Pelevin's 13 best books

Review of the best according to the editorial board. On the selection criteria. This material is subjective and does not constitute advertising and does not serve as a purchase guide. Before buying, you need to consult with a specialist.

Viktor Olegovich Pelevin is an outstanding prose writer of our time, about whose existence there are many rumors due to the author's closed lifestyle. Based on his works, performances have been staged in theaters, films have been made, critics are ambiguous in assessing creativity, but this is success and the key to a reader of perfect different ages and perception of the world. The peculiarity of the author is the constant comparison of the book and the real through the prism of his own vision, corresponding to the opinion of the majority, a comparison of political events and theories of world conspiracy, irony, ridicule of the vices of our time.

Rating of the best books by Viktor Pelevin

Nomination a place composition rating
Rating of the best books by Viktor Pelevin 1 Chapaev and emptiness (1996) 4.7
2 The Hermit and the Six-Fingered (1990) 4.7
3 Omon Ra (1991) 4.7
4 S.N.U.F.F. (2001) 4.6
5 Numbers (2003) 4.6
6 Insect Life (1993) 4.6
7 Generation “P” (1999) 4.5
8 T (2009) 4.5
9 Pineapple water for the lovely lady (2010) 4.5
10 Werewolf Sacred Book (2004) 4.4
11 iPhuck 10 (2017) 4.4
12 Empire v (2006) 4.3
13 DPP (NN) (2003) 4.3

Chapaev and emptiness (1996)

Author of the book: Victor Pelevin

Rating: 4.7

Chapaev and emptiness

The novel that everyone should read is Chapaev and Emptiness.

In the center of the story is the poet Pyotr Pustot, who is simultaneously in two time spaces – in post-revolutionary Russia in 1918-1919. and in the mid-1990s. The hero serves in the Chapaev division, while at the end of the same century he is being treated in a psychiatric clinic, which, as it seems to him, is only a dream.

Pelevin was able to combine a number of such contradictory personalities with their completely opposite characters, managed to organically introduce into the narrative of Serdyuk, the hero of a Mexican TV series, a bandit and even Arnold Schwarzenegger, involved in the war of clans in Japan, into the narrative – they were all patients of the same mental hospital. Such complex parallels are partly explained by the possible historical development of Russia in relations with the West and East, each of which symbolically corresponds to a separate hero. All patients of one ward are united by the goal – to recover, for which a unique technique of penetrating into each other's personal space is used to find answers to some questions.

Responsibility for the future of Russia today in the novel rests on the shoulders of Grigory Kotovsky, who towards the end of the story turns out to be a cocaine addict. But this does not prevent him from being in the same harness in the Void, whose spiritual Buddhist teacher eventually becomes Vasily Chapaev – he helps the main character achieve inner enlightenment.

A seemingly complex plot is a mixture of separate lines of narration in a different style, twisted around the personality of the Void and his struggle for his future. Reviewers call the novel Chapaev and Emptiness “the first Zen Buddhist novel in Russian literature.”

The Hermit and the Six-Fingered (1990)

Author of the book: Victor Pelevin

Rating: 4.7

The Recluse and the Six-Fingered

In second place in the rating is the first story written by Viktor Pelevin in 1990, 'The Recluse and the Six-Fingered'. Since 2005, the work has been used by theatrical figures, it was taken as the basis for staging performances – a good success for a debut.

The focus is on a pair of chickens – Recluse and Six-fingered, broilers at the poultry farm named after Lunacharsky. The author talks about the chicken hierarchy, which turns out to be complex – the main one is who is closer to the feeder and further downward with some peculiarities. Shestypalov is expelled from the system, he meets with the chicken philosopher Recluse – the latter shows an interest in natural science and wanders between individual communities of broilers inside the plant. Surprisingly, the Recluse has mastered the 'divine' language – Russian, knows how to determine the time by the hour dial and knows where the chicken children come from, although he himself has never seen it.

Six-fingered becomes a student of the Recluse, now they move together through the communities in the poultry farm, get to know the world and want to comprehend the unknown 'flight', with which it is possible to escape from the confined space of the plant.

The main idea of ​​the story: gifted lonely enthusiasts are able to reach an optimistic end, and not the masses, inclined to gray collectivism.

