Ali and Nino: A Love Story

Ali and Nino: A Love Story❮PDF / Epub❯ ✈ Ali and Nino: A Love Story ⚣ Author Kurban Said – Jobs-in-kingston.co.uk First published in Vienna in , this classic story of romance and adventure has been compared to Dr Zhivago and Romeo and Juliet Its mysterious author was recently the subject of a feature article in t First published in Vienna in , this classic Nino: A eBook ↠ story of romance and adventure has been compared to Dr Zhivago and Romeo and Juliet Its mysterious author was recently the subject of a feature article in the New Yorker, which has inspired a forthcoming biography Out of print for nearly three decades until the hardcover re release last year, Ali and Nino is Kurban Said s masterpiece It is a captivating novel as evocative of the Ali and ePUB ô exotic desert landscape as it is of the passion between two people pulled apart by culture, religion, and warIt is the eve of World War I in Baku, Azerbaijan, a city on the edge of the Caspian Sea, poised precariously between east and west Ali Khan Shirvanshir, a Muslim schoolboy from a proud, aristocratic family, has fallen in love with the beautiful and enigmatic Nino Kipiani, a Christian girl with distinctly European sensibilities To be together and Nino: A PDF/EPUB ¼ they must overcome blood feud and scandal, attempt a daring horseback rescue, and travel from the bustling street of oil boom Baku, through starkly beautiful deserts and remote mountain villages, to the opulent palace of Ali s uncle in neighboring Persia Ultimately the lovers are drawn back to Baku, but when war threatens their future, Ali is forced to choose between his loyalty to the beliefs of his Asian ancestors and his profound devotion to Nino Combining the exotic fascination of a tale told by Scheherazade with the range and magnificence of an epic, Ali and Nino is a timeless classic of love in the face of war. Ali and Nino A Love Story Believe me dear reader, there is nothing guaranteed to make me run further or faster from a book than printing the words love story on the front cover Listen that s the gently pitter patter of my size 41 s disappearing into the distance.Bleurgh No love here.But this exceptional book made it onto the mountainous TBR pile which is currently threatening to cause my living room floor to collapse, for one major reason It was praised and recommended by the greate Ali and Nino A Love Story Believe me dear reader, there is nothing guaranteed to make me run further or faster from a book than printing the words love story on the front cover Listen that s the gently pitter patter of my size 41 s disappearing into the distance.Bleurgh No love here.But this exceptional book made it onto the mountainous TBR pile which is currently threatening to cause my living room floor to collapse, for one major reason It was praised and recommended by the greatest sulky travel misanthrope, Mr Paul Theroux I love Theroux s travel books because not only are they excellent reading material, Theroux is a conscientious and giving writer who provides you with a constant list of books relating to his travels which he has found significant even if he outright detests them , inspiring, informative or just downright unusual The discovery of Ali and Nino came from reading Ghost Train to Eastern Bazaar his 2008 revisiting of a journey by rail across over 1 6th of the worlds land mass Theroux cites it as a hidden gem Golly gosh darnit he was right again for previous correct assertions on hidden gems I d refer you to Carlo Levi s Christ Stopped at Eboli which was mentioned in Theroux s Pillars of Hercules where he circumnavigates the Mediterranean wearing a sun hat and a frown.Ali and Nino are childhood sweethearts he, a Shiite Muslim from noble bloodlines and she a Greek Orthodox Princess from Georgia Together they inhabit the oil soaked, palatial and multi cultural landscape of Azerbaijan a melting pot of wealth, religion and culture influenced by Georgian, Armenian, Turkish and Russian fusion over many centuries The advent of World War I tears holes in the community in which they live forcing both Christian and Muslim alike to make a choice look to the West, Europe and rapid secular change or cling to the East and the poetry, spiritualism and tradition of a hundred generations I cannot express adequately how poetic this book is, nor how beautifully penned the landscapes, sariyes, palaces, bazaars and camis Added to the beauty of this book is the long standing mystery over its author and the original publication originally it was believed that the book was written by an Austrian Baroness under an assumed nom de plume, however it is nowlikely that Kurban Said was the alter ego of Lev Nussimbaum, a Jew who converted to Islam and escaped Azerbaijan during the Russian Revolution.A classic as timeless and mesmerising as the shifting desert sands There is a large genre of novels related to WWI that deal in the heartbreak of the last summer before the storm, the coming death of the old world and the founding of the new Le Grand Meulnes, which is still the quintessential French coming of age novel, is one example The histories on this theme are scarcely less legion.This novel is both a part of that genre and so muchthan that It is told from the first person perspective of Ali Khan Shirvanshir, who has turned a request from the There is a large genre of novels related to WWI that deal in the heartbreak of the last summer before the storm, the coming death of the old world and the founding of the new Le Grand Meulnes, which is still the quintessential French coming of age novel, is one example The histories on this theme are scarcely less legion.This novel is both a part of that genre and so muchthan that It is told from the first person perspective of Ali Khan Shirvanshir, who has turned a request from the town gossip to write down what a hero s feelings are, into a personal diary Ali Khan is a Muslim growing up in Baku, on the shores of the Caspian Sea, in what is at the time a Russian possession He is in love with Nino Kipiani, a Georgian Christian who becomes a Georgian Princess through the courtesy of the Czar If you re thinking that this will turn out to be a typical star crossed lovers meet at garden walls and ne er dare speak their love, you d be wrong For this is a melting pot of a society, an oil boom town, where Georgians, Armenians, Westerners, Persians and Muslims who, interestingly, are the group referred to by their religion, not their nationality they are called Mohammedans all mix together Everyone does have a place, but there are many factors which factor into deciding who matters, who is where on the social scale schooling, family, money, and family history.No, the book focuses on the muchinteresting task of how one makes a cross cultural life in a world that is becoming everdivided along every line possible religion, politics, economics, and of course the powerful new god of Nationalism.This is,than anything else, a meditation on definitions, explanations, lines and musings on Who I Am and Who I Am Not, and perhapsimportantly for geopolitics, Who We Are and Who We Are Not Ali visits many towns around his area and they all have some great story of their background, a legend that makes where they live the best place on earth, and no one seems to mind that the next town over also claims that they re the best ever Not in this melting pot of an area Everything that everyone does seems to have to be attributed to some part of their background or heritage such as there s a moment where Ali goes wild with fury after a friend of his kidnaps his fianc e after seducing her with the idea of living in Europe and escaping the Asia that scares her and he kills the man while taking a bite out of his throat, and afterwards says,I am an Asiatic, not a European I never mastered the art of hitting below the belt I can only go mad like the desert wolfIn this charged atmosphere, every action is a statement, every minute one chooses sides in this meeting place of Asia and Europe Everyone judges those actions to determine which side you are on Ali is a man caught by this transformative moment in time 1914 He is a man who is Asiatic in his blood and yet is in love with a woman who loves Europe and by extension does many things that might make him seem to lean towards Europe for the sake of putting the smile back in Nino s eyes and yet, and yet He cannot let go of the desert, and freaks out at the possibility of being posted to Paris where he cannot ride out into the desert, or stand on top of his roof looking over the sand.There are many quotes here where people try to philosophize their way to a solution to what makes people so different, and how this Asia and Europe is divided People at the time weren t quite sure what to make of it, where the line was And so conversations like these happenedWhat have you against trees To me they are the embodiment of life fulfilled Ali Khan is afraid of trees the way a child is afraid of ghosts, said Nino It s not as bad as that But what you feel for trees I feel for the desert, I repliedDadiani s childish eyes blinked