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Az by Jasna Horvat, (ogled i preporuka knjige/ book review and recommendation )








Reminiscent of Sailing to Sarantium, this novel is (among other places) set in 9th century Constantinople (today better known as Istanbul). Az falls into category of historical fiction. In my personal view, the main characters of this novel are not (as implied in the description) Cyril and Method , but rather Byzantine queen Theodora. Her characterization was handled brilliantly. She is a very present character in this book. Moreover, she is the one who sets things into motion. Naturally, one doesn't expect the holy brothers to be as involved in political affairs as a queen, but still it could be maintained that their portrayal lacked warmth. At times, they were left handing neither here nor there, neither saints, neither humans- if you know what I mean. Their historical importance as legendary Greek monks who gave Slavs their literacy was well elaborated on and explained in this novel, but I was left wanting more. Theodora, on the other hand, was most convincing and she reminded me a lof of the protagonist of The White Queen, particularly when it came to her obsession with magic. The novel as whole was a very interesting read. Many of its passages were quite poetical. In addition, I appreciated those bits of mysticism that got woven into the story. It is almost as if there is a spiritual challenge in the novel itself. It makes one question things and it makes one want to learn more. Nevertheless, I must stress that I didn't like the portrayal of saint Cyril and Method. The legendary brothers deserved to be described with more precision and care. Known primarily as creators of Slavic alphabets (and revered as Slavic apostles), these brothers had very interesting (and somewhat tragic) lives. I feel like there was more that could have been said about them- but maybe that's just me. Apart from that, it is a fine piece of historical fiction, one that isn't completely routed in facts, but is well informed and imaginative enough. As someone with an interest in Byzantine's history, I really enjoyed it. 



Az je prvo slovo glagoljice, a u ovome romanu pomalo se pretvara i u izazov. Az= Ja. Tko sam ja?
Što je smisao života? Čini se da je u samoj glagoljici dan svojevrsni odgovor na to pitanje, odgovor u samoj abecedi, odgovor koji glasi ABVGDEŽ3- ja kršćanin koji slova znam govorim da je dobro časno živjeti na zemlji. Glagoljica je uvijek zanimljiva tema, zar ne? Predgovor knjige kaže da je ova knjiga namijenjena odmornima (što to god značilo), a i onima koji su dovoljno uporni. Pitam se na što se to odnosi- na one koji su dovoljno uporni tražiti značenja? Možda sve ovo zvuči pomalo pretenciozno, ali zapravo je ova knjiga jako čitka. Red legendi, red pripovijedanja, red podataka o glagoljici, a sve je dosta dobro spojeno. Roman je dovoljno zanimljiv u svojim zagonetnim i mističnim dijelovima da nas natjera na neka duhovna promišljanja. U tom pogledu mi se vrlo svidio. 



No, ne bi rekla da je ovo knjiga o Konstantinu Ćirilu. Kao lik, on je meni u ovome romanu sasvim nejasan. Izgubio se u misticizmu? Zapravo i ne. Nisu mi smetali mistični elementi, niti njegov prikaz kao asteškoga čovjeka posve zadubljenoga u svoje naučavanje i stvaranje. Zapravo je riječ da kao lik nije dobro razvijen. Nejasno je što osjeća, kako i zašto stvara, barem se meni tako učinilo. Kao da je ostavljen po strani. Pojavljuju se neke natuknice, daju se neka objašnjena, ali sve je to meni pomalo neuvjerljivo. Jednako tako, njegov brat Metod je prikazan kao slabašan čovjek koji sumnja u svoga mlađega brata. Teško mi ga je povezati sa povijesnim Metodom koji je preživio progone i zarobljavanja, koji se tolike godine hrabro borio za sve ono što su on i Konstantin Ćiril zajedno postigli. 

Shvaćam da nije lako pisati o nekome koga se smatra svetim. Shvaćam. Vidim da je spisateljica pokušala učiniti braću više ljudskim likovima, ali čini mi se da joj nije to uspjelo. Kada ih opisuje kao ljudi, čine se odviše slabi, kada ih opisuje kao svece, čine se previše daleki. Zar ljudsko uvijek mora biti slaba? Zar nije ljudski i osmijeh i prijateljstvo? 

