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Жизнь насекомых

3.85  ·  Rating details ·  2,939 Ratings  ·  116 Reviews
Victor Pelevin has the sort of unbridled comedic imagination that can make most writers seem insipid by comparison. Born in 1962, the Russian writer has already published three story collections as well as a splendidly funny take on the Soviet space program, Omon Ra. From time to time his effects lurch out of control, yet Pelevin's manic level of invention tends to carry u ...more
Published (first published 1993)
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Lisa
Future Nobel, maybe?

As I am reading two other novels by Victor Pelevin at the same time right now, I am trying to put my thoughts on "The Life Of Insects" into order. Whoever is familiar with his writing would probably now tell me that it is a very unwise choice to read several of the stories simultaneously, as one alone is complex enough. And I agree. But just like the characters in Pelevin's books, my reading self acts on impulses and is prone to literary accidents, so here I am, in the confus
...more
Cosimo
Feb 23, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Il secondo mondo

“Ti stai attaccando alle parole. Posso dirlo anche in un altro modo: quando cerco di prendere una decisione, dentro di me mi imbatto sempre in qualcuno che ha preso la decisione opposta, ed è proprio questo qualcuno che poi fa tutto”.

Il romanzo di Pelevin racconta le vicende grottesche e e surreali di diversi personaggi incarnati in insetti umani: mosche e formiche, lucciole, falene e scarafaggi sono protagonisti di storie esilaranti e allegoriche in un mondo di passione e crudel
...more
Karen
Mar 24, 2009 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Reading this felt like listening to someone tell a joke in a language you only kind of understand. The book is supposed to be a satire, and the things being satirized didn't really mean anything to me, and most of these stories just did not make sense on a superficial, non-symbolic level. That said, the premise is really cool, and I love the way that Pelevin handles the simultaneous humanness and insectness of the characters - they never transition from one to the other, but exist as both, and t ...more
K.D. Absolutely
Aug 27, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to K.D. by: 1001 Books You Must Read Before You Die (2008-2012)
Move over, Franz Kafka. You only have Gregor Samsa turning into a giant Austrian bug. Victor Pelevin has so many insects turning into Russian politicians, soldiers, etc. You both use the insectness of human beings or humanness of the insects as a readable interesting satire or metaphor but since Pelevin has more in his arsenal, he, for me, is your rightful heir in the satire arena of world literature.

This book is mesmerizing in its prose. It will keep you on your toes because you have to figure
...more
Lorenzo Berardi
Despite its title, this book doesn't speak about entomology. Not in its common terms, at least.

Six years have passed since I've read "The life of insects". In the meanwhile Viktor Pelevin, who was considered one of the best contemporary novelists of the so called "new Russian generation" has been forgotten by many reviewers. Unfortunately for him there has been a new wave of angry, young and often attractive teenagelike Russian novelists to talk about. Pelevin who's in his fourties looks like a
...more
Victoria
Mar 22, 2010 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: philosophy, russian
This book took me on an absorbing journey filled with confusion and surrealism. Pelevin constantly keeps his readers on guard by having characters undergo metamorphosis (literally) between the human and insect state in the middle of sentences. Communism, society, and post-USSR Russia are satirized through such characters as a moth who questions his own existence, a dung beetle who adheres to what he has been taught all his life even when his beliefs do not answer his son's questions, an attracti ...more
Harry Kane
May 18, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
In Pelevin's native Russia, there are two specific cricisms aimed at him by the formidable Russian literary establishment. Apart from people whining that he destroys culture, but these we give a wide berth. Anyhow, criticism one is that he doesn't really write novels, but thinly disguised social satires which peddle absurdist Zen values. The second criticism, is that he always retells the same Zen story in every book.
Indeed, that is exactly what Mr. Pelevin does, and exactly why I love his stuf
...more
J.T.
"The Life of Insects" is not for the Disney-minded, though it delves quite frequently in the silly and absurd, and uses animals -- well, insects -- to represent people. The book is written as a comical "Metamorphosis," at times witty, silly, morbid and profound. Humanity is viewed as insects through some dismal, cosmic microscope. We are the insects always trying to find the light, but finding only darkness, pushing along a ball of dung (our corporeal body) and never rising above our materialist ...more
J.M. Hushour
Jan 02, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is a book about bug people or people bugs, depending on how you want to look at it. A small cast of characters meander through their holiday by the Black Sea, flitting back and forth between human and bug. It is this muddy distinction that charges the novel with its pecualiar beauty, for the characters, whether its the trio of businessmen/mosquitoes, the ant queen dealing with motherhood, or the philosophizing dung beetles, are wonderfully rendered. The ambiguity of their identity, or rathe ...more
Ieva Gr
Nov 20, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I think it’s very well written – the stories that seem to be separate short novels at first turn out to be all interconnected. And the human-insect parallel is a very nicely grotesque idea. It really puts your imagination to work, when you read about completely human-like scenes and acts and find them decorated with bits and pieces from insect life.