The desert, he said, fallow bushes and hot sand The world of trees perplexes me, your Highness It is full of fight and mystery, of ghosts and demons You cannot look ahead You are surrounded It is dark The sun s rays are lost in the twilight of the trees In this twilight everything is unreal No, I do not love he trees The shadows of the wood oppress me, and it makes me sad to hear the rustling of the branches I love simple things wind, sand and stones The desert is simple like the thrust of a sword I lose my way in the woods, your Highness Dadiani looked at me thoughtfully You have the soul of a desert man, he said Maybe that is the one real division between men wood men and desert men The Orient s dry intoxication comes from the desert, where hot wind and hot sand make men drunk, where the world is simple and without problems The woods are full of questions Only the desert does not ask, does not give, and does not promise anything But the fire of the soul comes from the wood The desert man I can see him has but one face, and knows but one truth and that truth fulfills him The wood man has many faces Maybe that is the main difference between East and West The example there would seem to have quite the Western interpretation, but there s just as many conversations the other way And I wonder if I only see the representative of the East coming off worse there because of my own Western or modern biases about tolerance I don t know But if this all seems too much just remember this was written in 1937, by a man who was born in Baku in 1904, and who therefore must be presumed to know what he is talking about He gives all sides a voice, lets everyone express both their superiority and their shortcomings inor less equal measure no one group is allowed to be pure For instance, our hero repeatedly thinks about killing Westerners for looking at his wife s shoulders or and is shocked by them asking about her in conversation interest in another man s wife being indecent in his society While at the same time he is the man who gives up the most of himself for love, tries his best to do whatever makes Nino happy even at the cost of his own identity, and is generally the most honest, kind, and reflective character in the book Characters representing the West are often shown to have the most drive, the most passion, and the clarity to see the way the world works, and yet they re also shown to be hypocritical, and of course. the horror of WWI Sadly, the author only has to conjure up the image of the machine gun or say the word trenches, to condemn what all the civilization of Europe has come to The fact that he wrote this on the eve of yet another world war is evenpoignant I ve heard that this is considered the Azeri national novel I d believe that It gives a visceral picture of the history, culture and every day life of the area at the time, andthan that deals with the larger conflicts that still plague the region today And not only the region elsewhere in the world as well The story of the author ties in to the theme of this work As fascinating as the novel, really He was born a Ukranian Jew, converted to Islam and became Essad Bey, and published under the name of Kurban Said He lived in Baku left for Berlin after the Russian Revolution , Berlin until Hitler , Austria and Italy There is evidence, actually, that the Austrian baroness he became friends with in the 1930s deserves co authorship of this book it is certainly based on his interactions with her, as is the other novel published under his name, The Girl From the Golden Horn This was a man who was used to trying on different identities and seeing what became him, what came closest to his Self, and a man who would know what it was like for someone to tell you what you were when you didn t consider yourself to be anything of that kind Reading this, I often had to remind myself that it was written in 1937 All of these things are still immediately important now East v West, the answer to the question What is Europe , the balance between preservation of culture and the natural progress of society, societal structures in a mixed religious society, the problem of what identity one really wants to fix one s Self to The questions of the twentieth century aren t over yet, not by a long shot, and it is truly amazing how far we have not come from the days of this novel Ali und Nino Ali and Nino A Love Story, Kurban SaidAli and Nino is a novel about a romance between a Muslim Azerbaijani boy and Christian Georgian girl in Baku in the years 1918 1920 It explores the dilemmas created by European rule over an Oriental society and presents a tableau portrait of Azerbaijan s capital, Baku, during the Azerbaijan Democratic Republic period that preceded the long era of Soviet rule It was published under the pseudonym Kurban Said The novel has been published Ali und Nino Ali and Nino A Love Story, Kurban SaidAli and Nino is a novel about a romance between a Muslim Azerbaijani boy and Christian Georgian girl in Baku in the years 1918 1920 It explores the dilemmas created by European rule over an Oriental society and presents a tableau portrait of Azerbaijan s capital, Baku, during the Azerbaijan Democratic Republic period that preceded the long era of Soviet rule It was published under the pseudonym Kurban Said The novel has been published inthan 30 languages, withthan 100 editions or reprints The book was first published in Vienna in German in 1937 This classic story of romance and adventure has been compared to Dr Zhivago and Romeo and Juliet Its mysterious author was recently the subject of a feature article in the New Yorker, which has inspired a forthcoming biography Ali and Nino is Kurban Said s masterpiece It is a captivating novel as evocative of the exotic desert landscape as it is of the passion between two people pulled apart by culture, religion, and war It is the eve of World War I in Baku, Azerbaijan, a city on the edge of the Caspian Sea, poised precariously between east and west Ali Khan Shirvanshir, a Muslim schoolboy from a proud, aristocratic family, has fallen in love with the beautiful and enigmatic Nino Kipiani, a Christian girl with distinctly European sensibilities To be together they must overcome blood feud and scandal, attempt a daring horseback rescue, and travel from the bustling street of oil boom Baku, through starkly beautiful deserts and remote mountain villages, to the opulent palace of Ali s uncle in neighboring Persia Ultimately the lovers are drawn back to Baku, but when war threatens their future, Ali is forced to choose between his loyalty to the beliefs of his Asian ancestors and his profound devotion to Nino Combining the exotic fascination of a tale told by Scheherazade with the range and magnificence of an epic, Ali and Nino is a timeless classic of love in the face of war 1984 1362 231 20 1371 302 1396 360 9786008513025 Read on the WondrousBooks blog. This book is widely compared to Romeo and Juliet and even Dr Zhivago and advertised as one of the best love stories of the last century But in my opinion it is muchthan just a love story In fact, I m not sure if I should call this a love story at all Many may decide to contradict me, but I will explain below Due to the fact that I found muchdepth to Ali and Nino than just the star crossed lovers theme, I showed some generosity with the rating, Read on the WondrousBooks blog. This book is widely compared to Romeo and Juliet and even Dr Zhivago and advertised as one of the best love stories of the last century But in my opinion it is muchthan just a love story In fact, I m not sure if I should call this a love story at all Many may decide to contradict me, but I will explain below Due to the fact that I found muchdepth to Ali and Nino than just the star crossed lovers theme, I showed some generosity with the rating, even though the narrative and writing weren t so much to my taste.Another note that I would like to make is that I usually review books in the language I read them, in this case Azerbaijani, but there are some things about Azerbaijan that I would like to say here and which I hope will reach my western friends I m also very excited about the movie which, I think, is currently filming starring the lovely Maria Valverde as Nino Ali and Nino does start out as a romance As we flip through the pages of Ali s memoirs of sorts, we see just how in love he is with her and that she also shares his feelings What is beautiful about their love at the beginning is how uncomplicated it is They love each other and that is that Their families accept it, their friends accept it, society accepts it Despite of religion, culture and personal beliefs, the simple fact exists that Ali and Nino are in love.With the development of the plot, however, we witness a completely other side of this story Layer after layer all sorts of events add up to form a relationship between the characters which is so complicated and at moments even dark, that I state again my uncertainty to see this book as a love story The childish romance between the characters becomes stained with blood after Nino is kidnapped by another