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?

 

 

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