The Sacred Book of the Werewolf

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The Sacred Book of the Werewolf
AuthorVictor Pelevin
Publication date
Media typePrint (Paperback)
Pages336 pp

The Sacred Book of the Werewolf (Russian: «Священная книга оборотня ») is a novel by Victor Pelevin first published in 2004.[1][2]

This book is in the great Russian tradition of social satire running from Gogol through to Bulgakov, according to the journalists of The Guardian.[1] In this satirical, erotic allegory of the post-Soviet and post-9/11 world, Victor Pelevin gives new meaning to the words "unreliable narrator", according to the journalists of The New York Times.[2]


This novel is the story of a former fox-woman called A Huli. The female model she represents is one of the few in Pelevin's novels to escape her usual sarcastic irony. The narration is conducted from a feminine point of view, that of A Huli. Her feelings of love are described with tenderness. She is smarter and more sensitive than her male partners. The mystery of her attraction to Pelevin remains intact, despite the differences she presents in comparison to the heroines of her other novels.[3]

The motif of the animal-woman is frequent in Pelevin's novels. The short stories in The Life of Insects and the present work The Sacred Book of the Werewolf are two examples. This motif does not devalue the gaze towards the woman but makes it more original. It also helps to translate the idea that woman is never what she appears at first sight, that she has a double nature, that she is a mystery. Pelevine likes in Buddhism and oriental mythologies the role of the female deities rivaling the male deities but possessing more power than the latter.[4]

The fox-woman also evokes the Chinese mythology in which she is called Huli jing (in traditional Chinese: 狐狸精). In the traditional tales and legends of Japan she is called Kitsune.

She is still, in Pelevin, an immortal spirit who reincarnates into a luxury prostitute, in Moscow, for example, in the 1990s, after the dissolution of the USSR. Always precise in his details, the writer lends both human female and animal features to his heroine. She wears stiletto heels, but gives free rein to her instincts as a hen-hunter. She is asexual, without a reproductive system. But her clients are deceived mainly because she manages to suggest, in the form of a hallucination, a sexual relationship that does not take place. She is of a rare beauty, with very small breasts, because of her delicacy, the color of her hair. But its main attribute is its red tail which can become more or less large in the same way as the phallus of a man, depending on the sexual hallucination to be provoked. At times during the story, we can see androgynous characteristics in his image, but it is rather, as Isabelle Després notes, a superior form of human being that allows him to use his beauty to achieve a form of hyper sexuality. We can still see the superman of which Nietzsche speaks, realized in a woman.[5]

The feminine principle of wisdom, of the soul of the world takes the form here of the sexual energy on which A Huli feeds to live eternally. Published in English in 2008.


  1. ^ a b Guin, Ursula K. Le (2008-02-16). "Review: The Sacred Book of the Werewolf by Victor Pelevin". the Guardian. Retrieved 2021-01-25.
  2. ^ a b Schillinger, Liesl (2008-09-26). "Demonic Muse (Published 2008)". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 2021-01-25.
  3. ^ Виктор Пелевин "Священная книга оборотня" (in Russian).
  4. ^ "The Sacred Book of the Werewolf by Victor Pelevin: 9780143116035 | Books". Retrieved 2021-01-25.
  5. ^ Després, Isabelle (2017-06-30). "Quelques représentations de la femme dans les œuvres de Viktor Pélévine". ILCEA. Revue de l'Institut des langues et cultures d'Europe, Amérique, Afrique, Asie et Australie (in French) (29). doi:10.4000/ilcea.4208. ISSN 1639-6073.