian satire. But then I tried some of the other stories, and found them dreadful.
i liked the first story, from which the collection derives its title..... after that i had to drag myself through the obvious metaphors and boring plots. three stars for the story i did like, as well as a few funny or interesting ideas, but honestly, i couldn't force myself to finish.
This book caused the kind of heart-racing panic that Haruki Murakami causes as I don't know what will happen on the next page. Not only am I surprised, but I am enlightened, and looking back, I can't imagine anything other action than what was written.
The story from which the book gets its title was eerie, dark, and satirical. It's worth picking up the book just to read "A Werewolf Problem in Central Russia." I didn't care for the other stories in this collection.
While some stories succeed well, others were easily forgettable. I am glad to have read it (because after this I tried The Yellow Arrow by Pelevin which was a great collection of stories.
Some superb stories in here. Pelevin's mind is amazing. The more fantastical stories are definitely the most successful ones.
il grande merito dei russi contemporanei è che fanno venire una gran voglia di (ri)leggere i classici.
Nice little set of stories by Pelevin. The usual dark Russian humor and trademark philosophical angst typical of him
Pelevin is a great Post-Soviet modernist. His work is suffused with a Russian sense of humor.
Sarah Sammis
Here's a collection of short stories that has stuck with me, especially the titular one.
Amy Huebner
Mar 30, 2008 Amy Huebner rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: everyone
I love short stories and this is no exception.Funny in a weird way.
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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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