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The Helmet of Horror by Victor Pelevin

Many years ago (okay, more like 6, but who's counting?) I began a crusade to be the biggest and best contributor to the Waterstone's website booksellers' reviews pages. Before my marriage and subsequent name change, I got to be a top 25 reviewer (and it was chuffin' easy - ironically, the competition was limper than the divisional manager's handshake) with reviews of my favourite authors, stuff I'd read at university, and so on. Is there a point here? Only a very inane one, and a tenuous link to this blog it is. I was perusing my work yesterday after coming to a standstill on the thorny issue of what to read next. Despite the piles of things arranged carefully in order of importance, I hate to be confined to what I said I would do a few days / weeks / years ago (hence the near constant state of irritation my wife finds herself in) so I was fishing for inspiration. Thankfully, I came on this old review of "The Sacred Book of the Werewolf" by Pelevin:
'Much like Will Self, old Victor makes me come over all funny. Tales of zen artistry, of minimalist beauty and chuffin' great werewolves (and other anthropomorphic goodies) are liberally laced with acerbic Russian wit and wisdom, and this is no exception. In fact, it's exceptional. Again, when I look to my literary firmament, Pelevin and Self are having a tea party and are using the Big Dipper to fish more mescalin ampules from the freezer. I love this guy!' 
I have an old but cherished proof copy from 2005 of Pelevin's shot at the Canongate re-tellings of classical mythology. In his version of Theseus and the Minotaur, the narrative follows a series of exchanges in a chat room between 8 people ostensibly trapped in a labyrinth who have access only to a computer terminal in their cells by which to communicate with one another. Following the first posting by Ariadne on the thread (ho ho! Pelevin vascillates between puns and cerebral punches), these 8 people, perhaps representing aspects of a single person, debate the verisimillitude of the world and of one's perceptions thereof, and bandy about possible avenues of escape.
Just who is the minotaur? Where is Theseus? What of the dwarves with hats and the occipital braids? And what exactly is the Helmet of Horror? All will not exactly be revealed (for who can reveal such essential truths when existence is just the reflection in Tarkovsky's Mirror?) but Pelevin goes quite a way to positing workable theories, albeit cribbed from his undoubtedly encyclopaedic knowledge of classical and modern philosophy, liberally sprinkled with wit both sophisticated and vulgar.
There's no-one quite like Pelevin, so it's difficult to find a yardstick by which to measure what he does. Maybe it's enough to say that the furrow he plows is his own (or in this case, borrowed from Borges) and that one can only marvel at its course with no hope of repeating it. There are so many great lines in this book that it would be difficult to pick just one as an example, so instead, here is the quote with which the book opens:
I shall construct a labyrinth in which I can lose myself. together with anyone who tries to find me...

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