Saturday, December 28, 2019

Review: The Devils’ Dance

The Devils’ Dance The Devils’ Dance by Hamid Ismailov
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

The Devil's Dance by Hamid Ismailov was a challenging read for a number of reasons. It is a story within a story, of the historical 19th Uzbek female poet who is forcibly married to three Khans in a row, as told by Abdulla Qordiriy, an Uzbek writer who has been imprisoned in a Soviet (NKVD) facility in 1938.

This is a translated novel, translated from the Uzbek which the translator isn't trained in, but the Soviet translation was too full of problems (his afterword was fascinating!) There is poetry on almost every page, also translated, and most assuredly full of layers of meaning that I grasped only some of the time.

Just reading it, dense prose and long chapters, proved a challenge. But also the way violent acts are mentioned in passing can get hard to deal with as a reader, the violence against women but also the mind games in the prison.

But I can now say I have read a novel from Uzbekistan, and this translation won a major translation award. It must have been quite the feat.

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