When the characters come to life
In any language and anywhere in the world, with or without words, people cry the same, smile the same, hurt the same, hate and love the same.
Florentina Loredana, a Romanian writer, says in Foreword of Uzbek author Sherzod Artikov’s book titled ‘The Book of Garcia Marquez’, being released in India.
One of the great benefits that the internet has brought me is being able to “meet” people (in virtual space) with whom, otherwise, I would never have crossed paths with. Of these people, the most valuable are the writers, because by reading their work, I was able to better understand the essence of their being (How else can you get to know a person better than through his feelings and thoughts?). And among the foreign writers, the closest to me is the young Uzbek prose writer Sherzod Artikov, for the fact that, translating his texts into Romanian, I was able to understand them much better. It all started like a play, at his initiative, and, finally, we hope that it will materialize in a book published in Romania. Probably the same book we’re talking about here that will appear in the fabulous India.
Being, in my turn, a prose writer, as a translator, I had to give up the natural tendency to put my stylistic imprint on his texts, which was not very difficult, precisely because Sherzod Artikov’s literary style is somewhat in line with that approached by me: quite laconic, but which conveys a huge feeling in a few words. In addition, being written in the first person, all this experience has a much greater impact on the reader and an advanced note of veracity.
His characters are alive, you feel like you can touch them. The relationship between them and the narrator is a friendly one, whether it’s the ones we like or the ones we like the least. The construction of the text is an interesting one, almost cinematic. The narration begins with a trivial fact (a family meal, a car trip, waking up in the morning, describing a landscape, a subway trip to work, etc.) and then takes you from close to close to the unsuspected depths of the human soul, sometimes even to serious things that have happened in the past, in history, such as the prose “The spring day”, one of my favorites. The construction is round, everything seems to close in a circle, and the end leaves you thinking and predisposes you to philosophy or meditation on the human condition.
Reading Sherzod Artikov’s prose, it’s hard to have a favorite character, because each of them has something to say in their own way: the father who was in the concentration camp and was obsessed with not scattering any crumbs of bread, the failed actor who lives in an illusion even in his old age, the naive young woman who borrows books or the man who, without realizing it and without understanding why, misses her when she happens to be late with the return of Marquez’s book, the student he met by chance in Berlin, about whom the narrator finds out that she came from his grandparents’ country, the sick father who misses his pigeons, the piano student who loves her teacher so much that she prefers to risk a smaller prize in a competition, relying on a composition by the teacher, instead of the much more famous Beethoven, whom she performed so well, the cousin became estranged from her country, who, although she is doing well in the country of adoption, was left with the nostalgia of her native places.
All these characters are drawn in a few but firm strokes, and in this I think lies the great art of the writer. In addition, the characters have a common denominator, no matter how they are called and what conditions they evolve in: the narrator-character and his empathy with each of them. But what essentially makes the difference between good and mediocre prose, between literature and an ordinary story, is the emotion that runs through the text and what it changes in the reader during or after reading. And Sherzod Artikov’s prose is full of emotion, although the literary means he uses are rather laconic discourse and “stingy” description. But I think that’s where the charm of his prose lies: the characters speak more by silence than in words. The emotion is transmitted to the maximum, and the life lesson that emerges creates the feeling that you find out about it for the first time.
I warmly recommend this book that takes you, geographically, through other worlds, but that always brings you to a place: home. At home means both the homeland and the “home of the soul”, namely where there are no differences between people, but only similarities: In any language and anywhere in the world, with or without words, people cry the same, smile the same, hurt the same, hate and love the same. Just to remind you this more often, read my friend Sherzod Artikov’s book!
Florentina Loredana Dalian, born on March 29, 1968 in Bucharest, is a Romanian writer whose main profession is chemical engineer. She is also a member of the Professional Journalists Union from Romania and other Cultural Associations. She writes prose, poetry and plays and is published in different literary magazines. She has published eleven books: seven of short prose, two novels and two of poetry – ‘Miss Nobody’ and ‘Isle’.