Table of Contents
also by Victor Pelevin
THE HELMET OF HORROR: THE MYTH OF THESEUS AND THE MINOTAUR
4 BY PELEVIN
BUDDHA’S LITTLE FINGER
A WEREWOLF PROBLEM IN CENTRAL LONDON
THE LIFE OF INSECTS
THE BLUE LANTERN
THE YELLOW ARROW
Copyright © Victor Pelevin, 2005
Translation copyright © Andrew Bromfield, 2008
All rights reserved
Originally published in Russian by Eksmo, Moscow.
English translation first published in Great Britain by Faber and Faber Limited.
This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places, and incidents either are the product of the author’s imagination or
are used fictitiously, and any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, business establishments, events,
or locales is entirely coincidental.
LIBRARY OF CONGRESS CATALOGING IN PUBLICATION DATA
[Sviashchennaia kniga oborotnia. English]
The sacred book of the werewolf / Victor Pelevin ; translated by Andrew Bromfield.
Summary: A novel about a fifteen-year-old prostitute who is actually a 2,000-year-old werefox who seduces men with
her tail and drains them of their sexual power. She falls in love with an FSB officer who is actually a werewolf.
eISBN : 978-1-440-60932-9
I. Bromfield, Andrew. II. Title.
891.73’44 — dc22
Without limiting the rights under copyright reserved above, no part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in or introduced into a retrieval system, or transmitted, in any form or by any means (electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording or otherwise), without the prior written permission of both the copyright owner and the above publisher of this book.
The scanning, uploading, and distribution of this book via the Internet or via any other means without the permission of the publisher is illegal and punishable by law. Please purchase only authorized electronic editions and do not participate in or encourage electronic piracy of copyrightable materials. Your support of the author’s rights is appreciated.
Commentary by Experts
The present text, which is also known under the title of ‘A Hu-Li’ is in fact a clumsy literary forgery, produced by an unknown author during the first quarter of the twenty-first century. Most specialists are agreed that this manuscript is of no interest in its own right, but only for the manner in which it was launched into the world. The text file entitled ‘A Hu-Li’ was supposedly found on the hard disk of a laptop computer discovered in ‘dramatic circumstances’ in one of Moscow’s parks. From the militia report describing the discovery it is quite clear that the whole incident was deliberately staged. Indeed, to our mind the report provides useful insight into the virtuoso techniques employed in modern PR.
The report is authentic, incorporating all the requisite stamps and signatures, although the precise time at which it was composed is no longer known - the upper section of the title page was cut off when the report was bound into a file before being despatched to the archives at the end of the calendar year, as required by standing instructions. It appears from the report that the interest of members of the militia was attracted by strange natural phenomena in the Bitsevsky Park in the Southern Administrative District of Moscow. Members of the public observed a bluish glow above the treetops, ball lightning and a large number of five-coloured rainbows. Several of the rainbows were also spherical in form (according to the testimony of eye-witnesses, the colours in them seemed to shine through each other).
The epicentre of this strange anomaly was an extensive waste lot at the edge of the park, where the ramp for bicycle jumping is located. The half-melted frame of a ‘Cannondale Jekyll 100’ bicycle was discovered close to the ramp, together with the remains of its tyres. The grass around the ramp was burned to a distance of ten metres, with the burnt area taking the form of a regular five-pointed star, beyond which the grass remained unaffected. Certain articles of female clothing were discovered beside the bicycle frame: jeans, a pair of trainers, a pair of panties with the word ‘Sunday’ on them (evidently from a weekly set) and a T-shirt with the letters ‘ckuf’ on the chest.
Judging from the photographs in the report, the third letter of this word appears to resemble the Cyrillic letter ‘И’ rather than the Latin ‘U’. We may therefore assume that what we are presented with here is not an anagram of the English word ‘fuck’, as M. Leibman asserts in his monograph, but a representation of the Russian word ‘сKиф’, i.e. Scythian. This surmise is confirmed by the phrase ‘yes, we are asiatics’ on the back of the T-shirt - a clear allusion to Alexander Blok’s poem ‘Scythians’, which, to all appearances M. Leibman seems not to have read.
Also found with the articles of clothing was a rucksack containing a laptop computer, as already mentioned in the report. None of these items had been damaged, and no signs of exposure to fire were discovered on any of them, which indicates that they were planted on the site of the incident
the five-pointed star was burned into the grass. No criminal investigation was initiated as a result of this event.
The subsequent fate of the text that was (supposedly) discovered on the hard disk of the laptop is well known. It initially circulated among occult fringe groups, and was later published as a book. The original title of the text, sounding exactly like the Russian phrase for ‘so fucking what?’, was considered obscene even by our modern-day literary hucksters, and so it was published under the changed title of
The Sacred Book of the Werewolf.
This text is not, of course, deserving of any serious literary or critical analysis. Nonetheless, we would like to note that it presents such a dense interweaving of borrowings, imitations, rehashings and allusions (not to mention the poor style and the author’s quite exceptional puerility), that its authenticity or genuineness do not pose any question for serious literary specialists: it is interesting purely as a symptom of the profound spiritual decline through which our society is currently passing. And for serious people who have made their way in the world the pseudo-oriental pop-metaphysics that the author is unable to resist flaunting before other dismal failures like himself cannot possibly evoke anything more than an intense feeling of compassion.
We should like to assure Muscovites and visitors to the capital that cleanliness and public order in Bitsevsky Park are always maintained well up to the mark and the militia of Moscow stand guard over the peace and security of citizens walking there by day and night.
Finally, and above all, my dear friends, may there always be room in your lives for a song of joy!
Major, head of the ‘Bitsa Centre’ Department of the FSB
Maya Marmeladoff, Igor Shitman,
PhD in philological science
Presenter of the TV programme ‘Karaoke Homeland’
Who is your hero, Dolores Haze,
Still one of those blue-caped starmen?
The client I had been directed to by the barman Serge had been waiting in the Alexander Bar of the hotel National since seven-thirty in the evening. It was already seven-forty and the taxi was still crawling along, shifting from one traffic jam to another. I had a dreary, depressed feeling so deep in my soul that I was almost ready to believe I had one.
‘I want to be forever young,’ Alphaville sang yet again on the radio.
I wish I had your problems, I thought. And immediately remembered my own.
I don’t really think about them that often. All I know is that they reside somewhere out there in the black void and I can come back to them again at any moment. Just to convince myself one more time that they have no solution. And thinking about that for a moment leads to interesting conclusions.
Let’s just suppose I solve them. What then? They’ll simply disappear - that is, they’ll drift away for ever into the same non-existence where they reside for most of the time anyway. And the only practical consequence will be that my mind will stop dragging them back out of that black void. Doesn’t that mean my insoluble problems only exist because I think about them, and I recreate them anew at the very moment when I remember them? The funniest of my problems is my name. It’s a problem I only have in Russia. But since I live here at the moment, I have to admit that it’s a very real problem.
My name is A Hu-Li. When this is spelt in Russian letters - ‘А Xули’ - it becomes a Russian obscenity.
In the old days, with the pre-Revolutionary Russian alphabet, I was able to avoid this, at least in the written form of my name, by writing it as ‘А Xyлі’. On a seal given to me in nineteen-thirteen by a certain wealthy patron of the arts from St. Petersburg who knew the secret, it is condensed into two symbols:
It’s an interesting story. The first seal that he ordered for me was carved on a ruby, and all five letters were incorporated into a single symbol.