Information about the author.
Moscow, May 1876: What would cause a talented young student from a wealthy family to shoot himself in front of a promenading public in the Alexander Gardens? Decadence and boredom, most likely, is what the commander of the Criminal Investigation Division of the Moscow Police thinks, but still he finds it curious enough to send the newest member of the division, Erast Fandorin, a young man of irresistible charm, to the Alexander Gardens precinct for more information.
Fandorin is not satisfied with the conclusion that this is an open-and-shut case, nor with the preliminary detective work the precinct has done—and for good reason: The bizarre and tragic suicide is soon connected to a clear case of murder, witnessed firsthand by Fandorin. There are many unresolved questions. Why, for instance, have both victims left their fortunes to an orphanage run by the English Lady Astair? And who is the beautiful “A.B.,” whose signed photograph is found in the apparent suicide’s…[more]
The Clay Machine-Gun is a novel rich in hilarious paradox. Pelevin himself has described it as “the first novel in world literature which takes place in an absolute void”. Controversially denied the Russian Booker Prize—the Jury President branded it as a kind of “computer virus designed to destroy the cultural memory”—the book became a huge cult success in Russia.
The Clay Machine-Gun is a nightmarish fantasy about identity, crime and Russian history. The action cuts deliriously between present-day Moscow and 1919, the era of the Civil War, in which the narrator finds himself serving as a commissar in the division of the legendary commander Vasily Chapaev, and his formidable machine-gunner sidekick, Anna.
Hailed as the greatest Russian novel of the post-Soviet era, The Clay Machine-Gun confirmed Victor Pelevin’s status as one of the brightest stars in the Russian literary firmament.