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Contemporary World Literature: A Short Story from Uzbekistan

Contemporary World Literature: A Short Story from Uzbekistan

Contemporary World Literature- A Short Story from Uzbekistan-2Contemporary World Literature 

A Short Story from Uzbekistan

By Nodirabegim Ibrohimova

249a33d95685a2b687c478292e46b60d.0Nodirabegim Ibrokhimova was born in Fergana, Uzbekistan on 18.07.1989. She holds BA in International Journalism from the University of Foreign Languages in Uzbekistan and currently doing a Master program of Higher Literature at Alisher Navoi University. Her published books include “Yoningdagi baht” (Happiness next to you), “Zhodugar” (The witch), “Zulm va muhabbat”(The oppression and love). She is the winner of “Young Novelist – 2017” competition in Uzbekistan. Her stories have been published in countries such as Russia, Pakistan, Mexico, Peru, Ukraine, Bangladesh, India and Kazakhstan. She runs her own-established literary website www.nodirabegim.uz. 


The writer, who had already suffered one heart attack, was very well looked after. He was struck down by insidious cancer in the midst of summer. In his last moments, only a nurse stood by his side – the one who was an admirer of his work, the one who read his stories with rapture. Hence, she tried to stay close to her special patient longer than the others.

-Your wife is here. Shall I invite her in? – She asked.

The writer refused and turned his gaze to the door: waiting for someone. However, the children did not have time to say goodbye to him – when they came to the hospital to his father, he had already left this mortal world. Their painful grief was clear: he always remained not only a talented prose writer, but also a good father…

… And now the writer was sent off to his last journey. The coffin with the deceased, like a ship, sailed on the shoulders of people who came to say goodbye to the famous writer. From the photo, carved on the marble tombstone, a man was smiling sweetly. It was as if he was saying goodbye to all the pain that had accompanied him in recent years.

There were tears in the eyes of all present. Everyone tried to put flowers at the feet of the deceased. The writer’s last resting place became a sort of pilgrimage site for his admirers. Reciting his wonderful works, they sighed bitterly. After all, in every line was so much life philosophy, human pain, beautiful deep feelings. But even such a brilliant man was powerless against the disease.

One day, a stack of letters appeared on the writer’s grave.

-The letters that I wrote to you, but dared not to send… – with a deep sigh, said the stranger.

A month passed and readers began reading other books; a year later and for his family life went on. Only for one person nothing had changed: she never stopped visiting the writer’s grave every day, praying for the repose of his soul. Again and again she used to read his books, as if she were living in his works. The spirit of the writer began to visit her in dreams.

…The writer’s sixtieth birthday was held in the ceremonial hall of the Creative House. He had often been there: first as an amateur novelist, then as a devoted book lover, later he became a talented writer. A little more time passed, and he was already speaking from the podium, giving his word on literature. It was here that the presentation of his first book took place, and he received a standing ovation. However, with time fame and applause began to weigh on him, and he preferred to seclude himself away from the hustle and bustle of creativity. Works written in solitude penetrated to the very depths.

He received so many letters inspiring him with unfolding story lines. But among them was one particular letter…

…And today the writer’s wife brought several letters to this gala event, which she almost clutched to her heart. With trepidation she awaited her performance in front of a huge audience of famous writers, poets, and students who considered him their mentor, teacher, and simply admirers of her late husband’s work. The writer’s children sat on the front row, proud of their father. How nice to hear so many good words and reviews! How comforting to know that the blessed memory is alive!

– My late husband devoted his whole life to literature – she began her usual speech she gave in every interview for numerous publications. – He was not only a brilliant writer, but also a wonderful father and husband. His novels, written night after night, were read by his beloved people. I was constantly by his side: I was his critic, his first reader. And now nothing has changed in his office, even on his desk manuscripts, papers, books continue to lie. Time seems to have stopped. Everything is as it was when the writer was alive. Sometimes it seems to me the door is about to open and he enters to finish his next literary masterpiece…

At the end of her speech, the writer’s widow read out lines from letters from grateful readers. To the storm of applause and tears in her eyes, she returned to her place of honor.

