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.
The time-spatial background of the novel demonstrates the aspiration of Georgia to become independent from the Russian empire during the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. The novel is based on a cinematic principle of parallel narrative: on the one hand, it narrates the story of the persecution and destruction of the members of the secret organization “Giorgi” in Tbilisi; And on the other hand, it develops somewhat dramatic or tragicomic episodes of Papua Andronikashvili‘s ancestors’ life, through exploring what happened to one of the noble Georgian families after the Russian Empire occupied Georgia (1801).
Papua Andronikashvili, the hero of the Abkhazian war (1992-1993) who finds himself in a very stressful situation, decides to kill himself. Archimandrite Yostos Andronikashvili, an imaginary guest will prevent him from doing so by giving him a book written by Yostos called “mystery chest” and by communicating his ancestors’ message regarding the need of postponing his suicide before he finds the Knight of the Untimely Time.
From this point onwards, the novel develops into two dimensions: on the one hand, further events can be regarded as a reflection of reality, and at the time they can be interpreted as straggles of Papua Andronikashvili’s soul since at this point he is the only alive character, all the other characters of the novel are his dead ancestors as well as other characters from their times.
Archimandrite Yostos´ “Mystic chest” is naturally encompassed within the development of the novel. It tells the chronic of the Andronikashvili family on different languages through which we learn how god granted an eternal existence to Andronikashvili’s blood line and gave them the mission of ending the reign of Russia that shall be carried out by the seventh-generation representative of Andronikashvili family.
Every odd representative of Andronikashvili family shall take the path of truth while every even representative of Andronikashvili family shall stray off the path of truth and when the ancestors appear the curse of the generation will pronounce, and he will die in an ungodly manner. The seventh knight will fight against the dragon, will pass away and will raise as the winner in the heavenly city…
The secret organization “Giorgi” and its members – Papua’s father and his friends aim to free their homeland from the reign of Russia through “peaceful disobedience”. Their conspiracy activities, preparation for spreading proclamations and secret meetings will not escape the watchful eye of the Committee for State Security (KGB*).
By the end of the novel, at the fantastic carnival Russian writers Fyodor Dostoyevsky and Leo Tolstoy are requesting that Georgia releases Russia from its colonial oppression. Here we encounter the case of the reversed reality, after which the reader finds out that he himself has been the main character of the novel – the Knight of the Untimely Time.
* 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