Omon Ra (1991)

Author of the book: Victor Pelevin

Rating: 4.7

Omon Ra

For Pelevin, 'Omon Ra' became the first novel in his writing. The work was created on the basis of the preparation of Omon Krivomazov as part of a group of Soviet cosmonauts for a flight to the moon. Ra is the call sign of the protagonist, likened to the name of the sun god of ancient Egyptian mythology. The author dispels myths about astronautics, exposing official versions and stories, and also tells about real heroes whose names are unknown to anyone. In other words, the reader is invited to look at space flights from a different angle, not from the one that the media talk about.

The entire novel 'Omon Ra' is built like revelatory films in the traditions of Western cinema. Viktor Pelevin makes fun of the 'secrets of astronautics', the plot flashes a 'lunar conspiracy' and a staged flight to an earth satellite, the author talks about the primitiveness of Soviet rockets, up to the manual control of the steps when they are detached by legless suicide cosmonauts 'trained' at the flight school them. Maresyeva (Zaraysk). The reader is also presented with the facts of the strange training of military specialists: cutting off the legs in the already mentioned flight school, accompanied by shooting exams in the machine gun school. Matrosov, as well as blind and paralyzed graduates of the military-political school named after P. Korchagin.

The work cannot be called documentary, it is rather fantasy. It is not in vain that 'Omon Ra' was awarded the special awards 'Interpresscon' and 'Bronze Snail'.

S.N.U.F.F. (2001)

Author of the book: Victor Pelevin

Rating: 4.6


The novel 'S.N.U.F.F.' today it can be considered provocative for the sake of political players, but it was written earlier than conflict military events, and therefore has nothing to do with reality.

The action develops within two interacting countries – post-acalyptic Ukraine with a technologically backward society of 'Orcs', speaking the 'Upper Russian' language, and Byzantium – an artificial sphere, inside which there is a separate technological state inhabited by 'people' who communicate in a fictional Church-English language . Everything would be fine, but in Byzantium there is not enough real space due to the spherical limitation, not everything is in order and with the law of consent – following it, people can enter into sexual relations only after reaching 46 years old. The lack of communication in all its aspects is compensated by suras – robots with whom the population of the artificial world lives.

Demyan-Landulf Damilola Karpov, an operator of an armed drone with a camera, borrowed a sura with the name of Kaya. It is she who draws the owner and two more representatives of the “orcs” into the game in their own robotic interests.

'S.N.U.F.F.' reflects the author's vision of the political situation between the countries of the West and the East, rich and backward states.

Numbers (2003)

Author of the book: Victor Pelevin

Rating: 4.6

Numbers (2003)

On the fifth line of the rating is the novel “Numbers”, which makes up the majority of the collection “DPP” (NN).

In the center of the plot is the boy Styopa, a Soviet child who discovered the magic of numbers. The magic number, the name code – he adjusted everything to the laws of numerology. The seven as a red line goes through the entire plot: the number of power that Styopa counted on is 3 + 4 in total give the same '7' (34 is the name code). Personal development, successful banking business – Stepan is helped in everything by his number sign. Until one day, in opposition to him, the antipode of 43 does not become – another banker, who also took the lucky seven as a guide. The meeting of these heroes was predicted by a clairvoyant. Against the background of the prevailing circumstances and psychological suppression, Styopa, at 43, is going through so many troubles that his inner Zen is completely undermined.

The heroes of the novel, despite the seriousness of the plot, remain a little abnormal, comparing themselves to the unexpected characters of world cinema and literature.

Insect Life (1993)

Author of the book: Victor Pelevin

Rating: 4.5

Insect life

An unusual, but still fascinating novel by Viktor Pelevin, The Life of Insects, is a comparison of different people and social groups with representatives of the insect world. With mosquitoes, he associates future businessmen who are ready for anything for the sake of goals without risk assessment; father and son going to the beach – with scarab beetles constantly collecting manure – dirt from life; the female ant is the girl Marina, who is in demand among men, but is not interested in their society.

Drug addicts Maxim and Nikita, Marina – the fates of all heroes and their loved ones intersect in different combinations. Pelevin constantly compares all human actions with the instinctive processes of the insect world. It is interesting to see how accurately the author fits into the comparisons. The moths who conclude the story, seeking the meaning of life, are constantly in conflict over very unexpected questions.

The message is to see in the outside world the embodiment of all these insects in the human kingdom and draw conclusions about your own life based on their instructive stories. After all, every insect can be easily found in the forest, park or in the country.

