I’ve never met a werewolf story I didn’t dislike—at least on some level. Which is unfortunate, as the werewolf is without a doubt my favourite mythic creature of all. I constantly yearn for a rippingly good werewolf tale, something that eschews nonsense about clans, honour, and especially something that in no way whatsoever involves any sort of mild misunderstanding (let alone all-out war) with vampires. So it was with a mix of trepidation and eagerness that I sat down to read Victor Pelevin’s highly acclaimed novel, The Sacred Book of the Werewolf.
The story revolves around a two thousand year old asiatic were-fox named “A Hu Li” (whose name roughly translates to “Go Fuck Yourself” in Russian) and her adventures working as an “underage” prostitute in Moscow—despite being two thousand years old, she apparently looks no older than fifteen.
While on the surface this might sound like a lurid sex-drenched novel for furries, surprisingly little sex actually occurs in the book. A Hu Li hypnotizes her clients (using her fox tail), and convinces them they’re having the best sex of their lives, rather than actually partaking in the act herself. This has allowed her to refrain from sexual activity and lay claim to the title of The Two Thousand Year Old Virgin. While her clients writhe on the bed by themselves, A Hu Li amuses herself reading—usually Stephen Hawking’s A Brief History of Time. As we quickly discover, A Hu Li is one cerebral werefox. She has an opinion and an observation to make on everything; and that she does, in great detail throughout the book.
Her career as a prostitute takes a turn for the worse when one of her clients has the...