P. S. Who knew, that the night moths I am so repelled by are actually the misanthropic and melancholic types, I usually tend to get along with very
...more
Allison
I need to read this book again in about 30 years... It's so craftily constructed, with separate narrative strands so intricately interwoven, that you feel you have encountered the ensnaring web of a master. So much comes together at the end that you're left wondering if you really were smart enough to successfully maneuver in and out and around the silk-like threads of Pelevin's web... Or if you are merely a dazzled moth, suspended in flight, vulnerable and unknowing, a Pelevin success.

Either t
...more
Sashinka
Jan 16, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 1001-books
I really enjoyed these short stories that are all intertwined in their own ways. As much as social commentary on Russia as a novel, this is an intriguing book that deserves more time. It's also very strange... essentially it's about a number of different insects, each of whom have their own characters and journeys to make. More than that would be a spoiler but I definitely recommend it.
Greg Heaton
Sep 03, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: the-greatest
Mind blown. Beautiful, luminous, heartfelt. Transcendent. (And I don't use that word lightly)

Chekhov meets Gogol meets Ovid.

The Seryozha chapter might be the single greatest short story I've ever read.

Read it.
Danielle
The Life of Insects is by Russian writer Victor Pelevin, and was first published in Russian in 1994, with the English translation following in 1996. I was attracted to the story by Pelevin's approach to combining human and insect traits at will; one moment a character is swimming in someone's food as a small insect, and the next they are plucked out and seated at the table as a full grown human.

I wanted to see how he would accomplish this, and if I liked the results. I was surprised at how much
...more
Nata Koval
Є така відома серія книг «Жизнь замечательных людей», так от, назву книги Пєлєвіна сміливо можна перефразувати у «Жизнь насекомых людей». Тут відбуваються такі кафкіанські метаморфози, що ледь за ними встежиш: хвилину тому батько розмовляв із сином, а тут ми вже бачимо, як котяться набережною два жуки-гнойовики зі своїми кульками-скарбами.
А як вам російські комарі Артур та Арнольд, які ведуть свого американського колегу Сема «атвєдать кровушкі русскай», але «ядрьоний» одеколон «Русский лес» трох
...more
Oksana Naumchuck
Mar 27, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Не знаю чим, але зачепило.
Сподобалися філософствування і метаморфози, схожість комах до людей, а людей до комах.
Наше життя таке ж не передбачуване, як і їхнє. Ніколи не знаєш, чи не наступить на тебе наступної миті чийсь черевик.
Bria
Apr 14, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Bria by: roman
I feel like there was some lost potential here, where this book could have done a lot more than it did. It seemed sort of unfinished, like there was a fun idea but it never got fully fleshed out.
Aya
Не бях подготвена за "Животът на насекомите". Не знаех какво да очаквам от книгата и какво ще ми донесе. Но след прочита ѝ мога да споделя, че ми хареса и че намерих още един автор, който ще следя с интерес.
Комбинацията от сатира, сюрреализъм и философия, които изпълват "Животът на насекомите" може да завърти сериозно главата ви. Във всеки един момент ще се чудите дали героят е в човешкия си облик или в този на насекомо. Ще срещнете мравки, нощни пеперуди, торни бръмбари, комари и какви ли още н
...more
Emre Ergin
Jul 11, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Özellikle Mitya ve Dima'nın başrolü olduğu bölümler taklit edilemez bir ustalıkta yazılmıştı.