Generation “P” (1999)

Author of the book: Victor Pelevin

Rating: 4.5

Generation P

The novel Generation “P” or 'Generation' P 'is widely known among the youth, and the film of the same name has become a cult film based on it.

At the very end of the 20th century, Viktor Pelevin identified the main problems of upbringing and life, the pathology and peculiarities of thinking of the generation, whose conscious life fell on the post-Soviet era of the 90s, when advertising with its simple and often meaningless, but loud slogans rapidly burst into all media . Clips with a strange plot form the basis of the culture of the new generation 'P' (Pepsi), the name of which, according to various versions, is translated obscenely. The protagonist of the novel Vavilen Tatarsky is sure that he knows everything about the true values ​​of commercials, because he is their creator, who has gone from a simple copywriter to a television personality. How does he underestimate the entire scale of the situation around …

Vavilen is a collective image of the generation of the 70s, the same 'P'. He became part of a huge machine aimed at promoting goods that came from the West. Advertising began to replace real life for many people, to bring illusions into the perception of the people of the post-Soviet space. Everything changes when Tatarsky thinks about those who are in control of this whole process and how life around him has changed in general.

The novel is deep, raising the acute social problems of generations of recent decades. The plot is bright, complex and incredibly multifaceted.

T (2009)

Author of the book: Victor Pelevin

Rating: 4.5

T (2009)

T is the designation of the name of a certain count, presumably Leo Tolstoy. A master of martial arts, he escapes from the house of the royal guard to Optina Hermitage, which embodies in the novel the mysterious Shambhala, a place of spiritual enlightenment (the abode of Orthodoxy). On the way to this place, T overcomes various obstacles, collides with the kabbalistic society of Ariel, whose literary figures themselves write a novel about the count, which he is informed about. The hero begins to doubt the reality of what is happening around him, and the success of the journey becomes more and more ghostly and incomprehensible – why all this? Not wanting to live according to a script written by strangers, T is trying to independently change the prepared fate, answering the questions 'who am I?' and 'where am I?'

The novel 'T' was recognized by readers as the best in 2010, highly praised by critics. He will help everyone who 'goes with the flow' to take a step towards themselves.

Pineapple water for the lovely lady (2010)

Author of the book: Victor Pelevin

Rating: 4.5

Pineapple water for a lovely lady

The stories of the first in our rating collection 'Pineapple water for a beautiful lady' made a lot of noise. Readers and critics are similar in opinion: Pelevin did not come up with new plots, but used previously written works and beautifully retold them, replacing names and numbers. However, for those who are just getting acquainted with the work of the provocative and mysterious author of our time, this is not at all important, as well as for connoisseurs – even if it is self-plagiarism, then it is successful.

There are 2 blocks in the book 'Pineapple Water for a Beautiful Lady'. The section 'Gods and Mechanisms' contains 2 stories: the fantastic' Operation 'Burning Bush' about Semyon Levitan, who was involved in a special operation of the state security agencies as sounding the voice of God, and later the devil for similar American services; Al-Efesbi's Anti-Aircraft Codes about computer intelligence of American design in military operations and Russian man Savelya Skotenkov, who managed to create protection against 'smart' devices.

The second part of 'Mechanisms and Gods' contains 3 heartfelt stories: 'Contemplator of the Shadow' about a Russian man who is trying to learn the truth with the help of his own shadow by the method of meditation (an attempt to illuminate the desire to penetrate Western people into the culture of India), 'Tkhagi' about Boris, who wants to join to the ranks of the Thagi sect, a sacrificial practitioner, and the Hotel of Good Incarnations. The last story reveals the title of the collection about pineapple water: the girl's soul prepares for rebirth, the angel invites her to be born into the family of an oligarch, but upon learning the details of this proposal, she refuses. Here a jar of pineapple water will appear in the form of a quote from Mayakovsky's work.

Pelevin, as always, raises topical philosophical questions of our time, subtly mocks at the realities of life and actively uses the grotesque.

Werewolf Sacred Book (2004)

Author of the book: Victor Pelevin

Rating: 4.4

Sacred werewolf book

Not the deepest, but not badly promoted novel by Pelevin, the sixth in a row for the author – The Sacred Book of the Werewolf, – not everyone will like it, but true connoisseurs of the scandalous author's work will appreciate the work, which is intertwined with other stories and stories of the writer.

