The Revenge of the Foxes Characters ë 2

Review The Revenge of the Foxes

The Revenge of the Foxes Characters ë 2 ä Moscow during the collapse of the Soviet system In a hospital young people awaiting heart operations and possible death live just for today with mischief making and even love affairs under the stringent gaze of the old matron Baba Nastya Here one of the patients a young Turkmen meets a Greek ComsomolUblication of some investigative articles about colossal ecological problems in Central Asia mostly caused by the overuse of pesticides needed for cotton production The conseuences of this were terrible and even resulted in the Aral Sea drying upThe regime in Turkmenistan declared Ak Welsapar a “public enemy” and the persecution that he faced began again with redoubled force There was a ban on publishing works written by him whilst his published books were confiscated from bookstores and libraries to be burnt To avoid unjust imprisonment and the persecution of his family Ak Welsapar eventually left Turkmenistan in 1993 He and his family have now been residents of Sweden since 1994 where he is a member of the Swedish Writers’ Association He has also been an honorary member of the International PEN Club since 1993 Ak Welsapar writes in Russian Turkmen and SwedishAk Welsapar has contributed articles to such jour. Who is not afraid of death Certainly Nazarli is the young protagonist of “The Revenge of the Foxes” by exiled Turkmen writer Ak Welsapar This is the story of how Nazarli battles with death and wins – even though in a frightening vision at the crux of the book he is on his knees and facing death from three men of the Fox clan with sharpened sabres They show no mercy to him the doomed last member of his own Goat Clan This vision places Nazarli within his Turkmen steppeland ancestry whereas in real life he is a lonely teenager far from his family and home seriously ill with a heart condition in a decaying Moscow hospital He waits in a ward with other youngsters for heart treatment and – perhaps – a life saving operation The world which surrounds him is autocratic and capricious are you on the operating list this week Are you taken off it Interchanges with staff and other patients offer little background or explanation of character and illustrate the randomness of life in an institution without the security of familial structures For Nazarli they are offset by vivid memories of girls in his childhood and the experience of illicit romance in the hospital Nazarli lies in bed and remembers his romantic encounters in the long hours after his operation where he hangs between life and death This life force love is what carries him forward and is at his core even when betrayed by the death of others Love is in direct opposition to the patient recovering in the next door bed an argumentative loudly snoring patient a “biorobot” with a mechanical heart The relentless grind of machinery of the modern age although it rescues some in the hospital through heart surgery is presented as a block to the life force and future At the end of the novel Nazarli stands with his aunt huddled against the cold waiting – again waiting – to cross the road outside the hospital and move to new life Against this are the memorable images of Nazarli’s Turkmen youth an age old way of life He does his chores riding a white ass in a country without water master of the ass yet also vulnerable to being thrown and trampled on as man governs nature but cannot control it The language is sinewy with strong memorable images summed up in the slippers of a dying patient lying under the bed or the bouuet of leaves gathered in Neskuchny Gardens smelling of swallows’ nests The translation by Richard Govett is energetic and lucidThe Revenge of the Foxes

