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Kazakhstan's Sorrow /by Tsotne Chikovani/

Size: 160X200 mm
Number of pages: 184
Paperback. "Saari"
The book "Kazakhstan's Sorrow" is the first full-fledged collection of Tsotne Chikovani's short stories. It was published in 2004 with small circulation, 300 copies.

The book includes ten short stories written mainly over 1995-2003. These short stories are not of one particular style or trend. The stories are of different character. They also differ by size. Some of them, especially "McNolts' Guest", is autobiographical story and mainly describes real events. "McNolts' Guest" is about author's travel to Ireland, which he visited in 1994 indeed and the story described there is a gospel truth. A story "Paliashvili corner Barnov" is noteworthy, which was written under the influence of Aka Morchiladze's famous novel "August's Solitaire".





      At the railway station, that I was supposed to depart from to Dublin after landing at Shannon airport, I decided to leave my bags at the leftluggage locker as a decent traveler is supposed to do – simply not to miss the chance of seeing a bit of the town. The left-luggage lockers that we had in my country were not to be seen around here. There was a kind of an outward resemblance but lockers here were missing the digital locks that I was used to back home; instead, a tiny key in a locker-door played their role, waiting in the keyhole. I messed about with the thing for a while, but no, it resisted. Hey, hey! – I read the matter right away. You have to put the bag in first and then close the locker-door; of course, these were the terms for the key to leave the lock. After that you are free to take the key out and slip it into your pocket – and you can go then wherever you wish, with the thing safely intact.
     This is the way they have it here in Europe: everything works easy and well, to make people happy.
     I put the bags carefully and closed the door then turned the key and tried to take it out but it did not obey. I threw a glance around to check if somebody was watching me, and gave the key a second try but in spite of the force I applied the key refused to yield. Then an idea flashed in my mind, "The hell with the sightseeing. I may as well take my things back and guard my luggage myself". The key found the idea either shortsighted or foolish and did not change its mind. I felt suddenly that another moment or two of the same scene would drive me crazy and I could start banging this damned locker with my fists. Yet, somehow I succeeded to restrain myself and switched to a more balanced consideration of this tragic aspect of my present existence. I was definitely against asking for somebody's help because I felt that I've been facing some very simple case from the wrong angle and I wouldn't allow even a chance of making the fact public. Then suddenly I caught a sight of a small slot in the corner of the locker with 50 in red figures at the bottom. That explained it. True to the role of idiot, I forgot to drop the coin and certainly I could not expect the key to jump at me in delight. So I rushed to the railway-station refreshment room to change a pound note and in a moment was back challenging my tormentor locker door with an elated expression on my face. I enjoyed the unhurried way I passed the 50 pence coin into the slot and then pulled the key – but no, it was NO again! The thing seemed impossible but the key was stubborn in its refusal to leave its native key-hole.
     - He-e-elp! – I yelled frightening to death some pitiful station clerk who had been hanging around for a while, visibly impressed by my luckless endeavor.
     He was by my side in a second with frantic "What's up, man?"
    "For Christ's sake, don't you see?! Can you simply explain the secret of this devil's creation?" – I pleaded.
     He threw a glance at the locker and grinned.
     - Aaah, that! That's it – Fourteen, the bad guy! Sorry, sir, but its lock needs some fixing and makes us fools in visitors' eyes – as a revenge, you know, you are not the first one. I made it a routine – reminding the bosses to put a new lock but you can as well sing to a blank wall – no response, no reaction".
     Then he took out of his pocket a little jack-knife, slipped the blade into the key-hole and the next moment freed the key and passed it to me.
     - Here you are, sir – and please, forgive us all. This merry beginning became an introductory scene of my short but emotionally rewarding spell on the Emerald Island, as the Irishmen affectionately call their land where I was supposed to increase and deepen my  knowledge of English. The school allotted to this task was a tall building, yet narrow somehow. It had only five classrooms that could accommodate all of us. One could meet there all types of students, the whole variety: from a German guy with a ring pierced in his eyebrow – to African nuns clad in white shrouds, all of them dashing bustlingly about in the narrow corridors.
     From the very first day of my coming to this school I would tirelessly repeat to myself: Were it not for my foolishness I would learn the language in time and wouldn't have to leave the parents and a whole army of my teachers whose admonishments I ignored like the voice of one crying in the wilderness. Yeah, all the people here would consider me a true demigod, if from the very second or third lesson they were ready to hail me, even with my meager knowledge of the language – as the most enlightened person in my form.
     Could it be otherwise? I was definite in the knowledge that the earth is sporting six continents, I would state without batting an eyelid that the XX century welcomed two world wars, and apart from that, I increased the list of the facts proclaiming Tokyo the capital of Japan. My classmates went wild at my boundless education, my wisdom could soon be compared to that of King Solomon – only they failed to have heard about the wise guy. As for the reason, why I stressed particularly Tokyo, that was because not a soul among them knew anything about Japan, except for a little girl who possessed some knowledge on that matter – and simply for the reason that she herself was Japanese.


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