A far-out, far-fetched, and fiendishly funny story about a strange nightclub and its outrageous entertainment.
This quick read comes from modern Russian author Pelevin, whose playful sf romps (e.g., The Sacred Book of the Werewolf) echo a legacy of Soviet satire such as Mikhail Bulgakov's The Master and Margarita. One wonders whether Pelevin took his Kafka comparisons a bit too literally, this being his second novel that features insects as leading characters. The story's protagonist, Lena, is chosen to be part of an elite troupe of young women who will serve as eye candy for oligarch billionaires. During each two-day shift, they are frozen motionless using technology inspired by the praying mantis. The women ignore the lofty explanation of their role in saving their nation's reputation, escaping instead into a drug-induced serenity. The matter-of-fact sexual dialog between the women and club owners is juxtaposed with pseudophilosophical musings from the unattainable world of the mantis. VERDICT While some of the political humor may have been lost in translation, this strange novel has moments of bizarre ecstasy. Recommended for fans of magical realism looking for a challenge.-Kate Gray, New York (c) Copyright 2011. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
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W.W. Norton & Company
October 27, 2011
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