Like Welsh, Pelevin is also considered an A-list young 'now' author who has his literary finger on the heartbeat of the 18 to 35 year-old book reading demographic.
Psychedelic sure, but Pelevin doesn't even qualify as a poor man's Nabokov, and he is less a prophet of the cyber age than a morbidly witty chronicler of post-communist, monstrously capitalist urban Russia.
Tatarsky, the twenty-something genius protagonist in Babylon, realizes that art and mystery have died with the gray solitude and strange peace that existed under the Soviets, and decides to ditch his literary aspirations in favor of the crass, dangerous and lucrative world of the Moscow advertising industry.
Tatarsky infuses western ad concepts with traditional Russian themes like nationalism and anti-Semitism ("How long will we allow the Davidsons to ride off on our Harleys? Russia Awake!"), and Pelevin's writing peaks with the best of these parodies.
Unfortunately the book swells early and is plodding by the time it hits the fifty-yard line, leaving the second half a luke warm soup of skits, character sketches and directionless dialogue. But Pelevin sells window seats on flights through the collective unconscious of New Russia and its schizoid offspring, and if the food occasionally sucks, the visuals always make the ride.