Russian author Viktor Pelevin.

Viktor Pelevin

Born in Moscow a month after the Cuban Missile Crisis began in 1962, Viktor Pelevin grew up on an army base, with an officer for a father and an economist for a mother. Publishing his first novel, Omon Ra, in 1993 and later emerging as a leading post-Soviet novelist, Pelevin was once telephoned by an Orthodox priest who asked him why he, unlike Leo Tolstoy, had neglected Christianity. “I told him I hadn’t neglected my Christianity,” Pelevin recalled. “I grew up in an atheist country!”

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