Just like the previous book I reviewed, The Life of Insects is also out of print and you can find a copy at abebooks.com. It was also a bit troublesome to attain as I had to wait a month to receive it then it was a bit tatty. To top it all of it’s a 190 page book and it took me a day to finish it.
As such these are tiny gripes, what really matters is if I enjoyed it or not and to tell the truth I’ve got quite a few mixed reactions and I’m still debating on whether I actually enjoyed ‘The Life of Insects’
On one hand the plot is good. There are fragmented chapters which focus on humans morphing into insects and then back again into human form. The thing is that each chapter deals with a philosophical conundrum or criticises modern-day Russia.
Now I don’t mind this at all. I like a good novel which makes me think and some chapters are brilliant, especially the cockroach narrative. The translation is good as well and brings out the issues that Pelevin is dealing with. What is clever is that the characters transformations are not obvious and it takes a couple of paragraphs to figure out what is actually happening.
One the other hand I felt that the book did not really hold together and that it was just simply a novel of ideas. I would like to say that I’m not adverse to this but I did feel that something was definitely lacking and hindering my enjoyment. Also some chapters are much better than others so there is a lot of inconsistencies.
At the moment I guess I can say that I didn’t love the novel but neither did I dislike it. On the whole there’s some good stuff flowing from this brief novel but you ave to wade through some dodgy territory to reach the better chapters.