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Omon Ra

3.88 of 5 stars 3.88  ·  rating details  ·  3,166 ratings  ·  158 reviews
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 absurd ...more
Paperback, 154 pages
Published February 17th 1998 by New Directions (first published 1992)
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Best Post WWII Soviet Lit
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In between the time I purchased Victor Pelevin's Omon Ra and the time I started reading it, I skimmed an article somewhere that claimed Pelevin was inspired by and indebted to Mikhail Bulgakov. This was not good news. The Master and Margarita by Bulgakov is one of my most hated novels of all time. If I can't easily articulate what it is I hate about it so passionately, I feel that if anyone were to ask me, 'What kinds of novels don't you like to read?' I could point to a ready-to-hand copy of Th ...more
Apr 17, 2013 Mariel rated it 3 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: wore the same hoodie every day like mum-ra
Recommended to Mariel by: omon is an anagram of the moon
Sometimes I remembered my childhood, sometimes I used to imagine what the rapid approach of the final moment before eternity would feel like. And sometimes I tried to finish off really old thoughts that resurfaced into consciousness. For instance, I thought about the question "Who am I?"

In ancient times it was myths before science.

A head wrapped in foil, built into a model aircraft. The aircraft built to contain the plasticine figure. There's no door. A hatch drawn on the outside, and on the in
Omon Ra is a fun little book about the Soviet space program. Much of the humor relies on a heavy context of Soviet society, but there's also some crude slapstick, one of the best kinds. My favorite parts were when Dr. Henry Kissinger stabbed the man in a bear suit and when the tampon fell out of the cosmonaut's nose.

The book is not just silly humor and puns though. There's something stranger and more mystical here, and the slow-burning pain of the narrator's own life. The moon is not a place of
Eddie Watkins
It is possible I will read too much Pelevin and his resolute stance - which for now turns me on with its playful but surprisingly earnest blend of satire, wild imagination, individual freedom, practical application of meditative practices and exploration of mind – will morph into clownish posturing and I will feel a watery neon sickness rising in my throat, but for now… I will keep reading him until I vomit.

Omon Ra is essentially a dystopian coming of age novel in which the hero's childhood drea
Sep 13, 2008 Andrew added it
Shelves: russian-fiction
Fucking funny as hell. The sort of jet black, Bulgakov sense of humor comes out in spades. Lectures on the Marxist-Leninist dialectic of the Moon, socialist messages in outer space, arguments about Pink Floyd, all are found in this decidedly surreal, madcap, quasi-sci-fi adventure, perfect for both fans of Russian literature (I'll count myself in that camp) and those of you who can't sit through Dostoyevsky.
Casey (Myshkin) Buell
Omon Ra is a fun, poignant, and ultimately powerful satire of the Soviet state, and on a deeper level, a meditation on human longing and the will to be free. Omon's absurd journey from dreaming child to Soviet Cosmonaut will first delight you, then break your heart. Pelevin writes with a beautiful spare style, which allows him to pack a lot of story into this small book. With an economy of words he brings to life the nightmarish world of Soviet "efficiency" and national hubris; a world of willfu ...more
Vrinda Pendred
Oh how I love Russian sci-fi, so much more meaning than western variations usually have. Reminded me strongly of Bulgakov, which is always good. Dreamlike, surreal, absurd and darkly funny but always poignant and moving in that classic Russian way. The ending was excellent, and I spent the whole next day turning over the symbolism woven into the story and drawing out meanings. Checked out the full lyrics to Pink Floyd's 'Echoes' too, which really added to the book.
Daniel Simmons
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
ته قلبم از حکومتی که تهدید خاموشش باعث می‌شد هر چند نفری که دور هم تجمع می‌کنند، حتی برای چند ثانیه، مشتاقانه از بی‌فکرترین و احمق‌ترین فرد جمع تقلید می‌کنند، نفرت داشتم.
کتاب اومون‌را کتاب طنز تلخی ست. طنز است چون مسخره می کند، تلخ است چون نمی خنداند. تزویر حکومت کمونیستی شوروی را مسخره می کند اما نمی خنداند چون انسانیت را هدف قرار داده. جان انسان هایی که در عملیات های ابلهانه ی شوروی به اسم قهرمان گرایی از بین رفته. احمقانه از بین رفته. کتاب در تقابل دو مفهوم حماقت و شقاوت داستانش را روایت می کند. داستانی که آشکارا دغدغه های بزرگترش را نمایان می کند. بشر چیست؟ آزادی چیست؟ حد آزادی کجاست؟ زندگی چیست؟ دیدن چیست؟ ما که هستیم؟ و اشارات مستقیم و غیرمستقیمی از این دس ...more
oguz kaan
İlginç bir şekilde kitabın içerisinde yine Pelevin'e ait olan Sarı ok adında bir novellanın çevirisi de var. Burada ikisinden de bahsedeceğim.

