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Omon Ra

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3.89  ·  Rating details ·  6,666 ratings  ·  349 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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Average rating 3.89  · 
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 ·  6,666 ratings  ·  349 reviews


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Vit Babenco
Jan 09, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Space technology and rocket science are very complex and complicated things… They are not for anyone… There are many state secrets and plenty of classified information concerning the space science. Victor Pelevin was the one who could shed some bleak light on those most secret subjects.
His arms were stretched out confidently towards the stars, and his legs were so obviously not in need of any support that I realised once and for ever that only weightlessness could give man genuine freedom – whic
...more
Glenn Russell


Blast off with a Soviet cosmonaut who is informed he has been chosen for a one-way trip to the moon. Hey, can you blame the CCCP for wanting to reclaim the international spotlight as king of the hill in the space race? After all, the Soviet Union's space program boasted a batch of breathtaking breakthroughs:

1957 - Sputnik, the first man-made object to orbit the Earth (a beep, beep, beep, by the way, that scared the living bejesus out of the US);

1959 and thereafter - Nine different probes of the
...more
BlackOxford
Jan 08, 2019 rated it liked it
Shelves: slavic
The Dangers of Youthful Enthusiasm

It Is sobering, I suppose, to be reminded occasionally that we’re inevitably trapped both within the culture we inhabit and, more decisively, within the decisions we make about our lives before we’re even aware of the fact. Call this latter trap ‘aspiration’ or ‘vocation’ or ‘life-goal’. Whatever it is called, it has probably been arrived at through an irrational process of attraction and avoidance that has very little to do with current reality. This truth is p
...more
Ahmad Sharabiani
Омон Ра = Omon Ra, Victor Pelevin

Omon Ra is a short novel by Russian writer Victor Pelevin, published in 1992. It was the first novel by Pelevin, who until then was known for his short stories. The book is narrated in the first person. It is a coming-of-age story.

The protagonist is Omon Krivomazov, who was born in Moscow post-World War II. The plot traces his life from early childhood.

In his teenage years, the realization strikes him that he must break free of Earth's gravity to free himself o
...more
David
Jun 14, 2012 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Mariel
Apr 10, 2013 rated it liked it
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
...more
Greg Watson
Dec 30, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Omon Ra is a darkly comic look at the Soviet-era space program and of Soviet communism in general. Thank you to Glenn for bringing this novel to my attention.

Russian novelist Victor Pelevin reminds us of a time when the words of Lenin were looked to as an authority on every subject from human consciences to outer space. At the same time, Pelevin makes it clear that Russians living in Soviet times were aware that the Soviet system was built on lies. To survive, Russians had to play along with th
...more
Jelena
Nov 17, 2015 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: contemporary
A Soviet lad dreams about becoming a cosmonaut and enrols a military space programme – a fairly unpretentious premise that will not be further expanded. I never expected a major scientific investigation or a detailed history of the pioneers of space travel from a satire, a genre bound to be easily accessible and comprehendible in order to convey a critical and analytical point. So the dark side of the Moon brings the magic, and the Soviet construct brings the myth.

So many observations about the
...more
Eddie Watkins
Apr 29, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: russian-fiction
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
...more
Shayan Foroozesh
Not a bad story and it's a quick read but I wonder why I picked this book, and this despite many other wonderful classics that were sitting on my shelf.
Michael
Nov 26, 2014 rated it liked it
When I was ten, I stood in my aunt and uncle's yard in Dallas one night and watched Sputnik 1 make a transit across the constellated dome of the "fixed" stars. Awed by the science that made it possible to put a manmade object into Earth orbit, I had no idea at the time of either the political ramifications of this accomplishment or of the effect that that small sphere crossing the sky would have on my subsequent life. The space race had officially begun. Politicians in this country lamented the ...more
Stephen Durrant
May 24, 2010 rated it really liked it
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
Casey (Myshkin) Buell
Jun 12, 2012 rated it really liked it
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
Feb 04, 2012 rated it really liked it
Shelves: sci-fi
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.
Jim
Jan 28, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: russia, scifi, humor
Victor Pelevin's Omon Ra is a savage take-off on the Soviet space program, written after the Soviet Union fell apart. We've all heard about people here who think the moon landing was faked. Omon Ra is about a faked Russian trip to the moon in which the cosmonauts are made to commit suicide to be considered heroes of the Soviet Union.

We follow Omon Ra Krizomazov from a childhood dreaming about the stars, to a space training program in which the desire to go into space is something the participan
...more
Ken
Jun 10, 2018 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Kicking off my World Cup inspired book challenge, which consists of reading a book from each of the participating countries in this summers tournament was a story about a young Russian who wanted to become a cosmonaut.

Young Omon Ray dreams of following in he’s hero Yuri Gagarin’s footsteps by traveling into space.
The book first introduces him as a young boy, we soon follow him through adolescence as he enrolls in a military academy.
This soon becomes an eye opening experience for him.

There’s plen
...more
Andrew
Sep 12, 2008 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.
Kevin Tole
Feb 04, 2013 rated it really liked it
Written as the first novel by Viktor Pelevin and published in Russia in 1992 (making it the most up-to-date Russian book in translation I have read) this is a wonderfully sarcastic book on the nature of illusion and heroism.

Written in 1992 it is necessary to put this in its historical context. Brezhnev died in '82 and from that point onwards marked the slow dissolution of the USSR culminating in the rise of Gorbachov, the instigation of glasnost and perestroika and by the end of 1991, the dissol
...more
Tara
Dec 31, 2013 rated it really liked it
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
...more
David
Jan 19, 2013 rated it really liked it
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.'
Daniel Simmons
Oct 14, 2014 rated it it was ok
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Lucy Ponton
Oct 23, 2017 rated it liked it
An odd small book about a Russian young man called Omon Ra and other young men and a space mission to the moon. An interesting ending!
Matt Gibbons
Mar 24, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: owned-books
Disillusionment in the Soviet Union, or How I Learned To Stop Worrying and Come to Terms with the Encoded Restraints of My Soul and Cultural Surroundings.
The Final Song ❀
TRUST NO ONE
NOT EVEN YOURSELF
Ben King-Beck
Jun 26, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Hilarious and sad and WTF
Nate
Apr 07, 2014 rated it really liked it
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
...more
Alessandro
Oct 25, 2017 rated it really liked it
I think in order to fully appreciate this book a reader should be of Russian background. Nerverthless the mix of ironic, grotesque and farcical is pretty similar to other Russian writers like Gogol or Bulgakov. The book describes the journey to reality and the dispel of illusions and delusions that must have been very acutely felt 1992 when the book was released. USSR was dissoluted in 1992 and with it the soviet socialist dream was over fomally (it had been practically over for quite a while al ...more
Patrick
Apr 30, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
...more
MoriartyandHerBooks
2.5/3 Stars

I can't say that I liked this, but I did "like" this. Whatever this was.

Apparently parts of it are supposed to be seen as "funny" or dark humor, but it really wasn't to me. Instead the revealed truths left me unsettled and a bit disturbed by them.
Laleh
Oct 08, 2018 rated it really liked it
A dark humorous stroll in the Kafkaesque labyrinth of Russian cold war space exploration.

This is my first Pelevin read, looking forward to reading his other works.
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What's the Name o...: SOLVED. Fake space trip [s] 3 63 Mar 27, 2009 03:06PM  

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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.

RU: Виктор Пелевин
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