Summary of the “Chapaev and Emptiness” of Pelevin

First part

Winter of 1918. In the center of the post-revolutionary Moscow Peter came across a former classmate and poet von Ernen. He now served in the Cheka and invited an old friend to his huge, confiscated someone’s apartment.

Peter admitted that three days ago in St. Petersburg for an abstract poem he wanted to take people from the Cheka, but he ran away from them, shooting back. Von Ernen, who promised to help, decided to arrest him. At the barrel of the Mauser Peter went out into the hall, where he suddenly threw his coat over the villain and strangled him.

Peter put on the KGB leather jacket, reloaded the pistol and was about to leave. Suddenly a pair of sailors in jackets burst into the apartment. Adopting Peter for von Ernen, they gave him the order to “draw our line” in a literary cabaret, drank vodka with cocaine and together went there.

In the half-dark hall of the cabaret, Peter met his gaze with a strange man with a strong-willed calm face and a twisted mustache.

I suddenly somehow realized that he knew everything about the death of von Ernen – yes what there, he knows much more serious things about me.

Peter rose to the stage, read the verse just written and after the line “answer the white scum of revolutionary terror!” shot a chandelier. The sailors accompanying him picked up the fire. In the hall they shouted and hid behind the columns, and only that mustached man sat unperturbably at his desk.

Stopping the firing, the sailors with Peter left the back door and boarded the car. On the way, Peter fell asleep.

The second part

Peter woke up in the mid-1990s in a psychiatric hospital.

Her chief doctor treated the “split personality” according to his own method: a group of patients were immersed in the false reality of one of them, and at the end of the session they all returned to their usual mania.

And at this moment the patient himself can feel the relativity of his morbid ideas and cease to be identified with them. And from this to recovery is already very close.

Peter was injected with the drug and injected into the group hallucinatory session. He fell into the reality of a patient who considers himself simply Maria from a Mexican soap opera.

On the smoky quay Maria met her betrothed – Arnold Schwarzenegger. He took her to a wasteland, to a military fighter, where their “alchemical marriage” was due to be realized. Having put Maria on the fuselage, Arnold took off. The plane tilted, Maria rolled along the wing and caught the hood behind the rocket. She cried that she did not want to, and it hurt her. Schwarzenegger released a missile, and Maria, along with her flew into the Ostankino TV tower. The merger of Russia with the West did not happen.

Emerging from the “not the most interesting vision in his life,” Peter fell asleep.

The third part

1918 year. Apartment von Ernen. Peter woke up from the music coming from the next room. This mustachioed man, whom he saw in a cabaret, excellently played the piano.

“My name is Chapayev,” the stranger introduced himself. He said that he was impressed with Peter’s agitation and found him to call the commissar to his equestrian division. Peter agreed. They went to the frosty street, sat down in a long gray-green armored car and departed for the station.

Behind the armored staff car, in which Peter and Chapayev were stationed, the carriages were attached to the “red soldier” and the regiment of weavers.

A person is something like this train. He is just like doomed to drag along from the past a chain of dark, terrible, unknown from whom inherited cars.

In the evening for a light dinner with champagne Chapaev introduced Peter to Anna – a beautiful, short-cut machine-gunner. “By the way,” she said, “we completely forgot about the weavers.” Together they went to the end of the moving train, and at Chapaev’s instructions his assistant unhooked the wagons with the weavers. As if nothing had happened, Chapaev and Anna returned to the table.

Peter entered his compartment and collapsed onto the bed.

Fourth part

He woke up in a hospital tiled room, in a cast-iron tub with cool water. In the next baths lay other patients from his ward – Volodin, Serdyuk and muscular young man Maria.

During a quiet hour, Peter secretly entered the chief doctor’s office and found a thick folder with the history of his illness. His pathological abnormalities began at the age of fourteen: he moved away from his family and friends, his progress at school was reduced, and he began to intensively read the philosophical literature about emptiness and non-existence.

He considers himself the sole heir of the great philosophers of the past. The placement in a psychiatric hospital is not a burden, because I am sure that his “self-development” will go “the right way” regardless of the place of residence.

After a quiet hour between Serdyuk and Maria, a quarrel occurred. Peter tried to separate them and got on the head with a plaster bust of Aristotle.

Fifth part

Peter woke up in the summer in an unfamiliar room. At his bed sat Anna. She told about the battle, during which Peter commanded the squadron, was shell-shocked and spent several months in a coma.

Without listening to any objections, Peter got up and decided to take a walk around the city. Anna led him to a restaurant, where she told that Peter was very close to Chapaev.

