Suddeutsche Zeitung: „The Game of Hundred Leaves” is even more dense than the powerful „Book of Whispers”!

26 ianuarie 2017. Suddeutsche Zeitung: „Jocul celor o sută de frunze” este chiar mai densă decât puternica poveste a „Cărții șoaptelor!”


Traducerea in limba engleză:

The revenge of the shadows


Varujan Vosganian’s new novel “Das Spiel der hundert Blätter” (“The Game of One Hundred Leaves”) is a skilful blend of feisty grotesque and concrete politics. He tells of revenge and self-assertion in Romania.

By Hans-Peter Kunisch

Tili has a special job. He is a puppet name. He closes his eyes, then he opens them again, sees the new doll, which the puppeteer holds up, and tells him what to say. Tili only works “one hour a day, when the sun is at noon, and the light that flows in from all directions at the same time did not allow any thing to cast shadows.” Tili had asked for it. “Otherwise I can not work … The shadows hide the core of things, and the electric light dries them out.” The names do not have to be beautiful, just fit. “Krummerjan,” says Tili. The doll maker bends the doll slightly more straight. “Krummerjan,” Tili still says. When “lines follow you,” he says, “they are crooked.”


Here a mixture of lazy grotesque and politics succeeds

In the summer of 2013 Varujan Vosganian’s Romanian-Armenian family epic “The Book of Whispering” appeared in German with great success. The details of the author refer mainly to the fact that Vosganian, who was born in Craiova in 1958, was from 2006 to 2008 Romanian Finance and Economy Minister. From 2012 to 2013 he was Minister of Trade and Industry. He did not mention the fact that he had worked for a long time. The economist and simple parliamentary deputy debuted in 1994 with a collection of poems, further books, including two lyric volumes, followed.



Literary even more dense than his predecessor is Varujan Vosganian’s second novel “The Game of the Hundred Leaves”. (Photo: AFP)

Vosganian’s new novel “The Game of One Hundred Leaves”, published in the Romanian original in 2013, is literally woven even more densely than the powerful “book of whispers”, which was also the attempt of an Armenian, the contemporary misery of his people Known. “The Game of One Hundred Leaves” takes little care of any purpose. This begins with the eccentric main characters. Besides Tili, there is Jenica, the unfortunate kiosk salesman trying to get rid of the lottery, and Maca wearing a leather jacket, riding a motorcycle and chatting around. He is also older. All three know each other from childhood. Before 1989 they were machine engineers, at a company that no longer exists. Now they are painterly-scrambled figures on the fringe of society.




Vosganian succeeds in a powerful mixture of feather-like grotesque, which comes from Romanian surrealism, and concrete politics. It is not just about unemployment. The three former engineers know one thing: they were once four. Luca was one of them, but he was shot dead by the Securitate. For a long time nothing has happened. Luca was gone, the others were trying to survive. But now is the time of opening the files. Tili goes there. There must be no copying, a watchdog is there, but it comes out who has betrayed Luca. Very simple: the police officer.



What then happens drives the event into a much darker atmosphere and new literary heights. Suddenly the friends decided to take revenge. Vosganian describes how the three bizarre losers who were tortured after Lucas’s disappearance are driven by the shadows of the past, become “shadows” themselves, mocking the old, evil Securitate man, driving him into the narrow. In the end they scare him before the only international train that crosses the small town. A ghostly scenario, dramaturgical and as a mood painting already a small masterpiece.


Then one’s own violence reverts to the friends themselves

The Atonement succeeds. But now that it is clear that betrayal and violence only provoke further violence, helps the three little. Their own violence now turns against them. They are insecure, suffer from delusions. Two commit, adventurously metaphorical and real, suicide: Jenica disappears in the dark room of his mysterious father; Maca tries to stab his shadow against the wall. Until he realizes that he has to take a different approach. Only one of the three survived: Tili, the doll’s name, who also gave the name to the informer. He becomes melancholic, but in a peculiarly unshakable manner.


And because in the showdown of this wonderfully bizarre shadow play suddenly the other characters appear as dolls, to whom Tili names, he becomes, together with the doll maker, in the end still an unexpected writer metaphor. In this book, Vosganian follows an individual aesthetic of the detours, which, in her action and linguistic imagination, seem to amuse herself amid the streamlined form of the modern literature. In the end, she finds a last elegant turn. Ernest Wichner, like the “Book of the Whisper”, has also translated this novel into a very beautiful German prose.

  • Posted by  Varujan Vosganian
  • Aparitii in presa, Noutati, Recenzii, Stiri

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