CHARACTERS The Dead Lake ´ E-book, or Kindle E-pub

SUMMARY The Dead Lake

A haunting Russian tale about the environmental legacy of the The Dead PDFEPUB or Cold War Yerzhan grows up in a remote part of Kazakhstan where the Soviets tests atomic weapons As a young boy he falls in love with the neighbour's daughter and one evening to impress her he div. A story told during a train journey thorough the vast steppes of Kazakhstan by a violinist who relates his life in a small village near a nuclear test site simply referred to as The Zone that had dramatic conseuences in his life Hamid Ismailov mentions that for forty years during the cold war in that populated region the Semipalatinsk Nuclear Test Site conducted nuclear explosions both atmospheric and underground As a result the twenty seven year old Yerzhan s growth was affected and he looked like a little boy The novella is centered in the destiny of two families with a similar past tied together by circumstances that we learn as the story unfolds Yerzhan a normal looking boy shows incredible musical talent at an early age His grandfather teaches him to play the lute like dombra and his uncle gives him a violin and encourages him to take lessons They both travel to a neighboring town where Petko a Bulgarian violinist who had studied at the Moscow Conservatory with the legendary David Oistrakh becomes his teacher When uncle Shaken proclaims that his talented nephew will go to the conservatory Yerzhan is terrified Did they want to conserve him Like fruit in a jam and cucumbers in brine At seven he entered school which meant he had to walk every day eight kilometers from his town and back During a trip with his class they visited The Zone and stopped at The Dead Lake Because of its calm waters the children thought it looked like a fairy tale lake but they were strictly forbidden to drink the water or even touch it Yerzhan took his clothes off and entered the lake to the astonished eyes of his classmates The narrator goes back and forth between Yerzhan s story and the train ride describing the long grassland when his companion is asleep The trembling earth as an ominous presence leads always to The Zone and the central place it holds in the village its people and Yerzhan s fate

SUMMARY ↠ E-book, or Kindle E-pub ¹ Hamid Ismailov

The Dead Lake

Es into a forbidden lake The radio active water changes Yerzhan He will never grow into a man While the girl he loves becomes a beautiful woman'Like a Grimm's Fairy tale this story transforms an innermost fear into an outward reality We witness a prepubescent boy's secret terr. Dec 2014 The joy of the steppe the joy of music and the joy of childhood always coexisted in Yerzhan with the anticipation of that inescapable terrible abominable thing that came as a rumbling and a trembling and then a swirling sweeping tornado from the ZoneTwo families still living the ways of ancient Kazakh culture coexist alongside Soviet nuclear testing one son a musical prodigy I found the themes and the telling enthralling and this is by far the best of the Peirene novellas I ve readThe others to one extent or another had that bloodless brittleness of style characteristic of much Eng lang literary fiction and although they are pretty good took many times longer to read than the concept two hour books to be devoured in a single sitting which is one of the press s ad straplines By contrast The Dead Lake feels expansive and relaxed Dissident authors have acuired among some readers a reputation for being dreary Ismailov s work is banned in Uzbekistan he now works for the BBC World Service but this was like being told a fascinating secret Or rather a traveller s tale from a place few Brits ever go This takes the form of a nested narrative the narrator meeting the violinist Yerzhan as he sells local ayran a yoghurt drink on his train Yerzhan still looks like a twelve year old boy although he is 27 he stopped growing and ageing after he walked into a lake near the nuclear testing facilityBut the book is not only the story of that it is of his life from birth Modernity is always present in a way for he lives with his grandfather who is the guard of a rural railway point but the grandmothers as their predecessors must have done for thousands of years groom children for lice and tell stories of Central Asian folklore such as Gesar Horses are an essential part of every day life Events such as nuclear explosions are framed in a subtly mythological way which gives the feeling of a folkloric explanation yet does not explicitly exclude the scientific nightmares of little silver planes suddenly turning into iron eagles and diving at him as if he were a fox cub running across the steppe unable to find a burrow or any kind of refuge from the rumbling or the darkening sky or the new sun rising in the black sky or the mushroomThe story of Yerzhan s musical genius also addresses in detail a wondering I had mentioned in this review of The Kalevala about how things may have been for those of exceptional talent in both ancient and remote rural communities and modern less developed areas Of his own accord as little than a toddler he picks up his grandfather s dombra and copies what he s heard His talent doesn t preclude his later being a fan of pop stars like Red Elvis Dean Reed whom he only hears about via his violin teacher a dodgy Bulgarian who s been exiled to a building site some miles distantThe account of how cut off from his peers he feels due to his failure to grow was beautifully told and lump in the throat sadThe final chapter includes a metafictional playing with different endings but it never feels forced It is simply the narrator wondering about gaps in Yerzhan s story told like a traditional steppe bard just as you might speculate about an interesting person you d met briefly There are if you wish allegories evidently to be found here but if you like a folk influenced story that does not spare the grit this is a wonderful book on its own merits

Hamid Ismailov ¹ 9 CHARACTERS

Or of not growing up into a man We also wander in a beautiful fierce landscape unlike any other we find in Western Literature And by the end of Yerzhan's tale we are awe struck by our human resilience in the face of catastrophic man made follies' Meike Ziervogel Peirene Press.. Hauntingly beautiful writing even when reporting the horrific


10 thoughts on “The Dead Lake

  1. says:

    A story told during a train journey thorough the vast steppes of Kazakhstan by a violinist who relates his life in a small

  2. says:

    Whilst on a train journey across Kazakhstan the narrator meets Yerzhan a twenty seven year old itinerant peddler and virtuoso violinist who strangely has the looks and build of a boy of twelve years After overcoming his init

  3. says:

    Hamid Ismailov’s The Dead Lake is the first in Peirene's Coming of Age Towards Identity series It was first published in Russia in 2011 and as with all of the Peirene titles this is its first translation into English Andrew Bromfield has done a marvellous job in this respect and it goes without saying that the book itsel

  4. says:

    Ominous and timely when you think about our own man who never grew up's plans to destroy our water

  5. says:

    This was an impressive tale of a young boy and his family living next to the railway station and a nuclear bomb testing areaI was drawn in by the narration trying to solve the mystery of the young man's history and the style of the narration

  6. says:

    Dec 2014 The joy of the steppe the joy of music and the joy of childhood always coexisted in Yerzhan with the anticipation of that i

  7. says:

    An astonishing tale tinged with sadnessrecounted by Yerzhan to a stranger on a train journey that is in part imagined by the listenerYerzhan grows up at a railway siding where two families live their lives intertwined than appears on the surface Every so often the ground shakes another sun rises and everything is still T

  8. says:

    This is an astonishing novella which at 122 pages is full of lyricism and poetry traditional tales music and the modern day horror of nuclear testing An intro tells the reader that from 1949 to 1989 468 nuclear explosions were tested in a test site in the Kazakh steppes This story tells of Yerzhan a 27 year old man who looks like a 12 year ol

  9. says:

    Hauntingly beautiful writing even when reporting the horrific

  10. says:

    In a Zweig like framing device the story is told in the course of a train journey through Kazakhstan The story involves a boy growing up in an isolated location close to a Soviet nuclear testing site and the effect this has on him and his family as they nevertheless continue with their lives schooling friendship musical talent farm