The Knight of the Untimely Time by Mikho Mosulishvili
Genre: Magic realism, Menippeah
The text in original language (Georgian)
Word count – 95 839
Characters (with spaces) per page – 1,800
Characters (with spaces) per all pages – 702, 029
A hypothetical number of pages – 702,029 ⁚ 1,800 = 390.01
This novel was awarded with first prize of the literary competition of Tbilisi City Hall, Management of Youth Affairs and the Union of Book fans Bestseller in 1998.
This is the adventure of a family, the story of Andronikashvili’s seven generations from Russian Empire’s annexation (1801) until Abkhaziane war (1993).
The depressed hero of Abhkazian war (1992-1993) Papua decides to commit suicide and the imaginary, strange guest – archimandrite Iostos prevents him. Cleric brings his descendant the book, written by himself – ‘The Chest of Mystery’ and tells him the ancestors’ order – to postpone the suicide until he finds The Knight of the Untimely Time.
From this moment the novel continues in two dimensions: on the one hand further developments can be considered as an image of objective reality, and on the other as the shifts in Papua’s soul. He is the only man, who stayed alive in the novel – and the protagonist is visited by already dead ancestors and their contemporaries.
The Chest of Mystery, created by sinful hand of archimandrite Iostos is binded organically in the plot of the novel. The patrimonial chronicles of Andronikashvili are told in different languages. According to the book, the eternal existing is ordered by god on the generation of ‘Shishions’ (Fearers, makers of fear) with green eyes and the book tells that the age of domination of the Scythians* is to be ended by seven generations of ‘Shishions’.
In 1983 the secret organization Giorgi and the members of this organization set a goal of freeing their homeland from the rule of Russia through the peaceful disobedience. Their conspirative activities – editing of the journal Amirani, preparation for spreading leaflets and the secret meetings did not escape from the watchful eye of KGB**, based on distrust and seeking the victims. The loyal officials of expansionist policy of the orthodox Russia value the personal benefit and career more than the independence of the insulted country, so they guard and pursue the young people, who dream of freedom of their homeland, the KGB officers plan their arrest and enjoy the results of their gendarmes’ activities in advance. Immoral and greedy Russian doesn’t disdain anything, struggling explicitly or implicitly against the people who seek the ways to freedom.
In the vision of dying Vache, who climbed on the eaves of the abandoned church and was shoot by KGB snipers seven descendants of great and incomparable warrior Mahkaz Andronikashvili merged into a single entity and fought the biblical dragon…
Only after viewing the enchanting and fantastic carnival (where the Russian writers Fyodor Dostoyevsky and Leo Tolstoy demand from Georgia to liberate Russia from colonial oppression (we are dealing with a situation typical of the carnival, when the opposite is true), the reader finds himself the main character of the novel – yes, in the novel the reader is The Knight of the Untimely Time, who has to fight the biblical dragon – or to try to overcome the evil in his own soul and if he can’t win, at least to weaken it. This is the most important idea of the novel.
* Scythians were called the Russian invaders in Georgia.
** The KGB (Russian: Комите́т госуда́рственной безопа́сности КГБ) – translated in English as Committee for State Security, was the main security agency for the Soviet Union from 1954 until its break-up in 1991.
- Tbilisi, Georgia : Bestseleri Publishing, 1999