Quick thoughts: Buddha’s Little Finger and Pineapple Water for the Lovely Lady

The Life on Insects was good. Omon Ra was good. But Buddha’s Little Finger was great.

Moving between events of the Russian Civil War of 1919 and the thoughts of a man incarcerated in a contemporary Moscow psychiatric hospital, BLF is a mind-bending, orgiastic blend of Russian humor and Buddhist philosophy, with so much depth I could read it a hundred more times and still miss something. I only wish P.— Library had the book in the original Russian so I could attempt to read it. I give it the full five stars.

As for Pineapple Water for the Lovely Lady (Ананасная вода для прекрасной дамы)?

I read it in the original Russian (very challenging) and didn’t enjoy it. This could just be me, but in PWftLL Pelevin is somewhat of a one-trick pony. I felt like I was reading the same ideas from previous Pelevin stories, just dressed up in a different guise. The first tale – “Operation Burning Bush” – was fairly interesting, but the rest of the book? Meh. Two stars.

I might come back and write full reviews for these books later, but I’m currently occupied with The Senility of Vladimir P. and Thief in Law: a guide to Russian prison tattoos.

Buddha’s Little Finger by Victor Pelevin; translated by Andrew Bromfield. Pub. 2001 by Penguin Books. Paperback, 352 pages. ISBN13: 9780141002323

Ананасная вода для прекрасной дамы by Victor Pelevin. Pub. 2010 by Эксмо. Hardcover, 352 pages. ISBN10: 9785699462919



One comment

  1. It took me some time to guess that “Buddha’s Little Finger” is a VERY creative way to translate “Чапаев и Пустота”.

    This work was my second Pelevin’s (the first one was “Prince of Gosplan”) work but the first Pelevin’s novel. It has enormous number of layers that, probably, are much more easily understood by a Russian. When someone says “Chapaev” or “The Civil War” – we already have all necessary memes and tropes lighting up in our minds. As for the foreingers – how it was?


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