Pelevin, Omon Ra'da Sovyetler uzay programınının bir propaganda aracı olarak kullanılmasını, yüzlerce insanın yeraltında ıssız mezarlarda halkının daha ileriye gitmesi adına cansız bir şekilde yattığını anlatıyor. Genç bir zihnin hayatının tükenişine doğru ilerlerken düşündükleri veya hayalleri üzerine kurulmuş bir altyapıda muhteşem bir yergi var. Bunu y
Absurd and disturbingly poignant, reading Pelevin's 'Omon Ra' feels akin to taking LSD and staring at a child's mobile of the solar system as the drug wears off (possibly while suspended in a harness, wearing full SCUBA gear and after several months of eating only star-shaped noodles in a bland chicken and cabbage broth as your sole form of sustenance).

It runs the full course of: normality - LSD - coming down from LSD - becoming aware of new surroundings - questioning new surroundings - question
Artem Huletski
Осталось неясное ощущение от того, во что превращаются наши мечты и немного грусти о погибших персонажах. Не ожидал, что заденет. Задело.
Darran Mclaughlin
Great debut novel from Pelevin. Omon Ra is a worthy descendent of the great Russian literary tradition stretching back through the likes of Platanov, Bulgakov and Gogol. It begins as an earnest exploration of the burgeoning yearning and idealism of Omon who decides he wants to be a Cosmonaut. Eventually he gets his wish as the Soviet Union feels compelled to respond quickly to the Americans making it to the moon. What begins as a bildungsroman evolves into to a satire on the insanity of the Sovi ...more
Michael Burnam-fink
Omon Ra is dark. How dark? Think Kafka shooting krokodil in a Siberian prison camp imagined by J.G. Ballard and then Iain Banks devours the whole thing with a black hole. Sub-infra-black doesn't even begin to describe how dark it is. That said, this is the wonderful and magical story of young man who dreams of flight and joins the cosmonaut program, only to learn that the Soviet space program is less than it seems. It's a mediation on the theater of Soviet heroism, Stakhanovite exceptionalism, a ...more
فکر کردم که هر چند به‌نظر می‌رسد ما انسان‌ها به یکدیگر برخورد می‌کنیم و می‌خندیم و بر شانه‌ی هم می‌زنیم و بعد به راه خود می‌رویم، ولی همزمان در بُعدی مستقل که آگاهی‌مان جرئت نگاه کردن به آن را ندارد، ما بی‌هیچ حرکتی در محاصره‌ی خلأمعلق‌ایم، بی‌سروته، بی‌دیروز و فردا، بی‌این امید که به‌هم نزدیک‌تر شویم یا حتا ذره‌ای سرنوشت خود را تغییر دهیم. قضاوت‌مان از آن‌چه برای دیگران اتفاق می‌افتد نور پُرنیرنگی است که به ما می‌رسد و تمام طول زندگی‌مان به سوی آن‌چه تصور می‌کنیم نور است پیش‌رَوی می‌کنیم درحالی ...more
Andrew Martin
polled the audience for recommendations for 2015, the year of fiction™. whet said "anything by victor pelevin," and: yes.

pelevin was totally off my radar screen, which in retrospect is sort of hard to believe. omon ra is a madcap little novel that punches way above its weight class. there has been a lot of ink spilled documenting the brutality and fundamental dishonesty of the USSR, but it's hard to imagine anything topping omon ra's utterly devastating satire of the Soviet space program, at lea
I remember stumbling upon the name of Pelevin many years ago when someone referred to him as a "Russian Douglas Coupland." I've since wondered if I invented this term. He had a book called Generation P aka Homo Zapiens aka Babylon and the association with P and X was obvious. Read about twenty pages of that, seemed promising, but I was not the reader then that I am now. My local library has since removed this book from the shelves. This makes me sad.

Omon Ra, however, was a thrill. It's an unbeli
One of the most creative and surprising books on this list, "Omon Ra" is the first person narrative of a young man who undergoes bizarre training to become a hero cosmonaut in the Soviet space program. From the outset, the astounding "technology" supposedly capable of producing space flight is set in a context of incredible shabbiness and sinisterness. Soon we learn that Soviet space flight is all accomplished by means of self-sacrificing heroes who, for example, unscrew one rocket stage from an ...more
Shit is Victor Pelevin cool.

Nearly every passage of his I read, I think "this is exactly how i'd like to write . . . if i did write". It's creepy, smart, twisted, creepy, sci-fi-y, creepy, dark, creepy and to the point. I love that Pelevin decides what message he wants to relay to his reader, thinks of how to project it in a fun, creative way, adds a healthy does of "dark", and then just says it. As a writer of novellas, he doesn't pad or fluff his works and says what he needs to say in a way a
Mikko Saari
Rather bizarre story of Soviet space exploration. Omon Ra is trained as a heroic cosmonaut to fulfill a mission on Moon. Turns out things aren't quite as he expects. The book is weird and hilarious.
Mohsen Rajabi
داستان پیچیده کتاب، ساده و جذاب است و کمتر برای من پیش آمده که بتوانم این سه توصیف را همزمان از یک کتاب داشته باشم. اطلاعات خوب این کتاب از حکومت شوروی سابق، شباهت هایش با دوران سی ساله اخیر کشور خودمان، سادگی مردم و پیچیدگی اتفاقاتی که برایشان می افتد، همه چنان در روایت مبهم اومون‌را پنهان و آشکار در هم آمیخته اند، که وقتی خواندن کتاب را تمام می کنی، متوجه می شوی که هنوز بهتی عجیب همراهت است.
Natalia Sofía
"[...]and the low grey sky, which looked as though it had turned its back on the Earth,[...] was probably still unaware that soon it would be ripped open by the iron phallus of a Soviet rocket." (73)