– Ah, if all this attention and reverence had been given during the writer’s lifetime. We would have lived in peace and harmony. There would be no regrets and remorse today… she thought, and sighed bitterly.

Suddenly her gaze fell on a woman sitting at the door. Catching the stern and intense gaze of her rival, she covered her face with a handkerchief. The writer’s widow blushed, her heart ached. She was hurt and offended. She nervously clutched the letters in her hands, glanced in her direction one more time; no one was there anymore.

Calming down a little, she thought back to the events of the memorable evening. The unexpected meeting with the woman made her to remember that moment in her life…


-You write and write all the time! What’s the use of your writing! – said the woman, pointing her fingers at the manuscript the writer had been writing all night. – Do not you want to live in a beautiful house, drive your own car, to travel around the world? You just want to write and write. You don’t need anything but books!

She came close to the bookshelves and burst into tears:

– What can these precious books of yours do? You’re not even a member of the Writers’ Union! People much younger than you have been members for a long time. Even your student is honored, and reads his own poems from great podiums! Oh, dear!

– He is not my student! – He replied indifferently.

– And who came to our house? Didn’t you write him a review? Didn’t he beat you to publish his first book? And now he’s a member of the Writers’ Union! And he’s your student! – The woman wouldn’t let up.

– I wish him luck! – The man replied serenely, as well.

– What kind of person are you? Maybe you should apply for it too, eh? Why don’t you want the dacha in Durmen valley, the apartment you are entitled to? Why don’t you take advantage of the benefits and privileges accorded to writers? There, some even make a fortune through their talent! How many books have you written so far? Seven! – She shouted without waiting for her husband’s answer. – And how many books have you published? Only two! And did you get royalties for them? No! You see, he doesn’t write for the money. Then what’s all this for? What’s the point of all your writing? At least the editorial office would be paid properly. No!

It was as if the writer was not listening to his wife. He scratched the back of his head, crossed something out then wrote again.

-Yes, wait a minute! I have an ending to finish here… – said the husband calmly.

-No, answer my questions first! – The wife was resolute.

And then the writer lifted his head from the papers:

– I can’t use my gift for profit. Though who am I telling?! You will never understand it. If I wrote for material gain!!! No, no! It’s hard to imagine… If you want a luxurious house and a car, I’ll go to Russia tomorrow to work. I’ll work for three or four years and I’ll bring you that money. But, remember once and for all, I will never write works that smell of money! Do you understand me?

The writer was not in the least bit angry, which made the enraged woman calm down. She remembered the heart attack after another quarrel, which frightened her greatly. And really, what am I doing with him? After all, the children are still very young, and we are young. We’ll have a house and a car…

The writer didn’t sleep a wink that night. Couldn’t even write a line! He waited for the e-mail. It was now that he so needed those sincere messages that inspired him, gave him strength.

The writer never responded to these rare letters. But that did not stop the devoted reader from writing again and again. And so the notification of a new letter made the writer very happy. After all, he was in such need of a kind word and support.

“My dear writer”

Recently in one of the literary magazines I read your story – “The Living Man”. It touched me to the bottom of my heart. In the contents of your two books, which I have, there is no such a story. But I would say it is a wonderful story, equal in plot to a whole novel. You know, I saw myself in the main character. I sometimes too, watching around, cannot find living people. Are there any living people at all? It seems as if everyone’s heart is fading. I don’t doubt that you are a living person. You don’t know me, but I consider you my closest person. Please keep writing such lively stories. I wish you luck and inspiration!

Sincerely – A

The writer recalled “The Living Man,” which, after several returns, was finally printed. He remembered how he had written it for a whole week without leaving the house. How he had received a severe reprimand for it. How his wife, resentful of him, left with the children to her parents. It wasn’t their fault. The newspaper needs articles and the family needs attention. After all, they are also living people…

This time he decided to answer the letter.

