The Tale of Aypi

An impoverished pair, Araz and his wife Ay-Bebek, lie in bed arguing. Soon they must leave their village – their old village on the shores of the Caspian Sea. How very topical is this tale of the disruption of ordinary lives, of quarrels and corrupt governments. Misery abounds and there are ghosts about. Yet human determination survives.
Does this sound familiar? What is strikingly unfamiliar is that this remarkable novel, where centuries seem to roll back into desert, is the first novel ever to emerge from Turkmenistan. Having lived for a while in that beautiful, harsh land, I can swear by the brilliant atmosphere of this epic tale, and advise all readers to experience it for themselves.

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Death of the Snake Catcher

In the story Death of the Snake Catcher, an old snake catcher meets one on one with a giant cobra in the heart of the desert. In the dialogue between them the author unveils the age-old interdependence of Man and untamed nature, where the fear and mistrust of the strong and the hopes and apprehensions of the weak change places but co-exist as ever.  Egyptian night of fear, in which a boy goes to an Eastern bazaar and falls into the clutches of depraved forces, is created in the writer’s characteristic style of magical realism, while the novella Altynai celebrates first love, radiant and sad, pure as virgin snow.

Now mythical, now lyrical, Welsapar’s characters face life’s injustice with a surprising optimism and fortitude. The intense Asiatic colour not only of nature but of human feelings and relationships, is expressed by the author in striking, expressive language making the reader unable to close the book until the last page.

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