28 Following


I read books, I write about books, I would probably marry a book if I could find one who liked me enough. Three words to describe me mature, irresponsible, contradictory, unreliable...oh...that's four...

Intricate, spellbinding, wholly original.

Dictionary of the Khazars (Male Edition) - Milorad Pavić, Christina Pribichevich-Zoric

Lets imagine that an ancient civilisation disappeared and all the evidence you had to reconstruct them and their way of life, were three fragmentary dictionaries, each written from a different religious perspective by those who had contact with that civilisation at that time. You could never understand those people directly, because they left no written record of their own. You could only understand them from the point of view of others, each coloured by their own opinions and beliefs.

If you read such a book, what would you end up understanding best? The extinct civilisation? Or the three religions which describe them?

That's the point of this dictionary, a point delivered through a series of fables. The differences between the accounts, the alterations in focus and interpretation, form a window onto the three major Western religions: Christianity, Judaism and Islam.

But forget all that deep significant stuff. This is also a wonderful collection of myths and legends, featuring fruits that look like fish but grow on trees, heroes with mighty moustaches and doomed, prescient princesses. Take it either way, it's still a delight.