man and by the laws of honor killing, Ali can take her life for it He doesn t out of love, out of honor After Ali flees Baku he spends a very long time away from Nino A narrative about Nino s actions after he leaves show a much darker shade of her personality She is no longer the dear child he dreams of, but instead a girl who only dances with the Russian boys at balls and has a dog she regularly beats in public.The rest of their relationship develops in a whirlwind of events, in the middle of which we see its many sides Love is such a small part of it there is passion, hate, tenderness, honor, stubbornness, shame, helplessness, belief, anger and so muchPage after page we are shown not only the character s personalities on their own, but also how they change when they are together and also due to the unfolding events in Azerbaijan.So is this love And if so, what is love Is it the simple fact that your world is someone else Or should love be looked for in the not so beautiful reality of being with someone for many reasons and not just childish romance Maybe it s the latter I am just going to leave this here The quote is my own translation, so forgive me if it doesn t do justice to the original Suddenly I felt that nothing in this world isvaluable and sacred to me than Nino s eyes full of laughter On the other hand, Ali and Nino is also extremely valuable on several other subjects out of which I m going to talk about one, and I would like here all westerners to think about it This book shows the struggles the Azerbaijani people go through in their self identification With one foot their are standing in Asia, proud, beautifully wild, owners of ancient traditions and a religion which at that period has no place in the West And then, with their other foot, they are tiptoeing on Europe, their culture is changing and developing, both thanks to their geographical location and due to the fact that they have such a painfully strong relationship with Russia Of course it is confusing from the way they should treat their women, to the questions which are posed many times in the book Should we keep our tradition to eat with hands or instead eat with knives and forks Should we drink wine, like the western people, or should we follow the Islamic rule of abstaining from it And what about pork then And yet, Azerbaijan is the first Muslim country to grant the women the right to vote 1917 and it did earlier than Austria and Germany 1918 , France 1945 and much earlier than Portugal 1976 There are manyto be added to this list, but I think you got the point that I m making Azerbaijan is also the first Muslim country to have operas and theaters, for that matter Why am I getting into this Because there are certain countries we don t know all that much about and with the help of Ali and Nino you can learn not only how developed Azerbaijan was even at the beginning of last century not even going to talk about today, Google it and see for yourselves , but also how they came to be like that and what struggles they went through to get there Because I, on behalf of other people, get ashamed when I tell someone I ve visited Azerbaijan and they reply something within the vicinity of Ohmigosh didn t they like shoot at you and like make you wear like a veil No Not even close I hesitate to write any review b c I feel I cannot do this book justice I simply adored it Probably the best book I will read this year Of course it is a love story, but so muchtoo It is a love story between a Georgian Christian girl and a Mulim boy from an historically famous family from Azebaijan Their love explores how dramatically different cultures can be blended given the right circumstances in this case true love West meets East in this novel You explore both ways of look I hesitate to write any review b c I feel I cannot do this book justice I simply adored it Probably the best book I will read this year Of course it is a love story, but so muchtoo It is a love story between a Georgian Christian girl and a Mulim boy from an historically famous family from Azebaijan Their love explores how dramatically different cultures can be blended given the right circumstances in this case true love West meets East in this novel You explore both ways of looking at life The author was born a Jew, but became a Muslim This makes his description of Eastern customs all thevivid because he loved them and chose to follow these principles Eastern culture is magnificently rendered Muslim ideology, Sunni versus Shiite differences, Ottoman and Persian and Georgian beliefs all are vividly depicted through legends and customs How both Ali and Nino are portrayed is so amazing because you understand how these two who love each other STILL see everything so completely differently It is beautiful to see how they compromise for each other And it is horrible to see when there is no possible compromise The reader gets both a familiar and an exotic world laid out before them You read about blood feuds, camels, the landscape and the history of Azerbaijan and much muchI simply cannot do this book justice.I wanted to quote dozens of paragraphs, but I simply couldn t choose one On every single page ideas are beautifully expressed If you do not believe me well just pick a page number and I will quote a bit to show you. Every single page has the reader thinking WOW or pondering a particular thought or way of looking at life Now I will read The Orientalist Solving the Mystery of a Strange and Dangerous Life, which is about this author of Ali and Nino Much of what happened in his own life is reflected int this novel Other than the title would make you assume this is not a romance novel, but rather a history book.The author uses the muslim Ali and the Georgian, christian Nino as personification of the oriental respective European culture and describes the heavy culture clash taking place in Aserbaijan at the beginning of the 20th century.I did not particularly enjoy this book but in acknowledgement of its historical importance I rate it with 3 stars Man k nnt Other than the title would make you assume this is not a romance novel, but rather a history book.The author uses the muslim Ali and the Georgian, christian Nino as personification of the oriental respective European culture and describes the heavy culture clash taking place in Aserbaijan at the beginning of the 20th century.I did not particularly enjoy this book but in acknowledgement of its historical importance I rate it with 3 stars Man k nnte schon allein durch den Titel vermuten, dass es sich hier um einen Liebesroman handelt Am Anfang des 20 Jahrhunderts verlieben sich in Baku die Teenager Ali und Nino, beides verw hnte Spr linge reicher und m chtiger Familien Trotz des kulturell unterschiedlichen Hintergrunds kommt es nach einigem Hin und Her zu einer Eheschlie ung.Als Leser merkt man dannn aber recht schnell, dass Ali und Nino nur Platzhalter f r die orientalische bzw europ ische Kultur sein sollen, anhand derer der Autor das heftige Aufeinanderprallen der unterschiedlichen Weltsichten beschreibt.Mir hat das Buch nicht sonderlich gefallen Insbesondere habe ich mich an dem Blutdurst und blindem Nationalismus der jungen M nner gest rt und der allgegenw rtigen Frauenverachtung Nat rlich wei ich, dass das den Tatsachen geschuldet ist, dennoch macht es keinen Spa dar ber zu lesen M glicherweise spielte es auch eine wesentliche Rolle, dass der Autor Ali als Ich Erz hler angelegt hatte, der dadurch die M glichkeit hatte seine unreifen und reaktion ren Ansichten im berma an den Leser zu bringen.In Anbetracht des historischen Werts dieses Buches, gebe ich 3 Sterne, obwohl die Lekt re f r mich kein Genuss war I devoured this in one day, on a plane flight back from Maui This is a book about a certain place and moment in time, but the love story is timeless The story is set in the Caucacus, on the Caspian Sea in what is now Azerbaijan, on the eve of World War I Ali Khan, a muslim boy, loves Nino, a Georgian Christian girl Somehow, their love survives their cultural differences, family hostilities, blood feuds, and never ending war By the end of the book, I knewthan I ever imagined about the I devoured this in one day, on a plane flight back from Maui This is a book about a certain place and moment in time, but the love story is timeless The story is set in the Caucacus, on the Caspian Sea in what is now Azerbaijan, on the eve of World War I Ali Khan, a muslim boy, loves Nino, a Georgian Christian girl Somehow, their love survives their cultural differences, family hostilities, blood feuds, and never ending war By the end of the book, I knewthan I ever imagined about the early 20th century history of the Caucasus and Persia But it s the love story that kept me turning the pages A beautiful little book, I highly recommend it Two years ago I was going to buy The Orientalist for my friend Tim, the owner of the now defunct Booklore said, oh, we also have a copy of Ali andNino in presently i looked at him rather blankly He then elaborated on the significance of such corresponding with the book I presently held, ready to purchase I see This