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The Blue Lantern Paperback – 23 Jan 1998

5.0 out of 5 stars 1 customer review

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Product details

  • Paperback: 176 pages
  • Publisher: Harbord Publishing (23 Jan. 1998)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1899414304
  • ISBN-13: 978-1899414307
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 894,821 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

About the Author

Born in Moscow in 1962, VICTOR PELEVIN has established a reputation as one of the most interesting of the younger generation of Russian writers. He has degrees from Moscow s Gorky Institute of Literature and has written for the New York Times Magazine, Granta, and Open City. He was selected by the New Yorker as one of the Best European Writers Under 35 and by The Observer as one of the 21 Writers for the 21st Century. His novel Numbers won the Grigoriev Prize from the Russian Academy of Critics 2004.

Born in Yorkshire, England, Andrew Bromfield is a translator of Russian literature and an editor and co-founder of the literary journalGlas. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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By A Customer on 29 April 2004
Format: Paperback
This is an excellent collection of stories. Original, postmodern, thoughtprovoking and philosophical, these stories are also quirky and funny. Forpeople new to Russian fiction they're also a good start - containing theright elements of humour and strangeness. These stories are the epitomeof the short story, with the usual sharp twists and about turns. Ichallenge anyone not to find these fun and different.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: 4.9 out of 5 stars 7 reviews
15 of 16 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars I'm a little troubled... 29 Jan. 2004
By Campbell Roark - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
...That this book gets such bland ratings. This is my favorite work by Pelevin, a writer who tends to frustrate the hell out me, especially where his most recent novels are concerned.
Most of these stories are absurdist gems, in my opinion, and a couple of them (most notably the magnificent "Hermit and Six-Toes," the austere "The tambourine of the Upper World," and the endearingly sweet "Adventures of Shed XII") easily stand amongst my favorite short stories of all time.
"Hermit And Six Toes": Not many writers can pull off a story that magically works as a satire of communist thought, an illuminating discourse on the search for meaning and truth in life, and a cute story about two chickens stuck in a meat factory. If I were ever to assemble a coursebook of philosophic fiction, "Hermit and Six Toes" would be in there with the best of Borges, Marquez, Babel, Calvino, Dick, and a couple others.
"the Tambourine of The Upper World" is an odd little mystical story that concerns death and marriage, albeit in a wayou're not expecting at all.
And "...Shed XII," wow. If anyone else tried to craft a short story about a shed the wants to be a bicycle... I wince at the thought of pomo jargonists who would just make a huge mess. But Pelevin's story is just that, a heart-rendingly effective tale about a shed that wants to be a bike. I walk away shaking my head every time I finish it, asking, "How did he do that?" A kid would love it (in fact my little brother did a book report on that story in the fifth grade!)
That's the thing I guess, some of these stories can be universally appreciated, whereas I can't imagine anyone under the age of 20 finding much enjoyment in any of Pelevin's novels.
Now, concerning the reviews... The average reviewer seems to think his novels are better than his short stories. The avergae rating of this (paperback only, the HB has aFIVE STAR RATING, I wonder why the discrepancy?) is three stars. That troubles me as, "Omon Ra," gets four and a half, as does "Buddha's Lil Finger," (formerly known as The Clay Machine Gun). I think both works start out strong, drag a bit towards the middle and resolve in a fairly decent manner (Omon Ra has a pretty tight and unexpected finish, and I enjoyed the cosmonaut's discussions of Pink Floyd's "Atom Heart Mother"). But Pelevin really shines in his stories, he stays on focus and doesn't overload them with befuddling, pseudo-Buddhist, semi-mystical meanderings. And I even like stuff like that, I think its fun, its my bag. But his novels have tooooooo much of a good thing.
"The Life of Insects," is enjoyable, although it leans heavily on a Russian theft of Kafka. "A werewolf problem in central Russia," is also a fine collection of stories. It gets a tad too out there at times, but still, I think when Pelevin confines himself to a set of themes and characters he does a great job.
9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Absolutely amazing study of the nature of life and death 12 Nov. 2000
By M. J. Smith - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
In this collection, Pelevin hooks the reader into believing in the most improbable worlds in a manner that reminds me of S. Millhauser. That these stories intrigue the reader, engage in the reader in serious thought, etc. is a tribute to the mastery of the author.
News from Nepal provides a satirical view of the work place combined with one view of what constitutes death.
Hermit and Six-Toes provides insight into mystical philosophers - philosophers who happen to be chickens on a chicken ranch.
Crystal World combines military guard duty with chemical highs during the political instability of 1917.
Nika, with a surprise ending that ensures that the story be read at at least three levels, deals with direct acceptance of the world (in contrast to the intellectual approach) and death.
Mid-Game revolves around conformity in the former Communist power structure and actual identity - in the context of street-walkers, sailors and chess.
The Life and Adventures of Shed Number XII is the life of a shed who finds true self-expression in life as a bicycle. Pelevin is so good that even this artistic conceit works.
The Blue Lantern considers the nature of life and death in the context of boys in a dorm telling scary stories, stories with truly disturbing philosophical implications.
The Tambourine of the Upper World mixes the traditional wisdom of an old woman with a successful scheme to make money in the new Russian economy.
If you've not yet read Pelevin, it is time to start - and this is a good place to do so.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Post-Soviet Book of the Dead? 16 July 2009
By Pavel Somov, Ph.D., author of "Lotus Effect," "Present Perfect," & "Eating the Moment" - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
8 stories. At least 3 of them (News from Nepal, Blue Lantern, Tambourine of the Upper World) have the strong metaphysical feel of the Tibetan (or, Egyptian, for that matter) Book of the Dead. In my experience, Pelevin reads as a combination of Daniil Kharms and Dzogchen literature - absurd and enlightening.
Several of the stories in this collection might require a bit of Soviet cultural literacy. For example, without knowing that Lenin had a bit of a speech impediment, the central irony of the story may be possibly lost on the reader unfamiliar with the Soviet cultural realities (the two White Guards, patrolling St. Petersburg streets on the eve of the 1917 uprising, discuss their respective historical missions in life; in the meantime they twice encounter Lenin but don't know it!).
Finally, "The Life and Adventures of Shed Number XII," not unlike "Buddha's Little Finger" - intentionally or unintentionally - delves into the Buddhist doctrine of Sunyata/Emptiness. Even a shed - empty by definition - asks the infamous neti-neti/koan question of "Who am I?" And the shed - arguably, like human consciousness - solves its existential angst by arbitrarily identifying with one of the objects inside it (a bicycle). "The Blue Lantern" collection is a kind of metaphysical sparring between life and death.
Pavel Somov, Ph.D.