Chapaev is one of the deepest mystics I’ve ever known. I believe that in your face he found a grateful listener and, possibly, a student.

Learning that Chapaev – Anna’s uncle, Peter tried to flirt with her. He decided that the girl was not indifferent to him, since he was on duty at his bed. To this Anna replied that she had come to Peter’s room to listen to his picturesque nonsense. Peter was offended and quarreled with her.

White officers intervened in a quarrel, sitting at a nearby table. The conflict grew, but then a shaved man with two revolvers suddenly appeared in the restaurant and drove them away. He introduced himself as Kotovsky and took Anna, whom he had known for a long time, on his carriage.

Peter thought that he had nothing to attract a woman like Anna, and felt disgusted with himself.

Chapaev Peter found in the old bath on the outskirts of the manor. He was disappointed to learn that Peter really forgot everything he could understand, and tried to explain to him that all the surrounding reality is in his consciousness, and he himself is in the void. Chapaev gave his explanations to generous portions of moonshine, and soon Peter was too intoxicated to understand anything.

Reaching his room, Peter fell asleep. Kotovsky, who came to talk about Russia and got some cocaine, woke him up. Half of the bank, which was inherited from the dead von Ernen, Peter traded from Kotovsky for horses and a stroller, on which he rode with Anna.

Sixth part

Peter found himself in the reality of Serdyuk, in Moscow in the 1990s. He was on the subway. At the neighbor on the bench, Serdyuk noticed the brochure “Japanese militarism” and thought that the Japanese remembered about the debt, and therefore they live normally.

Coming out of the metro, Serdyuk got very drunk from longing. On the newspaper, in which the snack was wrapped, he saw an announcement – the Moscow branch of a Japanese firm was recruiting employees. He called.

The next day, together with the head of the Kawabata branch, following the age-old Japanese traditions, Serdyuk drank sake, poetically talked about life and had fun with Russian girls disguised as geisha.

This was the “alchemical marriage of Russia with the East”, where Kawabata personified the East. Kawabata said that their company is more like a clan, and dedicated Serdyuk to the samurai of this clan.

… and he sadly thought that Russia, in fact, is also a country of the rising sun – if only because it has never really risen above it.

Soon, Serdyuk learned that the enemy clan had bought a controlling stake in their company, and now all the samurai of the clan must make themselves seppuku. I could not escape Serdyuk. He remembered the last night and realized that she, unlike the world behind the office door, was real. He did not want... to betray all this, took his sword and ripped open his stomach. The Union of Russia and the East did not last long.

Serdyuk woke up in a psychiatric hospital. “So you were found at the air heater, with a rose in your hand.” “With whom did you really drink, remember?” the chief doctor asked.

Seventh part

Peter woke up in the headquarters room, where he had traded cocaine for the horses on the eve of Kotovsky.

Chapaev, wanting to demonstrate to Peter what the mind, death and immortality was, drove him to a meeting with the Black Baron, whom many considered an incarnation of the god of war. He transferred Peter to his mystical “camp” – a place where all the warriors fall after death. In the thick darkness, countless fires burned, each of which had vague silhouettes of people.

Then they heard a cry and went to the fire, from which four sat. Taking off the ring from the lemon, the Baron threw it into the fire, and everything disappeared – and fire and four people. It was “hooliganism, eaten shaman mushrooms” and got here by mistake, they just had to “bring to life.”

The Baron explained to Peter that the dream about the mental hospital, and the reality with Chapayev are equivalent. He compared the world to a cramped room full of people, in which everyone tries to win a chair. Outside the world of every person, the throne of “infinite freedom and happiness”, which belongs to him by right, awaits, but it is impossible to ascend to him, since the throne stands in a place that does not exist. To be in this emptiness, it is necessary to realize that all the worlds are equally illusory.

The Baron returned Peter to the steppe, where the soldiers who were about to die were sitting around the campfire. The Baron taught them to see emptiness. The person who reached the goal immediately received a personal elephant and departed for Inner Mongolia, a place where a person who ascended the throne enters.

Inner Mongolia is called so not because it is inside Mongolia. It is within the one who sees emptiness.

Peter suddenly came back to headquarters, as if they did not go anywhere with Chapaev and he did not introduce him to the Black Baron. Arriving in his room, stunned Peter lay down on the bed and fell asleep.

Eighth part

This time Peter got into the reality of Volodin, the “new Russian”. He, along with two bandits – his “roof” – arrived in a jeep in the forest. Companions planted a fire in the meadow, ate psychogenic fungi and waited for the parish.