Kada se radi o braći, očekivala sam ne samo više topline u njihovom prikazu, već i više spominjanja njihova rada (pa i intelektualnih sposobnosti po kojima su među ostalim bili poznati). Zapravo to i ne bi bilo tako teško za uvrstiti u tkivo romana, pogotovo jer postoje povijesni zapisi o njihovim legendarnim debatama, ali nekako u ovom romanu ti dijelovi nisu došli do izražaja. Spominju se te Konstantinove debate, ali nisu mi se učinile toliko dojmljivima koliko sam držala da su trebale biti. Slovo Iskona mi je bilo jedno deset puta zanimljivije po tome pitanju, a radi se o stručnoj knjizi. Ukoliko vam zanima ova tema, svakako preporučujem Slovo Iskona. U toj knjizi su mi se braća učinila puno bliža nego u ovoj knjizi.




Isto se ne može reći za caricu Teodoru koju Konstantin smatra majkom, jer ona je zapravo (opet po mome mišljenju) središnji lik romana. Njeno čaranje, ali i ponašanje, podsjetilo me veoma na junakinju knjige Bijela kraljica, ali s tom razlikom da mi je lakše bilo suživjeti se sa njenim likom. Njen odnos prema jednoj od njenih kćeri mi se učinio veoma ljudskim, a i njena prisjećanja na mrtvoga muža su bila vrlo dirljiva. Ona, Azijatkinja, odabrana za ženu caru, a da se i nije tomu nadala i da nikad nije bila sasvim sigurna zašto ju je car odabrao- iz ljubavi, ili su druge kandidatkinje bile suviše opasne? Carica je žena u pravom smislu riječi, pametna, ali i emotivna, intuitivna, ali i tvrdoglava, puna suprotnosti, ali i ispunjena ljubavlju.

Teodora ovoga romana je tragični lik, razapeta između ljubavi prema izopačenom sinu (prestonasljedniku) i kćerkama (koje je taj isti sin osudio na samostan). Teodora, velika carica, duhovnu utjehu pronalazi u Konstantinu koji se obrazovao sa njenim sinom (to je prema povijesnim podacima točno) i u kojem vidi sve ono što njen sin nije i ne može biti, u Konstantinu ona vidi- vrlinu, pamet i duhovnost. Zapravo njen odnos prema Konstantinu ga donekle oživljava kao lika i sprječava da ostane sasvim dalek. 




Kao djelo povijesne fikcije, ova je knjiga po meni uspjeh. Zgodna je mješavina povijesnih istraživanja i povijesne fikcije, a čini mi se da mi mogla biti odlično sredstvo da se ljudima približi ovo dinamično povijesno razdoblje. Moja druga zamjerka, uz samu karakterizaciju Konstantina Ćirila i Metoda, je i dio romana koji opisuje njihov posjet Hrvatskom. Naime, ti opisi Hrvatske koja samo čeka svoje pismo su mi se učinili malo pretjeranima, a na koncu i nekako umjetnima. Sa druge strane, autorica je dobro iskoristila tu epizodu da bi uključila neke nove legende o postanku samoga pisma. No, kad smo kod putovanja braća, njihovo putovanje Kazarima mi je također činilo pomalo umjetnim. Jednako tako, Konstantinova epizoda zaljubljenosti u Kaganicu mi se činila prekopiranom iz Osmana ( Osman sjećate se Sokolice?) i posve neuvjerljivom. 



Sveukupno, roman mi se veoma svidio, unatoč nekim manjim zamjerkama. Radi se o vrlo originalnom i dobro smišljenom djelu. Možda nije naodmet ni spomenuti da mi se samo izdanje djela svidjelo i da bi ga baš bilo dobro imati u svojoj osobnoj biblioteci (ako tražite knjigu koja je uz to što je sadržajna i lijepa). Kao što sam rekla, ova je knjiga uspjela dosta toga uključiti unutar sebe. Dašak misticizma nije bio naodmet, a sviđa mi se kako je ostavio neke stvari na volju mašte. Doista, teško je biti posve određen i siguran kada je riječ o postanku slavenskih pisama. Bolje je ostaviti u svemu tome malo čarolije, jer tko zna, možda je tu i bila neka čarolija na djelu. Jeste li ikada pokušali pisati glagoljicom? Probajte.









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