Helessa by Mikho Mosulishvili
Genre: Movie-novel, Sea fiction, Romance novel, Mythpunk
The text in original language (Georgian)
Word count – 29 907
Characters (with spaces) per page – 1,800
Characters (with spaces) per all pages – 214,897
A hypothetical number of pages – 214,897 ⁚ 1,800 = 119, 37
Taking advantage of May Kirbishi’s love, Yashar Badishi tries to uncover the set of directions of making the Kirbishi clan mysterious drug with the aim of selling the recipe to wealthy foreigners, Helen Meyers and Alfred Antopoulos.
The oldest family of the Laz people from Sarpi, the Kirbishi family, possesses the recipe of making indispensable medicine curing people. The Red Flower of Medea is the herb used by the Kirbishi family for making indespansable ointment, as follows: For several centuries they have gone to sea on their felucca sailing boat and grown this herb in the earthware pot on the deck to prevent disclosure of the mystery of their drug.
Besides, medicine is made with the arrangement of mysterious rituals, and to that end, it is necessary to visit of Constanta, the hamlet of Makriali in the Laz district of Turkey, and Gonio Fortress, the venues where the King of Colchis, Aeetes, laid to rest the parts of the remains of Absyrtus killed and fractured by Medea and Jason.
Yashar Badishi tries to uncover the mystery of this drug aiming at selling this recipe to the wealthy foreigners, Helen Mayers and Alfred Antopoulos, and to that end he goes to any lengths using close relationship with the Kirbishi family and even love of May Kirbishi. This is the reason of the rage from our Lord expressed through storms and gales.
Next year May Kirbishi having lost her relatives again goes to the sea on Kirbishi sail felucca and continues time-honored business of the family – and as a backdrop one can hear a song of their ancestors Helessa.
This movie novel was conceived as animated drawings of the gifted Laz artist, Hasan Helimishi.
Helessa tells us on the mystery that is part of your soul to be saved even at the expense of your life.
* Tbilisi, Georgia: Ustari Publishing, 2012
About ‘Helessa, Or The Azalea Azaled, the Fox Foxed, the Sea Rocked… (a Laz maritime movie-novel, performed as a chronicle of the last journey of the feluka Kirbish, or, if you like, as an animated picture of the Laz artist, Hasan Helimishi)’ by Mikho Mosulishvili
From Publishing Catalogue 2018 by CPBA (Georgian Publishers and Booksellers Association), A page # 64.
Tamar Nachkebia, Publisher
At the very start of our venture, our priority was to publish supplementary material for school teachers at a time when no other publisher catered for them. A teacher certification program had been newly introduced, meaning that teachers were desperate for support in this area.
Here, however, I would like to focus on Mikho Mosulishvili’s book Helessa, about the Laz people. Apart for publishing it in 2012, we also promoted it by entering it into the Berlinale literary section, which proved extremely susseccful. The book didn’t reach the final, but the entry itself was significant, being the first Georgian book ever to be presented to be Berlinale.
We intendent to apply for the Summit MEA (Marketing Effectiveness Award) contest but soon discovered the registration fee was too high. When the organizers read about the book, they wanted to know if it would be translated into Turkish because majority of the Laz live in today’s Turkey. The idea appealed to others worldwide, and as a result, we were allowed to enter the book in the contest without paying the fee.
Two months later, we were informed that the book Helessa had received the silver award.
Mikho Mosulishvili, author
In his travelogue The Orient Express (1927) John Dos Passos writes about visiting Batumi and meeting the locals. He wrote that the Laz people were slender, wore bandana-like kerchiefs, looking a little like pirates, and were known along the Black Sea coast as good sailors and fisherman. I thought I could also write about them and their seafaring life, thus disproving the Soviet myth that the people of Georgia had no connection with the sea. In 2011 I was in Batumi and visited the small seaside resorts of Sarpi and Gonio. As a sat staring at the sea and listening to the saegulls, I pictured Medea as the sea – calm or stormy but always holding back a secret, unpredictable and deeply mysterious. She was one of the most famous women in Georgian history, but I wondered that she would have done if she lived today.
A year later I already had an experimental novel ready about the modern Medea – Helessa, Or the Azalea Azaled, the Fox Foxed, the Sea Rocked. The novel is multi-layer narrative written mythical and ritualistic style, telling of the adventures of the Kirbish Family who sail the Black Sea trying to save a secret medicinal recipe they have held for centuries. The novel consists of a hundred and five scenes which the reader is asked to imagine as a film. Being published true celebration for any author, but I was doubly happy because I was lucky to work with editor Tamar Gelovani, publishing house director Tamar Nachkebia, designer Lia Sulakvelidze, and others, all of whom spared no effort to make the publication appealing for readers. Now, six years later, I still think about the book, which is when Lali Kiknavelidze, the producer and director GPU Lira Production, suggested writing screenplay for a film based on my novel, I agreed. Just like people, book have their own destinies. I hope more adventures lie ahead for Helessa.