Fun Facts: Chapaev and Void

Reading Markus Gabriel’s essay “The Mythological Being of Reflection” from Mythology, Madness, and Laughter (Gabriel/Zizek) – great essay, by the way, I haven’t read anything this thought-provoking in a while (admittedly, just because I like it doesn’t mean it’s good, regardless of what people say – incidentally, I find the substitution of “It is good” for the simple “I enjoyed it” to be the most annoying substitution among philosophically inclined authors, right next to “I think you should do it this way” advice justified with a simple “because I do it this way and it works for me” – anyway, out of the long parenthesis we go) – came across the reference to Victor Pelevin’s Buddha’s Little Finger.  Apparently this is how Pelevin’s Chapaev and Emptiness/Void (Чапаев и Пустота) is rendered into English. Fun fact!

Capitalist Realism

No, I’m not talking about Objectology, I’m talking about some newly translated Russian novels (h/t

imageThe Sacred Book of the Werewolf
By Victor Pelevin
Trans by Andrew Bromfield

The Good Angel of Death
By Andrey Kurkov
Trans by Andrew Bromfield

One More Year
By Sana Krasikov

She Lover of Death
By Boris Akunin
Trans by Andrew Bromfield

Once again it has become fashionable to argue that Russian fiction is over, buried under the rubble of the former Soviet Union. Critics have decreed that no classic works of Russian literature have emerged in the past 18 years.

That may be true, but green shoots are now pushing through the fallen masonry. Four new Russian novels reveal flashes of fabulous writing, at times reminiscent of the wild imaginings of Mikhail Bulgakov, the dystopic visions of Yevgeny Zamyatin or the gentle humanity of Anton Chekhov. Russian literature has long ago left Socialist Realism panting behind – now it is striding out in the company of Capitalist Surrealism.