occurred rather slowly, mind you I bought such and read it that weekend Oh, I didn t give the biography to Tim either. Dadash Beg has stabbed Achung Sade to death last week, because Achung Sade came back to town although he knew the danger, having kidnapped Dadash Beg s wife eight years ago He was stabbed on the day he came Now the police are looking for Dadash Beg But they won t find him, although everybody knows that he is in the village of Mardakjany Wise men say Dadash Beg has done well I have never heard of this book before and didn t know that they turned it into a movie two years ago My book club iDadash Beg has stabbed Achung Sade to death last week, because Achung Sade came back to town although he knew the danger, having kidnapped Dadash Beg s wife eight years ago He was stabbed on the day he came Now the police are looking for Dadash Beg But they won t find him, although everybody knows that he is in the village of Mardakjany Wise men say Dadash Beg has done well I have never heard of this book before and didn t know that they turned it into a movie two years ago My book club is reading this while we are visiting Azerbaijan I have just read Vasily Grossman s An Armenian Sketchbook and last year Leila Aboulela s The Kindness of Enemies, which is set for the most part in the Caucasus region Thanks to these books, I had some basic knowledge about the diversity of the region and a tiny little bit of historical background If I hadn t, I would have been lost As mentioned in the title, Ali and Nino is a love story Ali is a Shiite Muslim Azerbaijani, who loves the desert and the sand Nino is from an aristocratic Greek Orthodox family from Georgia They live in Baku, which is today known as Azerbaijan s capital city The city is also inhabited by Christian Armenians, Persians, Turks, Indians, Russians and whatnot The story is set around the 1st World War and the state of the nation isn t exactly determined yet On the one hand, there s the perpetual threat of the big neighbor, Russia On the other hand, there s Turkey, who are Sunni Muslim not exactly the same with Shia Islam, which is mainly found in Iran and they could massacre off the Armenians How can Ali and Nino s inter religious relationship survive in such a chaotic political climate, in the midst of Europe and Asia s boundary First of all, I was very surprised to find how light and funny the tone of the narration was Sometimes I could ve told myself that this was a contemporary novel and not published in 1937 by a mysterious writer, whose identity is still in dispute There are really a lot of parts, where I laughed and thought that the humor was very original and heart warming I learned a lotabout the Caucasus region, the oil that has already been extracted in Baku region around the time of the setting of the novel, the different people inhabiting the area and how they get along I was also quite shocked how open Ali and Nino s love relationship was, which wasn t really barred by social conventions and beliefs They are constantly torn between Europe and Asia, between Islam and Christianity, between the outside world and Baku If a reader is interested in learningabout this region, I recommend this book, because it s readable and informative with an interesting plot How marvelous, that we re in Asia, in wild, reactionary Asia We have no smooth roads for Western cars here, just rough paths for Karabagh horses how quickly can a car go on these roads, and how swiftly races a horse from Karabagh The melons on the roadside look at me as if they had faces Very bad road, the melons are saying, not for English cars Only for riders on Karabagh horses Ali and Nino would be a quite convential written love story apart from a few facts Firstly, the book is set in Baku, the capital of Azerbaijan, oil reach trans Caucasian country which many people would not be able place on the map The time frame is the turbulent beginning of the last century, the first oil boom, the Russian revolution, the Young Turks and the fall of Osman empire are just a few cataclysms affecting the region Secondly, the author of the book is unknown The book is written fr Ali and Nino would be a quite convential written love story apart from a few facts Firstly, the book is set in Baku, the capital of Azerbaijan, oil reach trans Caucasian country which many people would not be able place on the map The time frame is the turbulent beginning of the last century, the first oil boom, the Russian revolution, the Young Turks and the fall of Osman empire are just a few cataclysms affecting the region Secondly, the author of the book is unknown The book is written from the perspective of Ali, the young and rich Muslim Prince But the most likely author is a Jewish exile in Europe Lev Nisselbaum who has converted into Islam during his time in Germany and was known there as Essad Bey And lastly, the book was first published in 1937 in Germany very unusual place and time for such a novel.I would recommend to read this book if you are interested in the atmosphere and the history of the place The book is brilliant in describing the Caucasian region at the beginning of the last century I could not stop but feeling that the destiny of Caucasus falling under the Soviet rule was not inevitable at all Instead it was the one of the cruel cards served to the region in geopolitical games between the big powers Obviously a bit idealised, but Baku is described as a cosmopolitan vibrant rich city where Muslims, Christians and foreigners live together in a relative piece It was the fringe of the Russian Empire before the revolution However, strong case for the independence of the region really existed when the Empire has started to crumble Apart from Azerbaijan the main characters take us to Iran, Georgia and Dagestan The sense of place is always vivid Georgian hospitality, Persian sleepiness at the time, the simple life with the elements in a mountain village in Dagestan One can learn a lot of history in this slim novel There is also a powerful insight into a Muslim s male mind The main character is in love with the Georgian girl who is obviously Christian, cosmopolitan and does not want to compromise her identity beyond a certain measure She, for example refuses, to cover her face He, on the other hand, is trying to understand better where are the limits of his faith This is very ancient enigmatic region Armenia and Georgia existed well before any concept of Europe There predated the Byzantine Empire as well and were the ones of the first places in the world adopting Christianity Azerbaijan was the part of Persia, I believe That is why they are Shiite Muslims The book and the stories within it have resonated with me on personal level It reminded me the well forgotten trip of my youth The one of my first ever trips in fact When I was 16, the group from my school, has travelled on the train from Kiev to Baku The train journey took 70 hours one way When we arrived in Baku I felt that the ground literally moved under my feet for a day after that train s vibration But before we arrived, we experienced a lot of cultural shocks The group contained around 6 girls On the last day of our journey, two things happened First, we have seen the desert and proper caravan of camels travelling behind the windows of the train I had an impression the caravan was going quicker than we Secondly, our group leader, the young man of around 25 was approached by the group of Azerbaijani looking men with the business offer to sell us 6 girls for a good price Fortunately, we did not know what the men were talking about But they look very amiable and smiling Again, fortunately for us, our group leader has rejected their proposition saying he needs us for other things The simple word of our leader seemed to bepowerful than the legal aspect of the suggested proceedings So we were left alone, at least for a time being The city, when we arrived seemed empty, the powerful winds were blown alone the streets So when Baku was mentioned as a city of winds in the novel, it brought back a vivid memory We ve seen the Maiden tower beautiful medieval construction which is as well mentioned in the book We did not venture far enough without our sympathetic young local guide But he took us into very weird places like an illegal leather shop It was the time when the shelves of the proper shops were totally empty anywhere in the disintegrating Soviet Union So he probably wanted to please us But we did not have money anyway We ve also visited a Chikhana the place where men only were having tea from very small cups while biting sugar stones What was also striking how friendly the people were towards each other One might stop a trolleybus anywhere by just raising a hand It was the end pf 1989 I believe We left and in a few months Baku has become a centre of the bloody events Baku s pogrom I could not believe the news The last time something similar took place was the time of Ali and Nino.Ok, back to the book The life story of its alleged writer, Lev Nisselbaum was so dramatic that it was become the subject of the book itself The Orientalist Solving the Mystery of a Strange and Dangerous Life The american journalist Tom Reiss has followed the traces of Lev from Baku to Berlin and later to Italy were Lev died prematurely in 1942 Someone called Ali and Nino Azerbaijan s Doctor Zhivago There are certainly a lot of similarities However, the Pasternak s book is much stronger work of literature Ali and Nino is a profound document to the time and place, very moving, but the storytelling is relatively straightforward and a bit of overdramatising sometimes However, it contains a lot of interesting details about the cataclysms in the region and a moving love story I personally was also grateful for the opportunity of re living some moments of my 16 year old self which the book has dogged out from my memory

