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Babylon

3.86  ·  Rating details ·  3,496 ratings  ·  158 reviews
"Gucci for Men--be a European, smell better". The irresistible rise of Babylen Tartasky from poet to advertising copywriter followed by the short step to ultimate political power is founded on his smart diagnosis of his country's malaise and his ability to encapsulate his compatriots yearnings in a sharp slogan. This is the new Russia of gangsters, fast-flowing cocaine and ...more
Paperback, 250 pages
Published April 17th 2000 by Faber and Faber (first published 1999)
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3.86  · 
Rating details
 ·  3,496 ratings  ·  158 reviews


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Glenn Russell


"The author's opinions do not necessarily coincide with his point of view." So writes Victor Pelevin as part of his "author's disclaimer" to this bestselling novel marketed under three different titles in English: Homo Zapiens, Babylon and Generation P

"Generation 'P' had no choice in the matter and children of the Soviet seventies chose Pepsi in precisely the same way as their parents chose Brezhnev." When asked by an interviewer what the "P" means, Victor indicated the references are multiple b
...more
Jasmine
May 24, 2010 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: russian
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 rated it it was amazing  ·  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
Nevena
Sep 14, 2017 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Изтормози ме този роман. С елементи на чудесна сатира, но липса наа свестен сюжет. Авторът сякаш е тръгнал с много идеи и е искал да ги изрази всичките – просто така, да си каже всичко, измислил го е все пак, защо да не го употреби. И сипе идеи на едро, загубвайки всякакъв баланс. Жалко, в началото намирах романа за свеж, накрая минавах през страниците насила.
Tracy Reilly
Mar 02, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Mind-blowing book about how propaganda, especially of the commercial kind, literally infects our being. Pelevin is as hilarious as he is deadly in his satire of what drives modern life. The setting is post-Soviet Russia, rushing towards capitalism, but the message can send a depth charge to America as well. The visual of the Russian Parliament as a pack of cigarettes is----excuse the modern allusion--priceless. This is a different kind of 5 stars than I usually give, and I am already pushing on ...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
Tsuhonets
Indeed, a gem. I'm reasonably excited because I haven't come across such a piece in a while.

The humour was excellent. Surrealistic. Like modernised Gogol. Lots of awfully funny nuances. I think the translation as well deserves to be mentioned because although I do not know the original script, I can imagine that the language in this book has required some real brainstorming, so inventive it is.

My favourite part of the book was probably the lengthy and lavish manifesto by Che Guevara's spirit abo
...more
Gia Jgarkava
Jan 04, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Вторая книга Пелевина, которую прочтал и если честно, оценивая после 7 дет, по сравнению с Чапаев и Пустота это по слабее. Но не очень - это все-ровно один из топ-книг Пелевина.
Marzhan Alpysbayeva
As it is now popular, I need to start with a disclaimer that this review is an expression of my humble opinion that you should and hopefully would not agree with, otherwise it would mean that wow-factors are doing their job. And beware, because Pelevin intends to both entertain and puzzle the reader by immersing you into what seems to be fundamental, reasonable and even intellectually appealing historical and philosophical narratives, but reducing it to the postmodernist absurdity.

Vavilen Tatars
...more
Anna
Feb 05, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Pelevin’s Homo Zapiens in Russian Generation P, quickly became a cult books. But, if you think that this novel will explain Russian people’s mindset or describe life during the nineties to you, then you are wrong. The author does not describe or explain Russian lifestyle during the nineties, neither he gives an answer to the question that bothers reader throughout this book. Pelevin is post-modernist and the book is structured as a dialogue between writer and the reader. I believe that Pelevin w ...more
julie
Dec 26, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Kaloyana
Feb 07, 2017 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: unfinished
В началото тръгна добре. Мислех, че ще е интересна история. До средата стигнах и не мога повече. Много анализи, много психологизми, малко случки и разказ, не е за мен. Авторът се е опитал да направи портрет на обикновения зрител и потребител, но се е получило нещо като учебник с уроци, които не са ми интересни в момента.
Alexandra Prochshenko
Whoa! That was a hell of a ride. Five stars!

The story about the advertising guy, slightly reminding of "99 francs", turns into an partly acid capitalistic consumerist dystopia. The mix of advertising, crime rise, oppressors' lexicon, drug usage, social theories, symbolism and mysticism is literally the gist of Russia in "wild 90s" and 00s.

Crazy, brilliant, engaging, human, even educational.
Linda
Jun 12, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Peļevinam ir tāda grāmata "Šausmu ķivere". Saturu es detaļās neatceros, bet savu sajūsmu gan. Tā nu sanāca, ka paralēli es apguvu Freida id, ego un superego teoriju, un tā bija mana pirmā literārā (apzinātā) pieredze, kad teksti savstarpēji saslēdzas un es to pamanu. Un jūtos gudra. Šīs gudrības dēļ pasludināju Peļevinu par ģēniju (pievienojos tai ļaužu grupai, kas tā domā) un visus viņa darbus par ģeniāliem, pirms to iepazīšanas.

