Omon Ra has absorbed all the merits inherent in Pelevin’s works: unpredictable plot, deep meaning and originality of the symbolism. This novel, like most Pelevin books, leaves the reader with a wide field for finding interpretations.
Omon Ra is the story of the Soviet boy Omone Krivomazov, who dreamed of the sky from childhood, who entered the flight school, and then got into a squad of cosmonauts preparing to fly to the moon. But do not forget that the author of this work is the conceptualist and postmodernist Victor Pelevin, which means that everything is not so simple. Moreover, everything is very, very difficult.
As already mentioned above, you can interpret this novel in different ways. In my opinion, one of the tasks that Pelevin set for himself when writing this work was an attempt to expose the totalitarian system that existed in the Soviet Union. The cosmos, which is central to the novel, is communism.
Omon’s childhood goes on in space, filled to the brim with various cosmic symbols: the Kosmos cinema, a metal rocket standing on a tapered column of titanium smoke, films and songs about pilots, a mosaic on the pavilion wall that portrayed an astronaut in open space, the Rocket lawn pioneer camp. All this is very reminiscent of the ubiquitous masterpieces of Soviet agitprop, promising a brighter future.
Hero-narrator Omon Ra understands that peace and freedom on earth can not be achieved:
One of the key to understanding the novel of the moments is an episode with a cardboard starship hanging in the dining room of a pioneer camp. Omon and his friend Mitek decided to find out if there was anyone inside him or not. It turned out that there was a plasticine man. When the rocket was being made, the little man began with this. They were blinded, put on a chair and tightly clasped cardboard on all sides. But the most interesting thing is that there was no door. Outside, the hatch is drawn, and from the inside in its place is a wall with some dials. The lack of a door, a closed space pasted with cardboard – all this involuntarily causes an association with a totalitarian system that deprived a person of freedom. Also in the camp of Rocket there was another important episode. Omon, creeping in a gas mask along a long corridor, comes to interesting conclusions: After a few meters my tears dried up, and I began frantically searching for some idea that would give me the strength to creep farther, because there was already a little fear of the leader. Analogy arises by itself: a thought giving strength to crawl is communism invented for Soviet people living in terrible conditions (creeping in a gas mask), in case the punitive system (counselor) stops scare them.
Pelevin often works deceived expectations, – writes about his work, Andrei Nemzer. Indeed, this technique is also used in the Life of Insects, where heroes are transformed into humans, insects, and Yellow Arrow, in which only a few pages it becomes clear that the action takes place on the train, and of course in Omona Ra. This novel unfolds to the last pages as a story about mystification: the Soviet government deceives its people and the world community by launching ships into a very peculiar automatic traction into space, but eventually it turns out that even not into space, huge efforts are being made to create the victim has the impression that she was on the moon. So why does the state need all this? Lieutenant Colonel of the school. Meresyeva says that we are preparing not just pilots, but first of all real people. A person ready to perform a feat, even if invisible, according to Urchagin, is necessary for the country, since it nourishes its main force. The state in Omonia Ra is a grand mystical sham construction due to all-pervasive deception, where all facets of human individuality are blurred, and the individual is thought of as the unit of the universal, fuel necessary for the banner of victorious socialism to rise on the distant moon.
An important role in the novel is played by music. It is no coincidence that several pages are devoted to the dialogue between Omon and Dima Matyushevich about the Pink Floyd group. OVERHEAD THE ALBATROS was written by Dima on a sheet of paper, which he hung over his bunk. These lines are taken from the song Echoes, which can serve as an audio track to the entire book. Loneliness and despair are rooted in the music of Pink Floyd. The image of a lonely bird flying over a huge ocean, echoes the plot of the book.
The composition of the work is interesting. The whole novel shows the growth of Omon Ra. It can be divided into four parts. The end of each of them is marked by the appearance of soup with pasta asterisks, chicken with rice and compote. The initiation of Omon ends with the fact that he is chosen from the Lunokhod (renouncing the dream of communism), having understood the essence of the totalitarian system. But the final still remains open, which is typical of Pelevin’s work: However, it was necessary to decide where to go. I looked up at the route chart hanging on the wall next to the stop-cock, and began to see exactly where on the red line I am.
What will Omon Ra choose: click on the stopcock or just change the route? Pelevin does not give an answer.