ELKOST International Literary Agency

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Sofichka, 1997

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The novella is a third-person, realistic narrative describing the life story of the Abkhazian woman named Sofichka. Sofichka falls in love with the young Rouf, who is half Abkhazian and half Turkish. Sofichka's relatives scorn Rouf, but Sofichka marries him despite the family's opposition. She is a good wife and loves her husband dearly, but Rouf is hated by her kin, and her brother Nuri kills him. Sofichka refuses all advances and does not remarry, remaining true to her husband into old age. Moreover, she repudiates her brother Nuri who, time and again, begs her for forgiveness. In the end, she forgives Nuri but cannot forgive herself. She becomes depressed, believing that she has betrayed her husband, and then becomes ill, and dies. Like most of Iskander's early narratives 'Sofichka' is set in the environs of Chegem. The customs and the lore of the people there have changed little, but the humour and banter of Iskander's early prose have disappeared. Instead, sadness, adversity, and unhappiness prevail. The character of Sofichka, who embodies devotion and goodness, goes down in defeat, and it is juxtaposed with other characters who are jealous, greedy, and rapacious.