Ben Hooyman at the LARB:
ALTHOUGH VLADIMIR SOROKIN has earned his reputation as Russia’s premier satirist, he deserves more credit for being among its finest metaphysicians. In Russia, as the saying goes, fiction is philosophy. Though very few Russian philosophers have established a position for themselves in the Western canon, the particularities of Russian thought still find their way into the global imagination through the work of literary greats like Tolstoy and Dostoyevsky. Sorokin, known as much for his stylistic range as for his prescient depictions of Russia’s shifting sociopolitical tides, is a standard-bearer in this venerable tradition.
Born in a small village outside of Moscow in 1955, Sorokin’s life spans the end of the Soviet period and the rise of Putin’s Russia. And just as the author’s life is defined by these two eras, so too is his literary work.