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Victor Pelevin

Russian literary culture is in disarray but it can still have a good row about its most fashionable writer

By Jason Cowley   March 2000

Returning to Moscow from a stay in a Buddhist monastery in South Korea, the Russian novelist Victor Pelevin received an unexpected telephone call from a priest. Why, the patriarch wanted to know, had Pelevin-unlike the great Solzhenitsyn and the even greater Tolstoy-neglected his Christianity? “I told him I hadn’t neglected my Christianity,” Pelevin says. “I grew up in an atheist country-I never had any belief in the first place. He was unconvinced. He told me that because I was a writer and popular with the young, I had a responsibility to set an example. I was polite to the old…

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