Volodin explained to his close companions that “all the buzz in the world” is inside a person. It is locked, as in a safe, and to get the key from this safe, you have to give up everything. This is what they do in monasteries, where monks “prrutsya” round the clock from the sensation of world love.

Here – as inserts, so will not let go ever. And no woman will not have to, not on any havka will break. There will be no breakdown, no breaking. Only you will pray, that perl and pearl.

One of the friends was imbued with the idea of ​​eternal buzz, but Volodin disappointed him: “if it was possible to simply cut it, it would now be half-Moscow for free.” Inside the person is full of all hypostases: both the defendant, and the public prosecutor, and the lawyer. But to catch the “world buzz”, you have to “wipe this whole queue” and become a nobody.

The conversation was interrupted by a pillar of light, which descended to the fire and enveloped itself seated around. They saw emptiness and tried the eternal buzz. Two “poor in spirit” began to yell and scream. “So, our feet do it. Quickly!” – said Volodin, seeing in the emptiness of the Black Baron, and his friends fled.

Coming to, all gathered at the jeep Volodin. On the way, he explained that they climbed into the eternal buzz illegally, and for this they can tie. At the physical level, they take it back to the madhouse, but where to “thin” is a mystery. If his companions had not arranged a riot, everything would have turned out.

The ninth part

This strange dream Peter recorded and showed the manuscript Chapaeva. He, like the Black Baron, metaphorically advised him to “leave the hospital,” meaning by this institution our perishable world.

Going down the street, Peter came across Anna in a black velvet dress, ridiculously tried to confess her feelings and invited in the evening to go out of town on trotters. “What vulgarity!” she said and walked past.

In the evening the weavers gave a concert with incredibly bawdy numbers. Peter went on stage and read his new proletarian verse, in which he weaved the princess in a black dress and her naked friend. The audience burst into applause, and Anna, who was sitting in the back row, stepped out.

Peter returned to his room and lay down. The concert of weavers in the meantime “turned into a total disgrace” – from the yard shots were heard, drunken cackle and the sounds of “sluggish fights”.

Kotovsky went to say good-bye to Peter. He was going to disappear before the weaver weavers all slept here, and advised Peter to do the same. The fact that Chapaev put things in order, he did not expect.

Conducting Kotovsky, Peter went to the bath to Chapaev, where he, habitually drinking a moonshine, tried to make him understand that man is not a form, but a spirit.

About the soul can not say that it is all different, you can not say that all have one. If you can say something about it, it’s that it’s not there either.

Rebellious weavers have already set fire to the manor and with shots went to the bathhouse. Chapaev opened the hatch in the floor and together with Peter made his way through the underground passage to the armored car hidden in the haystack.

Chapaev started the engine, and Anna took her place in the machine-gun turret. Weavers surrounded the armored car. Chapaev ordered to uncover a clay machine gun. Anna silently circled the gun with a gun, and all the sounds disappeared.

Chapaev said that once lived a buddha, so wise that things disappeared when he pointed them with a little finger. The Buddha pointed a little finger at himself and disappeared, but his finger remained. Wrapped in clay, he became a terrible weapon. Chapaev found him in a Mongolian monastery, attached a butt and turned it into a machine gun.

Leaving the armored car, Peter was on a round patch of earth, surrounded by an endless glittering stream.

This rainbow flow was all that I could think or experience, all that could or should not be.

Chapaev called the stream the Conditional River of Absolute Love, abbreviated Ural. People merge with it before taking any form. Anna and Chapaev rushed to the Urals and disappeared. Peter followed their example, saw the beginning of the stream and swam to it. Peter’s movement slowed down, the shining of the Urals faded, and he woke up in the hospital. “Full catharsis,” said the head doctor. “Congratulations.”

Tenth part

Petra was discharged, and he returned to the city. Sitting on the bench, Peter wondered how to be further. Then he remembered the literary cabaret and immediately realized what to do.

In the new reality, the cabaret became a pub, but little has changed inside. Peter decided to repeat the actions from which it all began: he sat down at a table, ordered a cocktail of vodka and ecstasy, and took out a pen stolen from the orderly before the discharge to write a poem. The pen turned out to be a miniature weapon with one bullet. Peter composed a verse, read it and fired a chandelier. In the hall the lights went out, a skirmish began, and Peter left the pub by touch through the back door.

Chapayev in his armored car was waiting for Peter on the street.

Chapaev did not change at all, only his left hand hung on a black linen tape. The hand was bandaged, and in place of the little finger under the layers of gauze, a void was guessed.

The armored car began to move, and “soon the sands rustled and the waterfalls of Inner Mongolia rustled about.


Summary of the “Chapaev and Emptiness” of Pelevin