The Alphabet for the Disobedient, Venko Andonovski's most famous novel, makes us feel like a child being re-read a fairy tale or legend and now, caught in the atmosphere of the familiar but long forgotten, we remember the images and feelings that accompany such a narrative. In the novel, Andonovski allegorically depicts the world we live in as a beautiful and mysterious coffin in which we store our secrets, valuables and memories, and we often proudly show it to everyone; metaphorically, the man in the coffin, presumably as his greatest value, goes to his final rest.
Each chapter begins with the letter of the Phoenician script and develops an authentic story of the conflict of good and evil. The story is set in 863, in the monastery of Polychron, before the departure of Constantine the Philosopher on a mission to Moravia. It is a turning point, an almost apocalyptic time: word, letter, culture, everything is in crisis and it is a real opportunity to end one cosmic cycle and start another. Will the values built so far collapse in these changes? This is exactly what has happened – evil overcomes, and good is dumb, beauty gives way to speed and greed, justice to injustice, and illiteracy replaces literacy – so that things can be temporarily calmed and balanced.
The Alphabet for the Disobedient is a novel in which, unlike the Bible, the idea of obedience is demonic and the idea of disobedience is divine. Evil requires obedience. After all, what has changed from the Middle Ages to the present day?
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Every morning the students found the books in a completely different position than they had left them; if, for example, they were on the last line of letters, in the morning they found a letter written to the middle, but of a completely different handwriting. From this Father Eftimius draws the conclusion that someone enters the seminar in the evening and with the help of some strange action, without scraping with a knife, erases what the students have done, and then with his own hand, but very slowly, prints the same handwriting with beautiful letters! The swift Euthymius accelerates his reign because the swift are only obedient to speed, and so without much thought he orders me to lock Varlaam in his cell and hand him the key. He also asked me to take the second key from the seminar to Barlaam and hand it over to him.
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Then, all in a convulsion, they tied up Nun, the one who slept innocently all night, with an innocent and happy smile at the feet of her man, her savior, and chased her away, frightened, pale, crying. After him they pursued the Beautiful One with their hands tied behind their backs, and behind him also Varlaam; and when Nathanael the Obedient whispered something to Father Eftimius, he called the elder guard and introduced him to the seminary. He stood there above the book with the manuscripts of Michael the Immaculate, Glagolitic, which he called, because his tongue was long and disobedient, and they read the word of shame, and Nathanael the Obedient became angry, but his soul rejoiced because he managed not to reveal his cunning; and they bound Michael also, and pursued him in the way they went: his teacher, and my teacher, and no man's wife.
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Venko Andonovski (1964), novelist, playwright and literary theorist. He is a professor of Macedonian and Croatian literature, narratology, semiology, communication and cultural studies at the Faculty of Philology in Skopje. He is the most widely read Macedonian writer and the most performed Macedonian playwright in the last twenty years. He is the author of dozens of books of various genres. He has received all Macedonian awards for prose, drama and criticism, as well as many international awards. His novels and plays have been translated into twelve languages.
- ISBN: 978-953-8075-93-3
- Dimensions: 128 x 190 mm
- Number of pages: 148
- Cover: paperback
- Year of the edition: 2021
- Original title: Azbuka za neposlušnite
- Original language: Macedonian
- Translation: Borislav Pavlovski