The Dictionary of the Khazars (International Writers) Paperback – 28 Jun 1990
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"All its delights...the structural novelty and the comic inventiveness of the imagery...[are] an ebullient and generous celebration of the reading experience."
-- The New York Times Book Review
"As with Borges or Garcia Marquez...[Pavic] knows how to support his textual legerdemain with superb portrait miniatures and entrancing anecdotes." -- Washington Post Book World
Translated from the Serbo-Croatian
by Christina Pribicevic-Zoric --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.
From the Inside Flap
A national bestseller, Dictionary of the Khazars was cited by The New York Times Book Review as one of the best books of the year. Written in two versions, male and female (both available in Vintage International), which are identical save for seventeen crucial lines, Dictionary is the imaginary book of knowledge of the Khazars, a people who flourished somewhere beyond Transylvania between the seventh and ninth centuries. Eschewing conventional narrative and plot, this lexicon novel combines the dictionaries of the world's three major religions with entries that leap between past and future, featuring three unruly wise men, a book printed in poison ink, suicide by mirrors, a chimerical princess, a sect of priests who can infiltrate one's dreams, romances between the living and the dead, and much more. --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.
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Top Customer Reviews
But M Pavic added an additional layer (or rather 3) of complexity to thisstructure: you see, this book is not one dictionary but three - aChristian, a Hebrew and a Muslim version. Each 'book' recounts the taleof the conversion of the Khazars, but approaches the story from theirdifferent viewpoint.
And this adds to the beauty of this book: You can read it 'diagonally' -i.e. read about a person or event (say Princess Ateh) in the Christianversion, then go to the Hebrew and see what they say about her, and thenon to the Muslim. The same story is often slanted subtly in each version- it's very engaging and very clever.
But this book is not just about gimmicks (because, face it, that's allthis dictionary structure really is). Pavic is a very good writer andevery sentence is sculpted, not a word is out of place. And with theKhazars he has (re)constructed a complete world. And it's a world I'mglad I visited.
One final word of warning: This is no holiday book, an easy airportlounge book. It is serious and dense and you have to wrestle its juicefrom it. The author is perhaps half-serious when he warns in theintroduction that readers have died or gone mad from attempting thisbook.
Still reading? Good. If I haven't scared you off, welcome to the worldof the Khazars. Enjoy.
"The author advises the reader not to tackle this book unless he absolutely has to. And if he does touch it, let it be on days when he feels that his mind and sense of caution probe deeper than usual, and let him read it the way he catches "leap fever", an illness that skips over every other day and strikes only on feminine days of the week."
Oh, and take note: there's a male version of the book and a female version of the book...
So, in short, if you like your entertainment to be cerebral, it's one for you.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
I believe this it must read book. Not only unusual but I would call it unic.
I found it by accident & after open just can't put it down. Amazing
Read it! Cambridge To Baghdad via Algeria and March. It's all in there. This book will take you anywhere. Have a dream. It WILL be caught on the airwaves.Published on 23 Dec. 2003 by Julie A Deloughery