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Farewell, Aylis: A Non-Traditional Novel in Three Works (Central Asian Literatures in Translation) Paperback – June 5, 2019
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The three novellas of Farewell, Aylis take place over decades of transition in a country that rather resembles modern-day Azerbaijan.
In Yemen, a Soviet traveler takes an afternoon stroll and finds himself suspected of defecting to America. In Stone Dreams, an actor explores the limits of one man’s ability to live a moral life amid conditions of sociopolitical upheaval, ethnic cleansing, and petty professional intrigue. In A Fantastical Traffic Jam, those who serve the aging leader of a corrupt, oil-rich country scheme to stay alive.
Farewell, Aylis, a new essay by the author that reflects on the political firestorm surrounding these novellas and his current situation as a prisoner of conscience in Azerbaijan, was commissioned especially for this Academic Studies Press edition.
"Chalk" by Bill Thomson
A rainy day. Three kids in a park. A dinosaur spring rider. A bag of chalk. The kids begin to draw…and then…magic! | Learn more
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“Reading Farewell, Aylis is like sitting by the fire at night with the older men of the village and listening to their stories, which in truth are the oral history of a people and a region, which in truth could turn out to be prophecies of our own lives. … In [the essay Farewell, Aylis, Aylisli] writes, ‘And I want to serve my motherland not as a patriot but as a writer.’ And that is what he has done with these stories, making him perhaps the true patriot who does what is truly needed for his country and not what pleases and flatters. One, however, needs to read him first and foremost as a writer and be enamored of the allure of his storytelling.” —Poupeh Missaghi, Asymptote-- Poupeh Missaghi ― Asymptote
“Working from Russian translations of the original Azeri (two by the author himself), Young has given great attention to Aylisli’s unique style that combines elements of socialist realism, Middle Eastern and Persian tales, and social satire. Each piece is set in a different time and place and is populated by different protagonists, yet a continuity exists across the whole. What unites these four works is their engagement with historic trauma and the way hushed-up violence and wrongdoing are transmitted through generations, destroying not only individual lives but also the character of the village, region, and country that guilty people inhabit. … A writer, Aylisli teaches us, has no allegiances to a country, an ethnicity, a religion, not even to his own birthplace. ‘But he’s always responsible for the moral appearance of his own people, for the spiritual state of his own fellow citizens.’ And this writer has found the spiritual state of his fellow citizens to be in a dire condition. … As Farewell, Aylis concludes, it leaves a reader with a sense that an individual voice trying to resist the culture of violence is powerless against the status quo; nonetheless, Aylisli’s voice feels necessary and urgent.” —Olga Zilberbourg, The Common-- Olga Zilberbourg ― The Common
“In the fall of 2011 Akram Aylisli, Azerbaijan’s most important writer, turned in a manuscript that he’d been afraid to publish for six years—this book [Stone Dreams]. … The book had the effect of a bomb exploding. Aylisli was the first Turkic-language writer to write a novel about the Armenian genocide that was deep, personal, and full of suffering. The book allowed thousands of Azeris and Armenians to see one another sympathetically, without hatred. And a huge number of people on both sides are grateful to Aylisli for that.” —Shura Burtin, Russian journalist
- Publisher : Academic Studies Press; Reprint edition (June 5, 2019)
- Language : English
- Paperback : 338 pages
- ISBN-10 : 1644690845
- ISBN-13 : 978-1644690840
- Item Weight : 0.035 ounces
- Dimensions : 6 x 0.76 x 9 inches
- Best Sellers Rank: #2,170,163 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
- #5,178 in Political Fiction (Books)
- #25,242 in Contemporary Literature & Fiction
- #88,996 in Literary Fiction (Books)
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The epilogue to the book is also very good. It gives insight into the author and that in some ways he regrets his own failure to stand up in the 1990 pogroms. He regrets ignoring the fear of an Armenian colleague of his. In some ways this book is a love letter to his hometown and how he remembered it, but also a recognition (thus the title of this volume) that it does not exist anymore. The book is truly heart wrenching, but it is a must read for anyone interested in the Caucuses.
There are several fascinating components from a literary standpoint, such as the degree to which the protagonist is autobiographical; the extent to which the author intended that the last Armenian woman in the city to actually be a representation of the city itself. Either way the book is excellent.
This book is special, because Aylisli is an Azeri Muslim and was Azerbaijan's most important novelist. I say was, because after the publication of Stone Dreams Aylisli was stripped of his honors, his books were burned, and he was put under house arrest. His crime?? Empathy. Daring to make common cause in his imagination - in his literature - with the Armenian "enemy". "Stone Dreams" bleeds, it is a tragic lament of a man who recognizes what hate has done to his society, and how while the stoking of that hate might be good for politics, it represents only lasting arm to the civilizational aspirations of his co-citizens.
Stone Dreams is an extraordinary short story -- a novel to die for.