Ar šo apziņu atvēru sarkano "Generation П". Lai šo grāmatu pilnībā
...more
Morgan
Apr 21, 2011 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Jacob
May 01, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Thomas Hale
Nov 12, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A satirical Russian novel about a guy who gets a job in advertising, and is slowly and inexorably sucked into the tangled mess of propaganda, money and manipulation at the heart of turn-of-the-Millennium Russian society. The book is a great portrait of post-Soviet Russia and the directionlessness of a society that only ten years before had been a Superpower. It's got a really satisfying cynical style that doesn't go overboard, and the frank pseudo-academic writing on advertising is absolutely wo ...more
Ivan Milke
May 15, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
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.
Sidhartha
Mar 08, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Scavengering the post Soviet psyche.
Tara deCamp
Sep 01, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: fiction, russian
Incredibly inventive, brilliant book. Pelevin has an excellent narrative voice. This book isn't an easy one to read, but it's worth it.
Dinara
Feb 12, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Where Reality Ends and Fiction Starts in Pelevin’s Novel Generation “P”

Reading Pelevin’s Generation “P” is like watching letsplay on the new game on youtube without a sound. You can just observe what the character does with some small understanding of what is going on. Nobody explains you anything and all you can do is to try to make educated guesses.
The main hero of the game - Vavilen Tatarsky is the collective image of people of 70s. Of those mystical times when criminals were romanticized, a
...more
Brittany Picardi Ruiz
Jun 07, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
I love Victor Pelevin, but I somehow managed to miss this one when it came out. I only learned of its existence because a friend of mine, who is a big time film fanatic, mentioned a film adaptation premiered at the Toronto International Film Festival this year under the title Generation P.

Homo Zapiens, the title refers to a theorized new, devolved form of human being whose thoughts and reactions are largely governed by the television, even if, maybe especially if, what he's mostly doing is zapp
...more
Arina Sydorkina
Сложилось такое впечатление, что именно эта книга как раз и написана для человека с клиповым мышлением. Как будто Пелевин раскусил, как работает внимание современного человека, и во всю пользуется этим. Я не увидела там плавного, вдумчивого текста, а увидела именно что нарезку цепляющих идей. Да, идеи смелые, интересные, хорошо заметафоренные. Но. Короткие, не развернутые, сжатые, и мелькающие быстро-быстро. Именно за счет этого эффекта книгу читать не скучно. Она затягивает. Но затягивает точно ...more
Anatolij
Jul 10, 2017 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: русский
(view spoiler)

В ролях:
Они – Виктор Пелевин
Мы – Читатель
Ibrahim Niftiyev
ENG: It is very difficult to say something about Pelevin's works even in form of short sentences or brief description of impressions in the foreign language. Below, I wrote my long review in my mother tongue but in English, I can say that he is the one who I really admire in terms of writing style, fictional representation, and spiritual kinship. He describes some realities which are common and very hidden in all postsocialist countries. He manipulates reality and brings mysterious things to our ...more
Yernur Nurlan
Jun 27, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Imagine having a friend toward whom you feel annoyance and reverence at the same time. He always talks with secrets, his language is full of pretentious phrases, and he makes you feel like he knows everything about what is happening and why. He unambiguously tells you that he is better than you, and deep down inside you know that it is true. Even though he sometimes seems like telling nonsense, you believe that in the end he will make something grandiose out of it. This is pretty much the same w ...more
A.K.
Feb 05, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition

The End of National Myth?
“Oh, what was it all about?” This is the exact idea that readers are left with after finishing the novel. Published in 1999, in a very controversial period of Russian history, the novel was also perceived quite differently. Literary critics also did not express unanimous views: the novel was awarded a “Bronze Snail” (2000) and totally ignored by the judges of “Booker Prize”. The novel known to English readers as “Homo Zapiens” contains several themes. However, one overa
...more
A.K.
Feb 05, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The End of National Myth?
“Oh, what was it all about?” This is the exact idea that readers are left with after finishing the novel. Published in 1999, in a very controversial period of Russian history, the novel was also perceived quite differently. Literary critics also did not express unanimous views: the novel was awarded a “Bronze Snail” (2000) and totally ignored by the judges of “Booker Prize”. The novel known to English readers as “Homo Zapiens” contains several themes. However, one overa
...more
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Goodreads Librari...: Change Description 2 19 Feb 22, 2016 02:05AM  
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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)

See also http://en.wikipedia.
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“In order for him to believe sincerely in eternity, others had to share in this belief, because a belief that no one else shares is called schizophrenia.” 52 likes
“How can non-existence get sick of itself?

Everytime you wake up, you appear again out of nowhere. And so does everything else. Death just means the replacement of the usual morning waking with something else, something quite impossible even to think about. We don't even have the instrument to do it, because our mind & our world are the same thing.”
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