Vladimir Sorokin on Supernatural Encounters

Your story “Red Pyramid” revolves round an encounter on a prepare platform between a younger journalism pupil, Yura, and a mysterious, all-knowing, expressionless man. Without giving an excessive amount of away, have you learnt who or what that man is?

Photograph by Stefan Boness / Sipa / Shutterstock

Let’s assume that Yura met an angel. In life, all of us ultimately come to fulfill with a wierd particular person who can’t be contained by actuality, because it have been, however informs us of astounding issues. When we meet these folks, we attempt to “explain” them in human phrases for ourselves: a hypnotist, a drug addict, a schizophrenic. . . . As a rule, these conferences are rapidly forgotten, pressured out of 1’s reminiscence.

The man tells Yura that there’s a pink pyramid in Red Square, which emits the pink roar. Is that pyramid your invention? Is it associated to Lenin’s pyramid-shaped mausoleum? Is the pink roar Communism? Or am I attempting to learn too actually?

The additional I get from the Soviet Era, the extra horror the life that we led at the moment calls forth in me; its anti-human essence is turning into clearer and clearer. As a practitioner of Sots Art within the early eighties, I’d go to the library and skim newspapers from the thirties. A sure roar actually did emanate from the texts in these newspapers, from the collective Stalinist paranoia, a roar that set a single purpose for itself—to crush every particular person character and subordinate it to the collective will. Everything linked with faith or with mysticism enraged the Bolsheviks. They destroyed temples and killed monks. Communism’s cudgel knocked the spirituality out of man, in order to show him into an obedient machine, a part of a tractor, tank, desk, or manufacturing facility conveyor belt.

Why is the story set within the early nineteen-sixties?

In the Soviet Union, the start of the sixties, after Yuri Gagarin’s area flight, noticed the final burst of “romantic” Communism. This was the best time to fulfill with an angel who may inform the paranormal fact about Lenin and Stalin’s challenge. In the thirties, Yura would simply have run away from this unusual man, assuming him to be a White Guardsman who one way or the other hadn’t been completed off. In the cruel wartime forties, Yura would have paid no consideration to him, as if he have been merely an insane individual. And, within the ironic seventies, when no person believed in Communism in any respect anymore, Yura would merely have agreed with the fats man. After which he wouldn’t have missed his cease for a second time, would have made it to Natasha’s celebration, would have informed everybody about his humorous encounter, and they might all have laughed approvingly. As a present for Natasha, he’d have introduced not his grandpa’s copy of Whitman however Bulgakov’s “The Master and Margarita.” And he’d have spent his pupil stipend on Led Zeppelin, not Dave Brubeck. And the story, after all, could be completely totally different.

Yura, as a youth, appears to toe the Party line. As an grownup, he maybe flirts with dissidence. He publishes a controversial article that will get him known as to testify in entrance of the Party committee. Is his habits not directly influenced by that encounter on the prepare platform?

Of course, such conferences can’t however have some influence on an individual. But Yura didn’t write a dissident article—he merely expressed an opinion about some challenge (greening the streets of Moscow, for instance) that went towards the Party line. Even this was thought-about to be dissidence and was punished accordingly.

Do you consider “Red Pyramid” as a ghost story? An allegory? A puzzle for readers to resolve? None of the above?

I assume I’d simply contemplate this textual content to be a brief story.

(Vladimir Sorokin’s solutions have been translated, from the Russian, by Max Lawton.)

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