Ak Welsapar ê 2 Characters

Nals and newspapers as Literaturnaya Gazeta Druzhba Narodov Soviet Culture The Washington Post and many others He is the author of than 20 books but he made his debut as the author of the poetry anthologies Which of Us will Dive Deepest 1982 and The First Drop 1983 His novel The Melon Head 1984 was awarded a prize in a Turkmen national literature competition In 2012 The Union of Writers of Russia awarded Ak Welsapar the Sergei Yesenin literary prize He also received the Nikolai Gogol prize for his book of short stories from the Writers’ Union of Ukraine in 2014Most of his novels are banned in Turkmenistan including to name but a few A Long Journey to Nearby 1988 This Darkness Is Brighter 1989 The Bent Sword Hanging on the Old Carpet 1990 Mulli Tahir 1992 The Cobra 2003 The Tale of Aypi 2012Ak Welsapar is still a proscribed writer in Turkmenistan and his name has been in the list of black listed writers since 1990. Earlier this week I posted this excerpt from The Revenge of the Foxes by Turkmen author Ak Welsapar author of than 20 novels including The Tale of Aypi which I read and reviewed in 2017 At the time of posting the excerpt I thought that the autumn leaves' failing uest for survival was a metaphor for the inevitable collapse of the Soviet Union and so it is but it is also about the way people will do whatever they can to stave off the possibility of deathThe novella is set in a hospital in Soviet Russia where young people are waiting their turn for heart surgery Nazarli is a frisky young Turkmen who is determined to live for the day make mischief and indulge himself with amorous adventures His companions on the ward are Bitya Slava Akhiliman and Anatoli and there is also an attractive nurse called Olga with whom Nazarli has a brief fling and a bossy old matron called Baba Nastya The hospital is dingy and unclean and they have to wait for what seems to be experimental heart surgery because the five year Soviet plan trains the necessary doctors in a different five year plan to the arrival of medical euipmentNazarli isn't happy in Ward 6 which is an allusion to a short story by Chekhov which forces a character to realise that suffering is not all in the mind and cannot be vanuished by a change in attitude The authorities in Nazarli's hospital seem to have the same unfeeling attitude because they tell him that if he puts in a reuest to transfer to a different cleaner ward he will have to re register and that will place him at the bottom of the waiting list again So it is surprising when he is abruptly transferred until he realises that he has been placed in the new ward to act as a translator for a Greek Comsomol boy called Apostolis He is a keen Stalinist though Stalin is long dead and Nazarli finds him 'robotic'To read the rest of my review please visit

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The Revenge of the FoxesMoscow during the collapse of the Soviet system In a hospital young people awaiting heart operations and possible death live just for today with mischief making and even love affairs under the stringent gaze of the old matron Baba Nastya Here one of the patients a young Turkmen meets a Greek Comsomol boy a Russian Stalinist with a ‘robotic’ heart and the lovely but tragic Mary To whom does the future belong – to the soulless robots or the poetical soulsAk Welsapar was born in 1956 in the former Soviet Republic of Turkmenistan He received his Master’s degree in Journalism from Lomonosov Moscow State University in 1979 In 1987 Ak Welsapar became a member of the Soviet Writers’ Association and received his second Master’s degree in Literary Theory from the Maxim Gorky Literature Institute in 1989In 1993 after spending a year under house arrest he was excluded from the Writers’ Association following the p. The Institute of Cardiovascular Surgery in Moscow in the last days of the Soviet Union The decaying institute specialises in the heart problems of young people The narrator Nazarli arrives from his native Turkmenistan and becomes part of the patient community He gradually gets to know some of the other patients all of whom seem to be there for an indefinite period as their operations are regularly cancelled or postponed Being young and hopeful none of them want to face the possibility of death and within the confines of the hospital make friendships form romances and enjoy as much as possible the life they have as they battle the seemingly arbitrary hospital rules Apart from these human stories we also get a glimpse into the Soviet health system Many of the patients have arrived via the back door by bribery or influence and foreign patients receive preferential treatment as the hospital aims to impress and make money We meet a young Greek Komsomol sent by the Friendship Society who has his place due to an attempt of USSR to extend its reach We learn how the five year plans have their impact on the Institute with the purchase of vital euipment in this plan but with staff only trained to use it in the next plan We get glimpses into the wider political arena with mention of an Israeli flag being hung out of a window and the reaction of an inmate “They don’t like it in our country swine damned dissidentstheir kind should be shot” Hardline communism dies hard But at its heart the novel is a moving tale of young people whose lives are overshadowed by their potential death and a portrait of life on the wards with its ups and downs hopes and disappointments seen through the eyes of young Nazarli as he faces his own trauma The author is from Turkmenistan although now in exile and he pays homage to his native land in Nazarli’s thoughts and dreams Overall the book is a compelling snapshot of six months in the life of a hospital and I very much enjoyed it