Jesse's Reviews > Homo Zapiens

Homo Zapiens by Victor Pelevin
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's review
Jul 08, 2008

really liked it

Oy, maybe the most cynical Soviet (or post-) novel I've ever read. Which is saying something. Our hero is an unemployed poet who ends up writing ad copy in post-Communist Moscow. It is suggested here that all world politics is literally the creation of admen, for reasons and purposes you don't want to know. Capitalism is analyzed sociologically and phenomenologically by a Buddhist Che Guevara through a ouija board. Horrendously cynical ad copy is imagined; is the worst the copywriter who deeply wishes to be a real Russian and thus engages in the worst kind of anti-Semitic primitivist nationalism, because all the papers tell him that's mandatory? the hero, whose greatest inspiration may be the heartwarming vignette of father and son shooting Batman with Kalashnikovs (the only actual domestic product Russia makes, it's noted)? Plus Babylonian mythology, drug abuse, advice on dealing with drunkenness by tricking your mouth, and of course all the homologies between party propaganda and consumer capitalism. Bleak, funny, and kind of visionary--cyberpunk crackle juicing social(ist) satire, to coin a slogan.

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