Ali and Nino: A Love Story Kindle ✓ and Nino: A
    Ali and Nino: A Love Story Kindle ✓ and Nino: A Combining the exotic fascination of a tale told by Scheherazade with the range and magnificence of an epic, Ali and Nino is a timeless classic of love in the face of war. Ali and Nino A Love Story Believe me dear reader, there is nothing guaranteed to make me run further or faster from a book than printing the words love story on the front cover Listen that s the gently pitter patter of my size 41 s disappearing into the distance.Bleurgh No love here.But this exceptional book made it onto the mountainous TBR pile which is currently threatening to cause my living room floor to collapse, for one major reason It was praised and recommended by the greate Ali and Nino A Love Story Believe me dear reader, there is nothing guaranteed to make me run further or faster from a book than printing the words love story on the front cover Listen that s the gently pitter patter of my size 41 s disappearing into the distance.Bleurgh No love here.But this exceptional book made it onto the mountainous TBR pile which is currently threatening to cause my living room floor to collapse, for one major reason It was praised and recommended by the greatest sulky travel misanthrope, Mr Paul Theroux I love Theroux s travel books because not only are they excellent reading material, Theroux is a conscientious and giving writer who provides you with a constant list of books relating to his travels which he has found significant even if he outright detests them , inspiring, informative or just downright unusual The discovery of Ali and Nino came from reading Ghost Train to Eastern Bazaar his 2008 revisiting of a journey by rail across over 1 6th of the worlds land mass Theroux cites it as a hidden gem Golly gosh darnit he was right again for previous correct assertions on hidden gems I d refer you to Carlo Levi s Christ Stopped at Eboli which was mentioned in Theroux s Pillars of Hercules where he circumnavigates the Mediterranean wearing a sun hat and a frown.Ali and Nino are childhood sweethearts he, a Shiite Muslim from noble bloodlines and she a Greek Orthodox Princess from Georgia Together they inhabit the oil soaked, palatial and multi cultural landscape of Azerbaijan a melting pot of wealth, religion and culture influenced by Georgian, Armenian, Turkish and Russian fusion over many centuries The advent of World War I tears holes in the community in which they live forcing both Christian and Muslim alike to make a choice look to the West, Europe and rapid secular change or cling to the East and the poetry, spiritualism and tradition of a hundred generations I cannot express adequately how poetic this book is, nor how beautifully penned the landscapes, sariyes, palaces, bazaars and camis Added to the beauty of this book is the long standing mystery over its author and the original publication originally it was believed that the book was written by an Austrian Baroness under an assumed nom de plume, however it is nowlikely that Kurban Said was the alter ego of Lev Nussimbaum, a Jew who converted to Islam and escaped Azerbaijan during the Russian Revolution.A classic as timeless and mesmerising as the shifting desert sands There is a large genre of novels related to WWI that deal in the heartbreak of the last summer before the storm, the coming death of the old world and the founding of the new Le Grand Meulnes, which is still the quintessential French coming of age novel, is one example The histories on this theme are scarcely less legion.This novel is both a part of that genre and so muchthan that It is told from the first person perspective of Ali Khan Shirvanshir, who has turned a request from the There is a large genre of novels related to WWI that deal in the heartbreak of the last summer before the storm, the coming death of the old world and the founding of the new Le Grand Meulnes, which is still the quintessential French coming of age novel, is one example The histories on this theme are scarcely less legion.This novel is both a part of that genre and so muchthan that It is told from the first person perspective of Ali Khan Shirvanshir, who has turned a request from the town gossip to write down what a hero s feelings are, into a personal diary Ali Khan is a Muslim growing up in Baku, on the shores of the Caspian Sea, in what is at the time a Russian possession He is in love with Nino Kipiani, a Georgian Christian who becomes a Georgian Princess through the courtesy of the Czar If you re thinking that this will turn out to be a typical star crossed lovers meet at garden walls and ne er dare speak their love, you d be wrong For this is a melting pot of a society, an oil boom town, where Georgians, Armenians, Westerners, Persians and Muslims who, interestingly, are the group referred to by their religion, not their nationality they are called Mohammedans all mix together Everyone does have a place, but there are many factors which factor into deciding who matters, who is where on the social scale schooling, family, money, and family history.No, the book focuses on the muchinteresting task of how one makes a cross cultural life in a world that is becoming everdivided along every line possible religion, politics, economics, and of course the powerful new god of Nationalism.This is,than anything else, a meditation on definitions, explanations, lines and musings on Who I Am and Who I Am Not, and perhapsimportantly for geopolitics, Who We Are and Who We Are Not Ali visits many towns around his area and they all have some great story of their background, a legend that makes where they live the best place on earth, and no one seems to mind that the next town over also claims that they re the best ever Not in this melting pot of an area Everything that everyone does seems to have to be attributed to some part of their background or heritage such as there s a moment where Ali goes wild with fury after a friend of his kidnaps his fianc e after seducing her with the idea of living in Europe and escaping the Asia that scares her and he kills the man while taking a bite out of his throat, and afterwards says,I am an Asiatic, not a European I never mastered the art of hitting below the belt I can only go mad like the desert wolfIn this charged atmosphere, every action is a statement, every minute one chooses sides in this meeting place of Asia and Europe Everyone judges those actions to determine which side you are on Ali is a man caught by this transformative moment in time 1914 He is a man who is Asiatic in his blood and yet is in love with a woman who loves Europe and by extension does many things that might make him seem to lean towards Europe for the sake of putting the smile back in Nino s eyes and yet, and yet He cannot let go of the desert, and freaks out at the possibility of being posted to Paris where he cannot ride out into the desert, or stand on top of his roof looking over the sand.There are many quotes here where people try to philosophize their way to a solution to what makes people so different, and how this Asia and Europe is divided People at the time weren t quite sure what to make of it, where the line was And so conversations like these happenedWhat have you against trees To me they are the embodiment of life fulfilled Ali Khan is afraid of trees the way a child is afraid of ghosts, said Nino It s not as bad as that But what you feel for trees I feel for the desert, I repliedDadiani s childish eyes blinked The desert, he said, fallow bushes and hot sand The world of trees perplexes me, your Highness It is full of fight and mystery, of ghosts and demons You cannot look ahead You are surrounded It is dark The sun s rays are lost in the twilight of the trees In this twilight everything is unreal No, I do not love he trees The shadows of the wood oppress me, and it makes me sad to hear the rustling of the branches I love simple things wind, sand and stones The desert is simple like the thrust of a sword I lose my way in the woods, your Highness Dadiani looked at me thoughtfully You have the soul of a desert man, he said Maybe that is the one real division between men wood men and desert men The Orient s dry intoxication comes from the desert, where hot wind and hot sand make men drunk, where the world is simple and without problems The woods are full of questions Only