If this sort of aggressive, melancholic and tragic imagery happens to be your cup of tea, delve into this 112-page black abyss. Pelevin's "Omon Ra" does what a novella should do: let itself be experienced fleetingly, and then leave the reader to pick up its pieces. More than a science-fiction narra
بخش هایی از کتاب:
وقتی بیدار شدم زمین دیگر معلوم نبود. تنها چیزی که از طریق لنزها می‌دیدم سوسوی محو ستاره‌های دوردست بود. وجود معلق و بی‌تکیه‌گاه یک کره‌ی عظیم و سوزان را تصور کردم در ظلمات سرد، میلیون‌ها کیلومتر دورتر از نزدیک‌ترین ستاره‌ها، آن نقاط کوچک درخشانی که نورشان برای ما تنها گواه وجودشان است چون یک ستاره می‌تواند بمیرد و با این حال نورش میلیون‌ها سال در تمامی جهات حرکت کند. پس ما در حقیقت هیچ چیز راجع به ستارگان نمی‌دانیم جز این که زندگی‌شان وحشتناک و بی‌معناست چراکه تمامی حرکات‌شان در
Short, witty, and satiric, Omon Ra follows the (rather brief) life of Omon, a Cosmonaut. Upon joining the space program, Omon learns the horrifying truth: Although most Soviet space missions are purported to be automated, they are in fact piloted by Cosmonauts who essentially undertake suicide missions in order to tout the 'space victories' of the Soviet Union. It might not sound very funny, but it is, especially Omon's journey in his ramshackle 'automated moonwalker.'
An excellent Russian satire based upon the Soviet cosmonaut programme. This is essentially a coming of age story; full of hope and heart break as boy hood dreams grow into hard and complex realities.

The humour often hinges of Soviet Russian social issues and I'm sorry to say that some of it was beyond me, but it's still a very accessible Sci-Fi. There are some brilliant pop culture references, and excellent use of imagery to set the scene and aid the comedy.
Russians do like their political satire, don’t they? Or at least the only satirical books I end up reading seem to be Soviet or ex-Soviet.

I only chose to read this because I had loved ‘The Helmet of Horror’ and was quite intrigued by its author. ‘Omon Ra’ was the only only one available at the library, so I fell down on it like a bird of prey.

I quite liked the beginning, those first chapters when he’s a kid and he’s playing and explaining to us his love of flying. But once he gets admitted in th
This must be one of the poorest literary efforts I have ever come across. A mundane satirical plot about the farcical elements of the Sovjet space program (and its role in propaganda and party politics). Not even remotely funny. Short and still stuffed with irrelevant plot twists, characters and observations. I am at a loss how so many people can like this book.
Daniel Lyons
A really perfect book. I couldn't really explain it to my wife without making it sound really depressing and dark, but it isn't really, because it isn't primarily about the events of the book so much as Omon's perceptions and thoughts. I didn't find it either hilarious or difficult to understand, which seem to be common reactions to it—it's too short for there to be a great number of Soviet metaphors to miss, and I suppose it's only hilarious if absurdities piled on absurdities are hilarious to ...more
As an author, Pelevin is both a satirist and a mystic. As a Russian, Pelevin satirizes Russia (or the Soviet Union, as the case may be). In order to appreciate a satire, the reader must be familiar with what is being satirized. As a former student of Russia, I can understand some of what Pelevin is mocking, at least enough to make Pelevin's works comprehensible. However, I can't read Pelevin strickly for his satire, because I am in no way knowledgeable enough about every-day real-world Russia to ...more
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  • The Foundation Pit
  • Day of the Oprichnik
  • The Life and Extraordinary Adventures of Private Ivan Chonkin
  • The Slynx
  • Moscow to the End of the Line
  • Envy
  • The Compromise
  • The Funeral Party
  • The Letter Killers Club
  • Nervous People and Other Satires
  • Faithful Ruslan
  • The Petty Demon
  • The Enchanted Wanderer: Selected Tales
  • Pushkin House
  • Today I Wrote Nothing: The Selected Writings
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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...
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“...what are they but the voice of history multiplied by millions of televisions?” 3 likes
“Ты пойми, милый, что в этом и суть подвига, что его всегда совершает не готовый к нему человек, потому что подвиг - это такая вещь, к которой подготовиться невозможно. То есть можно, например, наловчиться быстро подбегать к амбразуре, можно привыкнуть ловко прыгать на нее грудью, этому всему мы учим, но вот самому духовному акту подвига научиться нельзя, его можно только совершить.” 3 likes
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