Dictionary of the Khazars (Female Edition)

Milorad Pavic

no description yet..

status Copy #1 (1429): in
genre Literature and Fiction » Magical Realism
publisher Vintage
publish date October 28, 1989
popularity checked out 8 time(s)


  • By Bill Svoboda -

    There is good deal of real history as the foundation to this book. There really were Khazars, living in the area around/between the Black & Caspian sea. They really did convert to Judaism. There are numerous other details which are historical. Milorad Pavic builds on/with these factualities, distorting and adding fantastic, magical and bizzare elements. The structure/ “plot” is unusual enough-but there are additional weird details on every page-in fact almost every sentence.A room ‘smelled like a rancid keyhole”. The capture of a fortress “on a hill where it never rained” in announced by burning pigeons falling from the sky. A dictionary is printed “with poisonous printers dye” which one of the owners of the dictionary defeats by never reading more than 4 pages at a time. Travellers leave behind “decaying gazes, iron rings with keys in the ear,paths strewn with straw knotted by the beaks of birds, wooden spoons that smoke, and forks made of spoons.” The copy of Dictionary Of The Khazars the Alt. Library owns is the “female edition”.. there is also a male edition which is largely identical. Milorad Pavic specified that there should NOT be both male and female editions in the same collection because “it would be too much like incest”. There was something very “European” about this book-and one of the themes running throughout is the relationship/rivalry between the Islamic, Christianity, and Judaism. A very strange and fantastical book.

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