the desert does not ask, does not give, and does not promise anything But the fire of the soul comes from the wood The desert man I can see him has but one face, and knows but one truth and that truth fulfills him The wood man has many faces Maybe that is the main difference between East and West The example there would seem to have quite the Western interpretation, but there s just as many conversations the other way And I wonder if I only see the representative of the East coming off worse there because of my own Western or modern biases about tolerance I don t know But if this all seems too much just remember this was written in 1937, by a man who was born in Baku in 1904, and who therefore must be presumed to know what he is talking about He gives all sides a voice, lets everyone express both their superiority and their shortcomings inor less equal measure no one group is allowed to be pure For instance, our hero repeatedly thinks about killing Westerners for looking at his wife s shoulders or and is shocked by them asking about her in conversation interest in another man s wife being indecent in his society While at the same time he is the man who gives up the most of himself for love, tries his best to do whatever makes Nino happy even at the cost of his own identity, and is generally the most honest, kind, and reflective character in the book Characters representing the West are often shown to have the most drive, the most passion, and the clarity to see the way the world works, and yet they re also shown to be hypocritical, and of course. the horror of WWI Sadly, the author only has to conjure up the image of the machine gun or say the word trenches, to condemn what all the civilization of Europe has come to The fact that he wrote this on the eve of yet another world war is evenpoignant I ve heard that this is considered the Azeri national novel I d believe that It gives a visceral picture of the history, culture and every day life of the area at the time, andthan that deals with the larger conflicts that still plague the region today And not only the region elsewhere in the world as well The story of the author ties in to the theme of this work As fascinating as the novel, really He was born a Ukranian Jew, converted to Islam and became Essad Bey, and published under the name of Kurban Said He lived in Baku left for Berlin after the Russian Revolution , Berlin until Hitler , Austria and Italy There is evidence, actually, that the Austrian baroness he became friends with in the 1930s deserves co authorship of this book it is certainly based on his interactions with her, as is the other novel published under his name, The Girl From the Golden Horn This was a man who was used to trying on different identities and seeing what became him, what came closest to his Self, and a man who would know what it was like for someone to tell you what you were when you didn t consider yourself to be anything of that kind Reading this, I often had to remind myself that it was written in 1937 All of these things are still immediately important now East v West, the answer to the question What is Europe , the balance between preservation of culture and the natural progress of society, societal structures in a mixed religious society, the problem of what identity one really wants to fix one s Self to The questions of the twentieth century aren t over yet, not by a long shot, and it is truly amazing how far we have not come from the days of this novel Ali und Nino Ali and Nino A Love Story, Kurban SaidAli and Nino is a novel about a romance between a Muslim Azerbaijani boy and Christian Georgian girl in Baku in the years 1918 1920 It explores the dilemmas created by European rule over an Oriental society and presents a tableau portrait of Azerbaijan s capital, Baku, during the Azerbaijan Democratic Republic period that preceded the long era of Soviet rule It was published under the pseudonym Kurban Said The novel has been published Ali und Nino Ali and Nino A Love Story, Kurban SaidAli and Nino is a novel about a romance between a Muslim Azerbaijani boy and Christian Georgian girl in Baku in the years 1918 1920 It explores the dilemmas created by European rule over an Oriental society and presents a tableau portrait of Azerbaijan s capital, Baku, during the Azerbaijan Democratic Republic period that preceded the long era of Soviet rule It was published under the pseudonym Kurban Said The novel has been published inthan 30 languages, withthan 100 editions or reprints The book was first published in Vienna in German in 1937 This classic story of romance and adventure has been compared to Dr Zhivago and Romeo and Juliet Its mysterious author was recently the subject of a feature article in the New Yorker, which has inspired a forthcoming biography Ali and Nino is Kurban Said s masterpiece It is a captivating novel as evocative of the exotic desert landscape as it is of the passion between two people pulled apart by culture, religion, and war It is the eve of World War I in Baku, Azerbaijan, a city on the edge of the Caspian Sea, poised precariously between east and west Ali Khan Shirvanshir, a Muslim schoolboy from a proud, aristocratic family, has fallen in love with the beautiful and enigmatic Nino Kipiani, a Christian girl with distinctly European sensibilities To be together they must overcome blood feud and scandal, attempt a daring horseback rescue, and travel from the bustling street of oil boom Baku, through starkly beautiful deserts and remote mountain villages, to the opulent palace of Ali s uncle in neighboring Persia Ultimately the lovers are drawn back to Baku, but when war threatens their future, Ali is forced to choose between his loyalty to the beliefs of his Asian ancestors and his profound devotion to Nino Combining the exotic fascination of a tale told by Scheherazade with the range and magnificence of an epic, Ali and Nino is a timeless classic of love in the face of war 1984 1362 231 20 1371 302 1396 360 9786008513025 Read on the WondrousBooks blog. This book is widely compared to Romeo and Juliet and even Dr Zhivago and advertised as one of the best love stories of the last century But in my opinion it is muchthan just a love story In fact, I m not sure if I should call this a love story at all Many may decide to contradict me, but I will explain below Due to the fact that I found muchdepth to Ali and Nino than just the star crossed lovers theme, I showed some generosity with the rating, Read on the WondrousBooks blog. This book is widely compared to Romeo and Juliet and even Dr Zhivago and advertised as one of the best love stories of the last century But in my opinion it is muchthan just a love story In fact, I m not sure if I should call this a love story at all Many may decide to contradict me, but I will explain below Due to the fact that I found muchdepth to Ali and Nino than just the star crossed lovers theme, I showed some generosity with the rating, even though the narrative and writing weren t so much to my taste.Another note that I would like to make is that I usually review books in the language I read them, in this case Azerbaijani, but there are some things about Azerbaijan that I would like to say here and which I hope will reach my western friends I m also very excited about the movie which, I think, is currently filming starring the lovely Maria Valverde as Nino Ali and Nino does start out as a romance As we flip through the pages of Ali s memoirs of sorts, we see just how in love he is with her and that she also shares his feelings What is beautiful about their love at the beginning is how uncomplicated it is They love each other and that is that Their families accept it, their friends accept it, society accepts it Despite of religion, culture and personal beliefs, the simple fact exists that Ali and Nino are in love.With the development of the plot, however, we witness a completely other side of this story Layer after layer all sorts of events add up to form a relationship between the characters which is so complicated and at moments even dark, that I state again my uncertainty to see this book as a love story The childish romance between the characters becomes stained with blood after Nino is kidnapped by another man and by the laws of honor killing, Ali can take her life for it He doesn t out of love, out of honor After Ali flees Baku he spends a very long time away from Nino A narrative about Nino s actions after he leaves show a much darker shade of her personality She is no longer the dear child he dreams of, but instead a girl who only dances with the Russian boys at balls and has a dog she regularly beats in public.The rest of their relationship develops in a whirlwind of events, in the middle of which we see its many sides Love is such a small part of it there is passion, hate, tenderness, honor, stubbornness, shame, helplessness, belief, anger and so muchPage after page we are shown not only the character s personalities on their own, but also how they change when they are together and also due to the unfolding events in Azerbaijan.So is this love And if so, what