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The Clay Machine-Gun Paperback – 21 Aug 2000


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Product details

  • Paperback: 352 pages
  • Publisher: Faber and Faber; New edition edition (21 Aug. 2000)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0571201261
  • ISBN-13: 978-0571201266
  • Product Dimensions: 12.7 x 2.7 x 19.7 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (18 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 274,199 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description

About the Author

Born in 1962 in Moscow, Victor Pelevin has swiftly been recognised as the leading Russian novelist of the new generation. Before studying at Moscow's Gorky Institute of Literature, he worked in a number of jobs, including as an engineer on a project to protect MiG fighter planes from insect interference in tropical conditions. One of the few novelists today who writes seriously about what is happening in contemporary Russia, he has, according to the New York Times, 'the kind of mordant, astringent turn of mind that in the pre-glasnost era landed writers in psychiatric hospitals or exile'.$$$His work has been translated into fifteen languages and his novels Omon Ra, The Life of Insects, The Clay Machine-Gun and Babylon, and two collections of short stories, The Blue Lantern (winner of the Russian 'Little Booker' Prize) and A Werewolf Problem in Central Russia, have been published in English to great acclaim.$$$Victor Pelevin was selected by the New Yorker as one of the best European writers under the age of thirty-five.

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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

11 of 11 people found the following review helpful By Mr. Paul J. Bradshaw on 18 Mar. 2003
Format: Paperback
One of the strangest books you're ever likely to read, this manages to combine a thriller about mistaken identity with meditations on metaphysics. Pelevin achieves the near-impossible by generating extremely philosophical dialogue in a way that doesn't sound at all unnatural or forced. And there is a tension and mystery about the characters and situation that keeps you reading.
The story? Well, it begins in 1920s Russia with a murder and a chain of events that the central character is unable to stop. The plot then switches to present-day Russia and an asylum, and between the two you start to wonder what exactly is real and what imagined.
Not as good as the amazing Life Of Insects, but better than the disappointing Babylon.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Riddley on 3 Sept. 2005
Format: Paperback
The most exciting modern novel I have read since the great Riddley Walker. Pelevin's is the most daring mind you are likely to encounter in quite a while; someone who manages to unite the disparate strands of the computer age, mysticism, humour...oh and magic mushrooms though you may want to file them under mysticism. I won't attempt to describe the book itself as that is already covered. My thoughts of his other works
Life of Insects...excellent, Kafka goes Zen
Babylon...lacks emotional depth, ultimately somewhat disappointing though enough fireworks and humour to keep the pages turning
Blue Lantern...great book of short stories, his best collection
Omon Ra...least impressive work but contains the brilliant long short story The Yellow Arrow
Werewolf Problem in Central Russia...excellent title story though not as good a collection as Blue Lantern
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 25 Oct. 1999
Format: Paperback
Pelevin's popularity is vastly increased with this book; and it has found devotees not only in RUssia, where the in-jokes are immediately understood, but also in the West where we appreciate his fast and witty style and his black humour. Pelevin works within the great Russian tradition of black humour and social comment (for example Satlykov-Schedrin), but his work has more in common with Bulgakov - whose great novel the Master & Margarita also explored social and metaphysical/spiritual issues in a fast-paced comic style. If you know Russia, you'll know the Chapayev jokes and maybe even seen the old Chapayev and Petka films But really it is enough just to know of them to see how richly Pelevin mines this seam of absurd humour. Pelevin's career shows how Russia's incredible literary culture still produces writers unrivalled anywhere.
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Mr. W. Hardy VINE VOICE on 2 April 2004
Format: Paperback
I'm finding it unusually difficult to find what it is that I want to say about this book. It really is the best thing that I've read in a very long time. In fact I can't remember the last time I had to set down a book half way through a chapter, just to think about what I'd just read.
The closest experience I've had to reading this was when I read Philip K. Dick's VALIS for the first time. It's not particularly easy to read, but the flow of the narrative is close to perfect.
I think that there are a lot of levels this can be read on. I think that I probably missed a lot of them too. It's intensely deep and dripping with all sorts of symbolism and imagery.
The more I read fiction from eastern europe and russia, the more impressed I become. It's just so completely different from the style of authors further west. Once again I find myself impressed almost beyond words.
Even though I finished this a few days ago, I'm already looking forward to when I pick it up to read it again. And that hasn't happened to me in a long time too. I'm off now to order up the rest of Mr. Pelevin's books.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Mr. Dylan T. Hayden on 22 Feb. 2001
Format: Paperback
This is quite simply one of the best books ever written: a worthy successor to the great works of Dostoyevsky and Bulgakov, a superb expression of profound truths, and a sheer joy to read. Buy it now, pay the extra £££ for the deluxe paperback, and get enlightened!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 2 Feb. 1999
Format: Paperback
This is a book that You might at first have some troubles reading with if you have not lived in Soviet union- but that still is a minor obstacle. The book is about Pjotr Pustota, or in English Pjotr Emptiness. Pjotr lives paralelly in 1917 Russia and takes part with commandere Chapajevs army in Russian civil war. But the same time he also is a patient of a mental institution in nowadays Moscow. With Chapajev he talks long about the meaning of life etc...When he suddenly turns up in the mental house in 1990s Moscow he listens to the stories of the types of Russians in contemporary Moscow. Like this: -What's Your name? -Maria. -And surname? -Simply Maria. (this is a joke- a mexican soapopera called Simply Maria was once very popular in Russia) -Why are You here? -I collided. -Collided with what? -The Ostankino tower. (Moscow TV-Tower) It is a good book: funny, but in a an ironic way, splendid characters, etc... 5 crowns.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 7 Sept. 2000
Format: Paperback
If you have enjoyed any of Victor Pelevin's earlier work then you will be fascinated by this novel. His leanings towards eastern philosophy are more fully explored than ever before and provide the backdrop for an unpredictable drama. The protagonist is a mental patient in a Moscow institution who dreams about his role in the army in revolutionary Russia. Or, perhaps, he is a soldier in the Ruissian revolution who dreams of incarceration in a present day Moscow asylum. The boundaries between dreams and reality are questioned and, by reflection, we are asked to consider what makes us who we are.
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