published by Herfordshire Press 2013
A Kyrgyz science fiction novel written in the Soviet era and only published in the UK in 2013 is something of an anomaly, particularly as it is published by a relatively obscure publisher which specialises in publishing literature from the Former Soviet Union in English and English literature in Central Asian languages. Anyway, we can be grateful for an interesting venture and an interesting book, which we also certainly would not otherwise have heard of.
The story is set in Kyrgyzstan during the Soviet era. Melis is a young Kyrgyz poet attending the New Talent Literature Festival. He is to read his poem but the reading starts with a poem by another new talent, Rena. Melis is particularly impressed with her reading, partially because of the quality of the poem, partially because she mentions the edelweiss in her poem and mainly because he is clearly attracted to her. For him and his people, the edelweiss is the soul of the mountain. It is a flower found only in the highest parts of the mountain range and difficult to get. Indeed, his poem is about the flower. After the reading Rena seems to go off with a group of rowdy poets, while Melis goes off on his own. On the road, he trips up and it is Rena who suddenly appears to rescue him. They go off to a restaurant where the rowdy poets are gathered and there is an exchange between the two groups, which results in a fight. Melis and Rena leave but the poets follow. Melis, who is a wrestling champion, easily defeats the four drunken poets and then has them arrested by a police friend. The next day, he bails them out and the six become firm friends.
9 in stock