is love Is it the simple fact that your world is someone else Or should love be looked for in the not so beautiful reality of being with someone for many reasons and not just childish romance Maybe it s the latter I am just going to leave this here The quote is my own translation, so forgive me if it doesn t do justice to the original Suddenly I felt that nothing in this world isvaluable and sacred to me than Nino s eyes full of laughter On the other hand, Ali and Nino is also extremely valuable on several other subjects out of which I m going to talk about one, and I would like here all westerners to think about it This book shows the struggles the Azerbaijani people go through in their self identification With one foot their are standing in Asia, proud, beautifully wild, owners of ancient traditions and a religion which at that period has no place in the West And then, with their other foot, they are tiptoeing on Europe, their culture is changing and developing, both thanks to their geographical location and due to the fact that they have such a painfully strong relationship with Russia Of course it is confusing from the way they should treat their women, to the questions which are posed many times in the book Should we keep our tradition to eat with hands or instead eat with knives and forks Should we drink wine, like the western people, or should we follow the Islamic rule of abstaining from it And what about pork then And yet, Azerbaijan is the first Muslim country to grant the women the right to vote 1917 and it did earlier than Austria and Germany 1918 , France 1945 and much earlier than Portugal 1976 There are manyto be added to this list, but I think you got the point that I m making Azerbaijan is also the first Muslim country to have operas and theaters, for that matter Why am I getting into this Because there are certain countries we don t know all that much about and with the help of Ali and Nino you can learn not only how developed Azerbaijan was even at the beginning of last century not even going to talk about today, Google it and see for yourselves , but also how they came to be like that and what struggles they went through to get there Because I, on behalf of other people, get ashamed when I tell someone I ve visited Azerbaijan and they reply something within the vicinity of Ohmigosh didn t they like shoot at you and like make you wear like a veil No Not even close I hesitate to write any review b c I feel I cannot do this book justice I simply adored it Probably the best book I will read this year Of course it is a love story, but so muchtoo It is a love story between a Georgian Christian girl and a Mulim boy from an historically famous family from Azebaijan Their love explores how dramatically different cultures can be blended given the right circumstances in this case true love West meets East in this novel You explore both ways of look I hesitate to write any review b c I feel I cannot do this book justice I simply adored it Probably the best book I will read this year Of course it is a love story, but so muchtoo It is a love story between a Georgian Christian girl and a Mulim boy from an historically famous family from Azebaijan Their love explores how dramatically different cultures can be blended given the right circumstances in this case true love West meets East in this novel You explore both ways of looking at life The author was born a Jew, but became a Muslim This makes his description of Eastern customs all thevivid because he loved them and chose to follow these principles Eastern culture is magnificently rendered Muslim ideology, Sunni versus Shiite differences, Ottoman and Persian and Georgian beliefs all are vividly depicted through legends and customs How both Ali and Nino are portrayed is so amazing because you understand how these two who love each other STILL see everything so completely differently It is beautiful to see how they compromise for each other And it is horrible to see when there is no possible compromise The reader gets both a familiar and an exotic world laid out before them You read about blood feuds, camels, the landscape and the history of Azerbaijan and much muchI simply cannot do this book justice.I wanted to quote dozens of paragraphs, but I simply couldn t choose one On every single page ideas are beautifully expressed If you do not believe me well just pick a page number and I will quote a bit to show you. Every single page has the reader thinking WOW or pondering a particular thought or way of looking at life Now I will read The Orientalist Solving the Mystery of a Strange and Dangerous Life, which is about this author of Ali and Nino Much of what happened in his own life is reflected int this novel Other than the title would make you assume this is not a romance novel, but rather a history book.The author uses the muslim Ali and the Georgian, christian Nino as personification of the oriental respective European culture and describes the heavy culture clash taking place in Aserbaijan at the beginning of the 20th century.I did not particularly enjoy this book but in acknowledgement of its historical importance I rate it with 3 stars Man k nnt Other than the title would make you assume this is not a romance novel, but rather a history book.The author uses the muslim Ali and the Georgian, christian Nino as personification of the oriental respective European culture and describes the heavy culture clash taking place in Aserbaijan at the beginning of the 20th century.I did not particularly enjoy this book but in acknowledgement of its historical importance I rate it with 3 stars Man k nnte schon allein durch den Titel vermuten, dass es sich hier um einen Liebesroman handelt Am Anfang des 20 Jahrhunderts verlieben sich in Baku die Teenager Ali und Nino, beides verw hnte Spr linge reicher und m chtiger Familien Trotz des kulturell unterschiedlichen Hintergrunds kommt es nach einigem Hin und Her zu einer Eheschlie ung.Als Leser merkt man dannn aber recht schnell, dass Ali und Nino nur Platzhalter f r die orientalische bzw europ ische Kultur sein sollen, anhand derer der Autor das heftige Aufeinanderprallen der unterschiedlichen Weltsichten beschreibt.Mir hat das Buch nicht sonderlich gefallen Insbesondere habe ich mich an dem Blutdurst und blindem Nationalismus der jungen M nner gest rt und der allgegenw rtigen Frauenverachtung Nat rlich wei ich, dass das den Tatsachen geschuldet ist, dennoch macht es keinen Spa dar ber zu lesen M glicherweise spielte es auch eine wesentliche Rolle, dass der Autor Ali als Ich Erz hler angelegt hatte, der dadurch die M glichkeit hatte seine unreifen und reaktion ren Ansichten im berma an den Leser zu bringen.In Anbetracht des historischen Werts dieses Buches, gebe ich 3 Sterne, obwohl die Lekt re f r mich kein Genuss war I devoured this in one day, on a plane flight back from Maui This is a book about a certain place and moment in time, but the love story is timeless The story is set in the Caucacus, on the Caspian Sea in what is now Azerbaijan, on the eve of World War I Ali Khan, a muslim boy, loves Nino, a Georgian Christian girl Somehow, their love survives their cultural differences, family hostilities, blood feuds, and never ending war By the end of the book, I knewthan I ever imagined about the I devoured this in one day, on a plane flight back from Maui This is a book about a certain place and moment in time, but the love story is timeless The story is set in the Caucacus, on the Caspian Sea in what is now Azerbaijan, on the eve of World War I Ali Khan, a muslim boy, loves Nino, a Georgian Christian girl Somehow, their love survives their cultural differences, family hostilities, blood feuds, and never ending war By the end of the book, I knewthan I ever imagined about the early 20th century history of the Caucasus and Persia But it s the love story that kept me turning the pages A beautiful little book, I highly recommend it Two years ago I was going to buy The Orientalist for my friend Tim, the owner of the now defunct Booklore said, oh, we also have a copy of Ali andNino in presently i looked at him rather blankly He then elaborated on the significance of such corresponding with the book I presently held, ready to purchase I see This occurred rather slowly, mind you I bought such and read it that weekend Oh, I didn t give the biography to Tim either. Dadash Beg has stabbed Achung Sade to death last week, because Achung Sade came back to town although he knew the danger, having kidnapped Dadash Beg s wife eight years ago He was stabbed on the day he came Now the police are looking for Dadash Beg But they won t find him, although everybody knows that he is in the village of Mardakjany Wise men say Dadash Beg has done well I have never heard of this book before and didn t know that they turned it into a movie two years ago My book club iDadash Beg has stabbed Achung Sade to death last week, because Achung Sade came back to town although he knew the danger, having kidnapped Dadash Beg s wife eight years ago He was stabbed on the day he came Now the police are looking for Dadash Beg But they won t