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Friday, March 19, 2010


[This is one of a series of entries on Milorad Pavic's writings. Here is the first post in the series.] Here is a list of some of Pavic's remarkable sentences. I am copying them down simply to share their wildness and weirdness, and, to fess up completely, in the hope that some of his tremendous skill might rub off on me:

"It is impossible to tell what the 1691 Daubmannus edition of The Khazar Dictionary looked like, since the only remaining exemplars, the poisoned and the silver (companion) copies, were both destroyed, each in it own part of the world." (8)

"Only fragments of the Daubmannus edition have reached us, just as sleep leaves a dusting of sand in the eye." (9)

"The hierarchy of death is, in fact, the only thing that makes possible a system of contacts between the various levels of reality in an otherwise vast space where deaths endlessly repeat themselves like echoes within echoes." 127

"He left behind his lute of white tortoiseshell, which that very same day began walking, turned back into an animal, and swam off into the Black Sea." 128

"After that, they never really abandoned Islam, although they went on to convert to Christianity and then to Judaism." (135)

"They are so resourceful they have oysters growing on trees." (144)

"The river that flows through the Khazar Empire has two names, because in the same riverbed half of its course runs from east to west and the other half from west to east." 144

"He was fond of saying that this revelation had come to him once when a fly was drowning in his eye as he watched a fish, and thus the fish fed on the fly." (154)

"He had a horse so swift that its ears flew like birds, even when it stood in place." (156)

"hot bread which has the dark face of your father and the navel of your mother." (159)

"He would string and tune his lute by the stars." (161)

"If all human dreams could be assembled together, they would form a huge man, a human being the size of a continent." (165)

"she with the dappled eyes that changed color in the cold like flowers" (161)

"She traveled thousands of miles to die in your dream" (163)

"In dream hunting the words of the Khazar dictionary are like a lion's tracks in the sand to the ordinary hunter." (165)

"He was a feminine key with a hole in its shaft, looking for a masculine lock with a bolt in its keyhole." (170)

"She suffered from an unusual disease: her left hand was faster than her right. She claimed her left hand was so fast that it would die before she did." (173)

"Darkness was falling in reddish flakes." (177)

"His deaths tore him into such shreds that nothing was left of him except this story." (181)

More Later

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