Kitabın en büyük özelliği her bölümde okuyucuyu kandırabilmesi. "Ha bu bölüm bir insana dairmiş." "Ha bu bölüm bir böceğe dairmiş." dediğiniz her seferinde yanılıyorsunuz. Bunun dışında bölümler kendi içinde çok orjinal öyküler. Kitabın en büyük sorunu da bu. Ne bağımsız öykülerden oluşan bir seçki olacak kadar kopuk, ne de adına roman denmesine yetecek kadar bütünlüklü. Her iki yöne doğru yapılabilecek
...more
Darran Mclaughlin
Pretty good novel, but not as good as I was hoping. I was expecting the Russian equivalent of Houellebecqe, Coupland and Palahniuk, (i.e. a hip young writer with his finger on the pulse about contemporary life) but this didn't reach those heights. Reviews from the Indy on Sunday and the Observer describe this as a cyberpunk novel, which it isn't at all but allows them to throw in a cool contemporary buzz word. It's much more similar to Cosmicomics by Italo Calvino and the work of Gogol. Worth a ...more
Keepcoolbutcare
Dec 08, 2008 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
i like bugs
Lina
Feb 18, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 1001-books, own
Who are you? An ant, a fly or a cockroach?
Zapatoo
Feb 21, 2018 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: roman, russisch
Alle sind Insekten – zumindest Tiere – und doch sind alle mit ihren tierischen Eigenschaften auch Menschen, sind Tiere die Arthur, Natascha, Nikolai, Mitja, Maxim, usw. heißen. Sie haben Bikinis und Jeans und diskutieren über Kunsttheorien. Diese Insekten, Mistkäfer, Ameisen, Mücken, Küchenschaben, Fliegen usw., sind allesamt in der postsowjetischen Welt verankert, die scheinbar voll scheint von Nicht-Menschen mit menschlichen Zügen. Sei es in Kaffees, auf Schiffsfahrten übers Schwarze Meer, auf ...more
Wirayut Chak
Dec 07, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Reading the book is like going through life from the beginning to the end. Like life, it was all fun and full of first times and curiosity in the beginning. Then, you start to know more about life and you wonder about life. You start to see the "dung" that you have to roll in front of you for the rest of your life. Then you move to a new place and try to assimilate. You meet someone, date and so on. At the same time, you wonder what is it all for anyway? Then, you become a parent... You lose you ...more
Connor
Sep 07, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Pretty heavy handed at times. There is a psrticularly memorable section written from the perspective of weed inside a joint as its being smoked that made me laugh. I liked the dung beetle section near the beginning as well.

To me, it just felt like too obvious a satire to be interesting beyond the truly weird parts of it. Any of the social commentary was really explicit.
Ana Utkina
Очень и очень скучно
charta
Un re? No, il vij. Pelevin parla di frasi già scritte come nessuno. Originalissimo ed evocatore.
Fellini
May 25, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: audio
Повествование затягивает, гипнотизирует; как раз то, что нужно, чтобы не умереть со скуки на однообразных рабочих действиях. Очень концентрированный текст.
I Watts
Satirical formicarium. Enjoyably odd, I do wish there were a better translation as the fine pokes of satire and absurdism read clumsy.

Clark Hays
Nov 02, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A disturbing, disorienting read

This is an amazing and devious little book that’s either so macro it’s micro, or vice versa. A series of loosely connected chapters follows a variety of characters around a sea side resort town that’s falling slowly into disrepair. The catch is that the characters are either anthropomorphic insects or, conversely and perversely, insectomorphic humans.

Either way, reading it was a disorienting as the two worlds blend into one that is dark and filled with a singular a
...more
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934 followers

"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.
...more
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