2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Great book, but just Regular translation 23 May 2007
By Ekaterina Floyd - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I am Russian and I love this Author (who I read ususally in original, in Russian). This book I bought for my American Husband (who is great and I adore him:) and I was comparing the two - Russian & English - side by side.

In the story my Husband read, the KEY-word was not translated correctly, therefore ruining the whole intrigue and the meaning of the story. My Husband completely missed the point (and he is very sharp & brilliant!:), and it was just for me to follow his reading, catching the mistake and translating it correctly for him.

But in general that would be a very difficult author for translation, so it probably is the best you can get. The stories are very mind-challenging anyway. My favorite - Six Toes & Thermit.
2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars My fave Pelevin work (thus far). 30 July 2002
By Howardtheburntone - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
Just a matter of taste, but I prefer Pelevin's short stories to his more cumbersome novels (which are still very good, and at times, magical). BUT. THIS. Is my hands down fave. The stories are more playful and sweeter than much of his other work. The key to Hermit and Six-Toes, for example, revolves around a meditation on love and its subjectivity. The Life and Adventures of Shed XII- only Pelevin could write a story about a shed than wants to be a bicycle and not have it come off as an exercise in literary grandiloquence. All of the stories work. If you are looking to dip your toe into this fascinating writer: The Blue Lantern is the best place to start.
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