The Dictionary of the Khazars
November 20, 2005 1:53 AM   Subscribe

The Dictionary of the Khazars "For all its delights, for all the structural novelty and the comic inventiveness of the imagery, it must be said there is something rather light and airy about this book. It is fun to chase down all the linkages between entries; but as they are conjoined more by the bubbling repetition of motifs and the requirements of the formal devices than by real narrative event or development, it is, as Mr. Pavic himself suggests, a bit like working a crossword puzzle."
posted by dhruva (9 comments total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
Does that html-zation have the alternate male and female paragraphs in that one section? For that matter, I don't even remember which entry that paragraph occurs in...but I do remember loving the book, but being upset when I couldn't track down the other version.
posted by juv3nal at 2:39 AM on November 20, 2005

aw crud. just realized the "book" link has both passages. apologies.
posted by juv3nal at 2:40 AM on November 20, 2005

Obligatory link to the comment languagehat made about the book and its roots in Serbian whininess.
posted by thatwhichfalls at 2:43 AM on November 20, 2005

fantastic book! (I've got the male version)
posted by moonbird at 4:56 AM on November 20, 2005

What a wonderful post. Thank you, dhruva.
posted by maryh at 6:35 AM on November 20, 2005

I gotta admit I didn't/couldn't finish it. I like cryptic crosswords as much as anyone, but I guess I like "real narrative development" better.
posted by mrgrimm at 8:54 AM on November 20, 2005

I read the book a long time ago and really liked it.

Now after reading what languagehat had to say I feel so dirty and used... (ew.)
posted by Opposite George at 9:52 AM on November 20, 2005

Had the same experience as mrgrimm. I think I stopped reading Eastern European literature (I was on a kick for a while) shortly thereafter.
posted by enakaja at 10:28 AM on November 20, 2005

Problem is, the book does have narrative development, if you teach yourself, as you read it, how to look for it properly.

But in the end, the book is on one level just a schtick aimed at the payoff/punchline intent of that single paragraph which differs between the male and female versions of the book.

Is he even still writing? Is he writing but they stopped doing English translations? The last book I have of his is Lost Love in Constantinople.
posted by theonetruebix at 1:08 PM on November 20, 2005

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