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Столб што пее

„Столб што пее“, 2022


by Tomislav Osmanli,

writer, North Macedonia


Tomislav Osmanli – Wikipedia

                Singing Pillar is a book of a complex chronotope and a thoughtful, timeless novel. Its plot is diachronic and it takes place starting with the first century AD, through the beginning of the twentieth century and the continuation of the Great War on Turkish soil in Ionia and Anatolia, until today until the last two, pandemic and refugee crises expansions, ending until March of this European war year of 2022… The area of ​​his fable covers ancient and modern Asia Minor (Anatolia, Syria, Turkey), the harsh waters of the refugees` Mediterranean, both path and massive graveyard, and the inhospitable borders of the European countries (Greece, Macedonia, Serbia, Hungary, Belarus, the border with Poland) up to Sweden and the other northern, mostly inaccessible destinations for the endless tragic flows of the refugees … to the old building of the contemporary Danish National Museum containing – one most specific artifact.

The (complex) plot

                The famous British archaeologist and biblical scholar Sir W.M. Ramsey – in the second half of the 19th century – in the relaxed atmosphere of the home garden of his new friend, the English engineer, builder of the local railway line in the town of Aydin in the Izmir province of Ottoman Turkey – notices a peculiar small column serving as a garden flower planter. Being found by the railroad engineer Edward Purser, among the ruins, in the necropolis of the nearby ancient city of Tralleis (Τράλλεις)… the column had been dragged here for the idle joy of his beloved Greek wife. As the British archaeologist and epigraphist will determine, the style also contains a musical record following its text for singing his verses by the poet and musician Seikilos (Σεικίλος). In short, it is a pillar that sings the oldest ever found melody, an optimistic song written by (sic!) the dying poet from Tralleis, that sounds as follows:  

(Seikilos` epitaph song)

                In the meantime, the original artifact is lost in the fierce turmoil of the time and the wars in the area, beginning with the First World War, from 1914 until the end of the Greco-Turkish war in Asia Minor in 1922. The second warfare brought specifically fierce scenes of mass interethnic massacres by both, the Greek army and domicile Greeks on one hand, and the Turkish majority of the mixed population of Asia Minor, on the other. In the post-war times, the distinguished British archaeologist begins the search for the lost artifact, whose radiant, optimistic contents he had long ago communicated to the scientific and cultural public, in the meantime having forgotten the singing pillar. Along with that search, the novelist simultaneously introduces nine stories related to many characters from different epochs and leads them through a complex, mosaic narrative, structuring exactly the opposite – the pessimistic picture of the world oversaturated with wars and fierce violence …

                Many of the characters in this exciting prose story are novelistic visions of historical figures, many are anonymous, fictional heroes: ancient Greek philosophers, musicians from post-Hellenistic Ionia, two New Testament apostles Paul (Saul) and Luke, then the aforementioned contemporary English biblical scholar, Levantine merchant aristocrats from modern Smyrna, the Irish engineer of the newly established Oriental railway line, tragic Greek officer from the Greco-Turkish war 1919-1922, Zeybeks – members of Turkish irregular companies from the Anatolian region who massacred infidels in four days tragic recapturing of the ethnically mixed town of Aydin; a marital couple with two little girls, all refugees from that city, whose mother, Eftyhia Papainnopoulou (Ευτυχία Παπαγιαννοπούλου), will become the supreme author of the bitter lyrics of the Greek music; a dramatical young Syrian couple Zehra and Haroun, a young married couple passionately in love with each other, forced to be in search of each throughout  the dark fugitive corridors of Europe for years being on an epic voyage similar to the Odyssey, where Ithaca in a not a place, but the very escape: saving lives from the harsh warfare in their country and region … A significant part of the novel is the brave, still most ruthless character of the historical Turk fighter in the Great Fatherland`s War, named so and led against the Greek interventionists, the legendary last zeybek Yoruk Ali Efe known by a well-known Turkish zeybek song and dance (since there is also, a very similar, Greek zeybek song and dance style):

  ( Efeleri Efesin )

           It is a complex novel with deep contemporary meanings in which several personal stories are intertwined expressing the tragic difference between the peaceful philosophical, religious, and other social doctrines and dogmas on the one hand, and the destructive essence of human history itself, on the other.

                                                                                      The meanings

            Through the number of thought flows of the British academic, a dedicated seeker of the meaning of history and human existence in general – convinced in the possible discovery in the apocryphal wise whispers of ancient messages engraved on marble plaques and stelae, but also written in as yet undiscovered papyrus and parchment writings – the novel Singing Pillar is a kind of metaphysical quest for the essence of wars and catastrophes of biblical proportions, the aggression, and the cruelty, as paradoxes inhabited by the essence of man, of the rulers and the leaders, of society and the essentially never humanized civilization …

                The novel of Tomislav Osmanli an interweaving of fictional stories, authentic tweets with alarms for the people in need, of documentary photographs of the refugees` massive sea tragedies in the Mediterranean, quotes from e-portals, two fable quotes from the New Testament, and four music QR-codes that can be opened by a simple mobile phone QR reader, and broadcast videos with traumatic songs from four different cultures … As such, the Singing Pillar is a novel that digs deep into the dehumanized soil of the tragically globalized world; and a narrative that deals with the archeology of human hatred throughout history and continued in modern times and especially today, a narrative culminated with a harsh essay by a narrative character expressed over the warfare tragedies and disasters provoked by the Russian-Ukrainian war led throughout this year and maybe on…

                It is an erudite novel of the highest narration, realized through dynamic narrative editing structures in a book of rich fabular flows and narrative rhythms.

                                                                                                                                Gligor Stoykovski,

                                                                                                                          Author and publisher

Pецензија на Проф. Д-р Лидија Капушевска-Дракулевска „Светот е мал и испреплетен, нели?“ – Нова Македонија

Рецензија на Проф. Д-р Весна Мојсова-Чепишевска Човекољубивиот тестамент нека нѐ ослободи од стравот од смртта