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

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.
At the Circus

At the Circus

This wonderful novella by Alexander Kuprin tells the story of the wrestler Arbuzov and his battle against a renowned American wrestler. Rich in detail and characterization, At the Circus brims with excitement and life. You can smell the sawdust in the big top, see the vivid and colorful characters, sense the tension build as Arbuzov readies to face off against the American.
Moscow and Muscovites

Moscow and Muscovites

Vladimir Gilyarovsky's classic portrait of the Russian capital is one of Russians’ most beloved books. Yet it has never before been translated into English. Until now! It is a spectactular verbal pastiche: conversation, from gutter gibberish to the drawing room; oratory, from illiterates to aristocrats; prose, from boilerplate to Tolstoy; poetry, from earthy humor to Pushkin. 
The Latchkey Murders

The Latchkey Murders

Senior Lieutenant Pavel Matyushkin is back on the case in this prequel to the popular mystery Murder at the Dacha, in which a serial killer is on the loose in Khrushchev’s Moscow...
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.
Fearful Majesty

Fearful Majesty

This acclaimed biography of one of Russia’s most important and tyrannical rulers is not only a rich, readable biography, it is also surprisingly timely, revealing how many of the issues Russia faces today have their roots in Ivan’s reign.
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.
White Magic

White Magic

The thirteen tales in this volume – all written by Russian émigrés, writers who fled their native country in the early twentieth century – contain a fair dose of magic and mysticism, of terror and the supernatural. There are Petersburg revenants, grief-stricken avengers, Lithuanian vampires, flying skeletons, murders and duels, and even a ghostly Edgar Allen Poe.
A Taste of Russia

A Taste of Russia

The definitive modern cookbook on Russian cuisine has been totally updated and redesigned in a 30th Anniversary Edition. Layering superbly researched recipes with informative essays on the dishes' rich historical and cultural context, A Taste of Russia includes over 200 recipes on everything from borshch to blini, from Salmon Coulibiac to Beef Stew with Rum, from Marinated Mushrooms to Walnut-honey Filled Pies. A Taste of Russia shows off the best that Russian cooking has to offer. Full of great quotes from Russian literature about Russian food and designed in a convenient wide format that stays open during use.

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.

Latest Posts

Our Contacts

Russian Life
73 Main Street, Suite 402
Montpelier VT 05602

802-223-4955