Victor Pelevin: Ампир В (Empire V)


The latest addition to my website is Victor Pelevin‘s Ампир В (Empire V). This is the usual Pelevin post-modern satire on Russia and its ruling class but takes as its basis the idea of vampires. That the Russian ruling class (and, indeed, other ruling classes) are vampires is not, perhaps, a terribly original idea but Pelevin, as always, takes it and runs with it much further than we might expect. Indeed, some might say he goes perhaps too far as he gets quite involved in the intricacies of vampire life, behaviour, customs, history and philosophy. The basic plot is of a young man, Roman, who lives with his mother is turned into a vampire. Vampires essentially rule the world (and Russia, in particular). Through him we learn what vampires do, what they think and how they run things (through a group called the Chaldeans, their intermediaries with the human world). Roman, now called Rama, learns all about vampires and learns their ways and how to behave as a vampire, which mainly involves not sucking blood from humans but sucking their money from them. He learns to fly as a vampire bat, when it is appropriate to suck blood, not to allow his sexual partners to have fake orgasms and even how to fight a duel, vampire-style. It is often funny, with the usual language games, satire and jokes but I felt that Pelevin got carried away too much with the minutiae of vampiredom.

2 thoughts on “Victor Pelevin: Ампир В (Empire V)”

  1. I really hated this book. Seemed a major let-down after Chapayev i Pustota and Generation П. There is a sequel to it, Batman Apollo, but I didn’t bother to read it. Pelevin’s problem is that he has to publish a new book each year, and that has immensely affected the quality of his books. The Zuckerbrins novel was OK though.


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