The plot is based on a werewolf fox with an obscene name (according to him in different languages ​​you can collect many different meanings, summed up under the line of love of freedom and low responsibility) and the wolf Alexander Sery, also a werewolf, in human form, which is a lieutenant general of the FBS. The author reveals the story of their love, the desire of both to develop spirituality, as far as possible in the novels of Viktor Pelevin.

iPhuck 10 (2017)

Author of the book: Victor Pelevin

Rating: 4.4

iPhuck 10

One of the last novels of the author 'iPhuck 10' brought Pelevin a prize to them. Andrei Bely – not the most prestigious, but significant for literature without censorship.

The author transports the reader to the future – to the end of the 21st century, to a world consisting of several powers: Pace (Crotch), the Caliphate of Europeans, the new Confederation (descendants of the United States), the eastern superpower and Russia (emphasis on the shift of political influence from West to East, change religious societies). The Zika virus and anti-propaganda have become a reason to give up sex, now it has been replaced by a virtual one using iPhuck and androgynes (no need to clarify). iPhuck 10 is the most expensive sex machine of the time, and we are talking about it.

Art critic Mara falls in love with the latest modification of Porfiry Petrovich – a literary police officer who can penetrate the software of any electronic device, including the perfect iPhuck 10. She uses his algorithm for her own selfish purposes, but on a legal basis – a woman acquired the program from the police department and can use it all your life. What is self-interest? Mara led the creation of artificial intelligence for the generation of new works of art and their subsequent sale for personal enrichment. To do this, she used previously dead people and programs, among which was Porfiry, who finds out about the owner's intentions, but too late. He leaves a backup of his own algorithm and kills himself.

The novel closely intertwines fantasy and reality, present and future tense, man and artificial intelligence, irony and sarcasm. Who will win? The reader is to find out about this.

Empire v (2006)

Author of the book: Victor Pelevin

Rating: 4.3

Empire V

Empire V was written right before the onset of vampire sagas and stories, so he cannot be accused of plagiarism. By the way, the release of the Russian film of the same name is planned in 2019. How did the plot hook the filmmakers so much?

The work is about Roman Storkin, who became a vampire, having received from Brahma a 'tongue' – a kind of relay baton with the knowledge and abilities of ghouls. With the help of this essence, vampires can penetrate the thoughts of people, other vampires, having previously tasted blood 'for testing'. The hero changes his name to Rama, but in order to fully correspond to the new role, he also needs to change his thinking by studying glamor and discourse – he must control these aspects in order not to succumb to their influence and remain a vampire, establish power over humanity. However, nothing lasts forever, like the lives of native speakers.

Society of people and vampires live, almost without intersecting, only individual 'agents' penetrate into the masses of another world. After conversion, Rama realizes that in a new role he is uncomfortable, thinks about the origin of the world and the value of life, God and truth. The book is the recorded thoughts of a vampire seeking answers to eternal questions. The hero's assistant was Osiris, also an unusual vampire.

Why was Rama left a dropout in the new community? Fans of works about vampires will find the answer to this question in the pages of the novel 'Empire V'.

DPP (NN) (2003)

Author of the book: Victor Pelevin

Rating: 4.3


The rating ends with a collection of DPP (NN), the name of which is deciphered by the author as 'Dialectics of the Transition Period from Nowhere to Nowhere'. The book includes the previously reviewed novel Numbers from the Power of the Great block. In addition to him, the part contains a story and stories.

The story 'Macedonian Critique of French Thought' tells the story of Kika, the child of an oil tycoon who was nicknamed KiKA for the children's channel. The grown-up boy organized a set of sadomasochistic films for adults in a shoe factory. This man was previously mentioned in the novel 'Numbers' of the same collection.

The story “One Vogue” makes fun of the sex-money relationships of rich men and women who want a gift or a place in the sun. In the work of 'Akiko' it is again about sex, but inside cyber machines, in chats. The author draws an analogy with the Department of Counter-Terrorism on the Internet, mentioned in the work 'Numbers'.

In the story 'Focus Group', the action develops in the world of the dead, where the 'Luminous creature' communicates with people who have left the earthly world. The reader will find here a mention of a man who died in the novel Numbers with donkey ears on a ribbon.

The concluding part of the collection 'The Life of Remarkable People' contains 2 stories with a reference to the philosophy of the East with all the subtlety of the literary approach of Viktor Pelevin.

Attention! This rating is subjective and does not constitute an advertisement and does not serve as a purchase guide. Before buying, you need to consult with a specialist.

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