find him, although everybody knows that he is in the village of Mardakjany Wise men say Dadash Beg has done well I have never heard of this book before and didn t know that they turned it into a movie two years ago My book club is reading this while we are visiting Azerbaijan I have just read Vasily Grossman s An Armenian Sketchbook and last year Leila Aboulela s The Kindness of Enemies, which is set for the most part in the Caucasus region Thanks to these books, I had some basic knowledge about the diversity of the region and a tiny little bit of historical background If I hadn t, I would have been lost As mentioned in the title, Ali and Nino is a love story Ali is a Shiite Muslim Azerbaijani, who loves the desert and the sand Nino is from an aristocratic Greek Orthodox family from Georgia They live in Baku, which is today known as Azerbaijan s capital city The city is also inhabited by Christian Armenians, Persians, Turks, Indians, Russians and whatnot The story is set around the 1st World War and the state of the nation isn t exactly determined yet On the one hand, there s the perpetual threat of the big neighbor, Russia On the other hand, there s Turkey, who are Sunni Muslim not exactly the same with Shia Islam, which is mainly found in Iran and they could massacre off the Armenians How can Ali and Nino s inter religious relationship survive in such a chaotic political climate, in the midst of Europe and Asia s boundary First of all, I was very surprised to find how light and funny the tone of the narration was Sometimes I could ve told myself that this was a contemporary novel and not published in 1937 by a mysterious writer, whose identity is still in dispute There are really a lot of parts, where I laughed and thought that the humor was very original and heart warming I learned a lotabout the Caucasus region, the oil that has already been extracted in Baku region around the time of the setting of the novel, the different people inhabiting the area and how they get along I was also quite shocked how open Ali and Nino s love relationship was, which wasn t really barred by social conventions and beliefs They are constantly torn between Europe and Asia, between Islam and Christianity, between the outside world and Baku If a reader is interested in learningabout this region, I recommend this book, because it s readable and informative with an interesting plot How marvelous, that we re in Asia, in wild, reactionary Asia We have no smooth roads for Western cars here, just rough paths for Karabagh horses how quickly can a car go on these roads, and how swiftly races a horse from Karabagh The melons on the roadside look at me as if they had faces Very bad road, the melons are saying, not for English cars Only for riders on Karabagh horses Ali and Nino would be a quite convential written love story apart from a few facts Firstly, the book is set in Baku, the capital of Azerbaijan, oil reach trans Caucasian country which many people would not be able place on the map The time frame is the turbulent beginning of the last century, the first oil boom, the Russian revolution, the Young Turks and the fall of Osman empire are just a few cataclysms affecting the region Secondly, the author of the book is unknown The book is written fr Ali and Nino would be a quite convential written love story apart from a few facts Firstly, the book is set in Baku, the capital of Azerbaijan, oil reach trans Caucasian country which many people would not be able place on the map The time frame is the turbulent beginning of the last century, the first oil boom, the Russian revolution, the Young Turks and the fall of Osman empire are just a few cataclysms affecting the region Secondly, the author of the book is unknown The book is written from the perspective of Ali, the young and rich Muslim Prince But the most likely author is a Jewish exile in Europe Lev Nisselbaum who has converted into Islam during his time in Germany and was known there as Essad Bey And lastly, the book was first published in 1937 in Germany very unusual place and time for such a novel.I would recommend to read this book if you are interested in the atmosphere and the history of the place The book is brilliant in describing the Caucasian region at the beginning of the last century I could not stop but feeling that the destiny of Caucasus falling under the Soviet rule was not inevitable at all Instead it was the one of the cruel cards served to the region in geopolitical games between the big powers Obviously a bit idealised, but Baku is described as a cosmopolitan vibrant rich city where Muslims, Christians and foreigners live together in a relative piece It was the fringe of the Russian Empire before the revolution However, strong case for the independence of the region really existed when the Empire has started to crumble Apart from Azerbaijan the main characters take us to Iran, Georgia and Dagestan The sense of place is always vivid Georgian hospitality, Persian sleepiness at the time, the simple life with the elements in a mountain village in Dagestan One can learn a lot of history in this slim novel There is also a powerful insight into a Muslim s male mind The main character is in love with the Georgian girl who is obviously Christian, cosmopolitan and does not want to compromise her identity beyond a certain measure She, for example refuses, to cover her face He, on the other hand, is trying to understand better where are the limits of his faith This is very ancient enigmatic region Armenia and Georgia existed well before any concept of Europe There predated the Byzantine Empire as well and were the ones of the first places in the world adopting Christianity Azerbaijan was the part of Persia, I believe That is why they are Shiite Muslims The book and the stories within it have resonated with me on personal level It reminded me the well forgotten trip of my youth The one of my first ever trips in fact When I was 16, the group from my school, has travelled on the train from Kiev to Baku The train journey took 70 hours one way When we arrived in Baku I felt that the ground literally moved under my feet for a day after that train s vibration But before we arrived, we experienced a lot of cultural shocks The group contained around 6 girls On the last day of our journey, two things happened First, we have seen the desert and proper caravan of camels travelling behind the windows of the train I had an impression the caravan was going quicker than we Secondly, our group leader, the young man of around 25 was approached by the group of Azerbaijani looking men with the business offer to sell us 6 girls for a good price Fortunately, we did not know what the men were talking about But they look very amiable and smiling Again, fortunately for us, our group leader has rejected their proposition saying he needs us for other things The simple word of our leader seemed to bepowerful than the legal aspect of the suggested proceedings So we were left alone, at least for a time being The city, when we arrived seemed empty, the powerful winds were blown alone the streets So when Baku was mentioned as a city of winds in the novel, it brought back a vivid memory We ve seen the Maiden tower beautiful medieval construction which is as well mentioned in the book We did not venture far enough without our sympathetic young local guide But he took us into very weird places like an illegal leather shop It was the time when the shelves of the proper shops were totally empty anywhere in the disintegrating Soviet Union So he probably wanted to please us But we did not have money anyway We ve also visited a Chikhana the place where men only were having tea from very small cups while biting sugar stones What was also striking how friendly the people were towards each other One might stop a trolleybus anywhere by just raising a hand It was the end pf 1989 I believe We left and in a few months Baku has become a centre of the bloody events Baku s pogrom I could not believe the news The last time something similar took place was the time of Ali and Nino.Ok, back to the book The life story of its alleged writer, Lev Nisselbaum was so dramatic that it was become the subject of the book itself The Orientalist Solving the Mystery of a Strange and Dangerous Life The american journalist Tom Reiss has followed the traces of Lev from Baku to Berlin and later to Italy were Lev died prematurely in 1942 Someone called Ali and Nino Azerbaijan s Doctor Zhivago There are certainly a lot of similarities However, the Pasternak s book is much stronger work of literature Ali and Nino is a profound document to the time and place, very moving, but the storytelling is relatively straightforward and a bit of overdramatising sometimes However, it contains a lot of interesting details about the cataclysms in the region and a moving love story I personally was also grateful for the opportunity of re living some moments of my 16 year old self which the book has dogged out from my memory "/>
  • Hardcover
  • 240 pages
  • Ali and Nino: A Love Story
  • Kurban Said
  • English
  • 10 March 2019
  • 0879516682