“Dear A.

I read your letters all the time. These sincere reviews, wishes inspire me. Sometimes I want so much to abandon everything, but when I receive another letter from you, where you write that you are waiting for a new story from me, I again take up the pen…

He kept writing and writing. And in the end he ended up with a very long an emotional letter, driven by grief, sadness, and anxiety. The writer felt how each word made him feel lighter and brighter at heart. When he sent the letter, it was already brightening in the courtyard. The man closed his eyes and tried to relax. When he got back to work, there was a new e-mail.

And so began their correspondence.

Contemporary World Literature- A Short Story from Uzbekistan-1One day, while cleaning up her husband’s desk, his wife saw a notification on the monitor that a new letter had arrived. When she opened the mail, she saw many letters sent from almost the same person.

My dear writer

In the last letter you sent a brief plot of your new novel. And you know, I don’t agree about the image of the main character. You describe a woman who lost her husband and found solace in books as a beautiful woman. She can’t be! A woman who has lost her strong and beloved shoulder will never be beautiful. She is like a wilted flower without a caring gardener. The meaning of her life is books. And so it would be wiser to make a man fall in love not with her outer beauty but with her inner beauty. And then, love at first sight, not very convincing. Reconsider that point. If you want, I’ll help you create a psychological portrait of the main character.

By the way, I work in that library you frequently visit. I’ve seen you there many times, but I didn’t dare to approach you. But next time I will come to meet you. And I will help you with my sketches. It is very nice that you do not leave my opinion without attention.

Sincerely – A

The woman deleted the new letter and quietly walked to the kitchen. She watched her husband, who was drinking his coffee thoughtfully. He did not have that decadent mood that had not left him lately. And in his eyes the woman noticed a sparkle. Everything is clear…

-I’m going to see my sister – she said spontaneously.

-Is everything all right? Is something wrong? – He asked calmly.

-Yes, she’s a little sick. I’ll see her and come back.

The woman went outside. She walked in the direction of the library, which was nearby. It was Sunday. And so she found the janitor and asked about the woman whose name began with the letter A.

It turned out that there was only one woman working in the library whose name began with A. Her rival’s name was Amina. The eager librarian answered all her questions about Amina – about the death of her husband; that she had worked in the library for a long time, that she had no children and that she read a lot of books, even about what she ate for lunch…

It’s the morning of a new week. Amina, serving readers, saw a strange woman in front of her. Her hateful look made her flinch.

-If you don’t quit your job today and stop writing to my husband, I will shame you into the world!

Amina looked around in horror; the hall was full of people. The director was there, explaining something to someone. A little farther along, the female employees were stacking new books in a friendly fashion. Fear of embarrassment in front of people rendered the woman speechless. She whispered faintly:


-So that tomorrow even your sighting will not be here! And stop hanging on my husband! – The woman hissed like a snake and with a haughty look left the lecture-room.

The next day, Amina resigned from the library. The writer was again overcome by sadness and melancholy. His wife was glad that her husband now belonged only to her. But she was very wrong…

It’s been a while. A new novel by the writer was published. On the front page was written: “Dedicated to my dear friend A”. His wife, after reading the unexpected confession, was upset. Her husband did not react in any way, but only sighed deeply at his wife’s questioning gaze.

I wonder if Amina has read this book.


While life was scrolling through the memory like a tape, it was time for the anniversary party to end. The famous writer’s wife and children were given a grand tribute. Soon his portrait on the wall in the ceremonial hall would be replaced by a portrait of another writer. Only one person watched the raucous applause, listened to the high-pitched words, the gift of books through the window. As she left the building, she turned back once more.

She was, as always, mentally talking to her favorite writer…

“My dear writer, it seems to me that there is no living person around…”

Clutching the disheveled book to her chest, she hurried to the subway station.