TEHRAN (IBNA) --
Brilliant Serbian language novella, ‘The Damned Yard’ (1954) by Ivo Andrić, Croatian Yugoslav novelist, poet and short story writer, winner of the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1961 has been rendered again into Persian.
This work by an author whose writings dealt mainly with life in his native Bosnia under Ottoman rule, has been translated by Maysam Mir-Hadi. Ketab-e Tadaei Publishing has released the new Persian version of ‘The Damned Yard’ in 132 pages.
Ćamil, a wealthy young man of Smyrna living in the last years of the Ottoman Empire, is fascinated by the story of Džem, ill-fated brother of the Sultan Bajazet, who ruled Turkey in the fifteenth century. Ćamil, in his isolation, comes to believe that he is Džem, and that he shares his evil destiny: he is born to be a victim of the State.
Because of his stories about Džem’s ambitions to overthrow his brother, Ćamil is arrested under suspicion of plotting against the Sultan. He is taken to a prison in Istanbul, where he tells his story, to Petar, a monk.
Out of these exotic materials, Andrić has constructed a book of great clarity, brevity and interest. No doubt it will be read by some as a political parable about the tyranny of the State, but also as a quite simply story about ill-fortune and human misunderstanding, fear and ignorance.
Džem and Ćamil are doomed – and the certainty of their persecution is sometimes relieved, sometimes intensified by the stupidity and fright of the people who cross their ill-starred lives.
The reader is led on just such a chase in the course of the novel. The effect of this is to make the plot seem more like a poetic image than an ordinary plot: capable, therefore, of as many meanings as are the images of an allusive poem.
‘The Devil’s Yard’ is justified, as all symbolic and figurative novels must be, by the extent to which it touches the emotions. It is extremely moving. Fear, horror, despair, amusement at times- all these indicate that the threat of the meaning has been recognized.