NABOKV-L post 0017046, Sun, 14 Sep 2008 11:08:14 -0400

The Sacred Book of the Werewolf, set in present-day Moscow ...

BOOKS Fiction
Book review: 'The Sacred Book of the Werewolf by Victor Pelevin
Chauncey Mabe | Books Editor
September 14, 2008

The disparate ingredients Victor Pelevin throws into his latest postmodernist stew -- erotic sci-fi, the meaning of life, bitter social satire -- never quite blend into a palatable dish.And yet, The Sacred Book of the Werewolf, set in present-day Moscow and featuring an ancient werefox working as an underage prostitute, has its moments, some of which are unforgettable.Pelevin's heroine, the 2,000-year-old A Hu-Li, has lived in Moscow so long she considers herself Russian. Her Chinese name means "the fox named A," although, she is embarrassed to explain, it translates into Russian as a vulgarity.Like all of her supernatural race, she subsists off the sexual energy of humans, but unlike some, she never goes all the way, which would kill her victims.

She also doesn't actually have sex, possessing instead, by virtue of her magical tail, the ability to control the minds of her clients.That she poses as a Lolita is no coincidence. A Hu-Li slowly reveals herself as one well-read and thoughtful prostitute, devoted to, among others, Vladimir Nabokov. When a sado-masochistic intellectual client insults the great Russian-American author, she almost beats him to death -- without raising a finger.When he complains to the authorities, A Hu-Li is hauled in by the FSB, the security agency formally known as the KGB. Instead of being punished, however, she is seduced by a handsome high-ranking officer, Alexander, who, it turns out, is a werewolf in charge of oil production. [ ... ]
Chauncey Mabe can be reached at or 954-356-4710 .

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