October 01, 2021

Philosophy Baddie: Detective Lenin Closes the Case


Philosophy Baddie: Detective Lenin Closes the Case
Detective Lenin on the run rosaluxemberg on Flickr

Formerly an editor of “glossy publications” including Russia’s edition of Playboy, Russian writer and editor Alexei Korolev has released his “meta-detective” debut novel, Death of Pure Reason. Korolev is also former chief editor of the Aerofloat magazine and deputy director of broadcasting for Russia, the Baltics, and CIS countries for Russia Today, an English-language television channel funded by the Russian government to improve its image abroad.

The work, which follows a mysterious death in a neurological institution in a Swiss village in 1908, features detective Vladimir Ilyich Ulyanov as a protagonist.

Ulyanov is meant to evoke another Vladimir Ilyich, whose once-ubiquitous bust can still be found in many towns across the former Soviet Union. Korolev’s novel features various philosophical discussions about literature, politics, ethics, and psychology – and Ulyanov-Lenin identifies the murderer with knowledge of philosophy.

The novel, which progresses through the words of not only varying narrators but also personal correspondence and press notes, adopts the themes of truth and legend-making from the start. One narrator, a man nearing 70 who is reflecting on events of his youth, suggests society’s role in creating a hero:

“A modicum of pure truth, moderately dosed allusions, a grain of blatant lies. <...> We will not just invent heroes, nor will we accurately describe real people – even historical ones. It is much better to just look around, taking note of the necessary features from relatives, neighbors, and colleagues."

A fantastic reminder that much of what we see and hear is history, distilled and embellished! So who was that Lenin again?

 

 

You Might Also Like

1917 Diary
  • January 01, 2017

1917 Diary

In which we relive the events of 1917 through the words, memories and actions of some of the main players: politicians, artists, and entrepreneurs.
Grandpa Lenin and General Lee
  • July 06, 2020

Grandpa Lenin and General Lee

A considering of differing Russian and American views on monuments, history, racism, and coming to terms with history
Punk Rock Lenin
  • July 17, 2020

Punk Rock Lenin

A Lenin statue in Russia's Far East temporarily sported a new 'do.
Like this post? Get a weekly email digest + member-only deals

Some of Our Books

Driving Down Russia's Spine

Driving Down Russia's Spine

The story of the epic Spine of Russia trip, intertwining fascinating subject profiles with digressions into historical and cultural themes relevant to understanding modern Russia. 
Maria's War: A Soldier's Autobiography

Maria's War: A Soldier's Autobiography

This astonishingly gripping autobiography by the founder of the Russian Women’s Death Battallion in World War I is an eye-opening documentary of life before, during and after the Bolshevik Revolution.
Woe From Wit (bilingual)

Woe From Wit (bilingual)

One of the most famous works of Russian literature, the four-act comedy in verse Woe from Wit skewers staid, nineteenth century Russian society, and it positively teems with “winged phrases” that are essential colloquialisms for students of Russian and Russian culture.
22 Russian Crosswords

22 Russian Crosswords

Test your knowledge of the Russian language, Russian history and society with these 22 challenging puzzles taken from the pages of Russian Life magazine. Most all the clues are in English, but you must fill in the answers in Russian. If you get stumped, of course all the puzzles have answers printed at the back of the book.
Jews in Service to the Tsar

Jews in Service to the Tsar

Benjamin Disraeli advised, “Read no history: nothing but biography, for that is life without theory.” With Jews in Service to the Tsar, Lev Berdnikov offers us 28 biographies spanning five centuries of Russian Jewish history, and each portrait opens a new window onto the history of Eastern Europe’s Jews, illuminating dark corners and challenging widely-held conceptions about the role of Jews in Russian history.
Davai! The Russians and Their Vodka

Davai! The Russians and Their Vodka

In this comprehensive, quixotic and addictive book, Edwin Trommelen explores all facets of the Russian obsession with vodka. Peering chiefly through the lenses of history and literature, Trommelen offers up an appropriately complex, rich and bittersweet portrait, based on great respect for Russian culture.
The Little Humpbacked Horse

The Little Humpbacked Horse

A beloved Russian classic about a resourceful Russian peasant, Vanya, and his miracle-working horse, who together undergo various trials, exploits and adventures at the whim of a laughable tsar, told in rich, narrative poetry.
Marooned in Moscow

Marooned in Moscow

This gripping autobiography plays out against the backdrop of Russia's bloody Civil War, and was one of the first Western eyewitness accounts of life in post-revolutionary Russia. Marooned in Moscow provides a fascinating account of one woman's entry into war-torn Russia in early 1920, first-person impressions of many in the top Soviet leadership, and accounts of the author's increasingly dangerous work as a journalist and spy, to say nothing of her work on behalf of prisoners, her two arrests, and her eventual ten-month-long imprisonment, including in the infamous Lubyanka prison. It is a veritable encyclopedia of life in Russia in the early 1920s.
Murder and the Muse

Murder and the Muse

KGB Chief Andropov has tapped Matyushkin to solve a brazen jewel heist from Picasso’s wife at the posh Metropole Hotel. But when the case bleeds over into murder, machinations, and international intrigue, not everyone is eager to see where the clues might lead.
Stargorod: A Novel in Many Voices

Stargorod: A Novel in Many Voices

Stargorod is a mid-sized provincial city that exists only in Russian metaphorical space. It has its roots in Gogol, and Ilf and Petrov, and is a place far from Moscow, but close to Russian hearts. It is a place of mystery and normality, of provincial innocence and Black Earth wisdom. Strange, inexplicable things happen in Stargorod. So do good things. And bad things. A lot like life everywhere, one might say. Only with a heavy dose of vodka, longing and mystery.
The Pet Hawk of the House of Abbas

The Pet Hawk of the House of Abbas

This exciting new trilogy by a Russian author – who has been compared to Orhan Pamuk and Umberto Eco – vividly recreates a lost world, yet its passions and characters are entirely relevant to the present day. Full of mystery, memorable characters, and non-stop adventure, The Pet Hawk of the House of Abbas is a must read for lovers of historical fiction and international thrillers.  

About Us

Russian Life is a publication of a 30-year-young, award-winning publishing house that creates a bimonthly magazine, books, maps, and other products for Russophiles the world over.

Our Contacts

Russian Life
PO Box 567
Montpelier VT 05601-0567

800-639-4301
802-223-4955