ELKOST International Literary Agency

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The Witness, 1993

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Rights sold to: Germany - Volk und Welt, Italy - Isbn Edizioni, Spain - Lumen, Poland - Claroscuro



"This novel is intensely passionate, and rich in fresh images and patterns..." (Silvia Bambino, The Wanity Fair)

"The Witness" is the first-person narrative of the life story of a simple human being, a barber Fedor Petrovich, whose life's most intense and dramatic period was the incorporation of his native Bessarabia into the Soviet Union in 1940, accompanied by coercion from the new command structure, which affected social relationships and caused enormous suffering due to famine brought on both by prolonged drought and by mistakes in official planning and preparation.

In the speck on the map called Kotlovina, the entire historical drama, starting with the so-called Soviet liberation from Romanian rule, was played out to its horrible end with very few survivors to live and tell about it.

The novel's success is based on the vivid and laconic presentation of its characters. "The Witness" projects the speech pattern of a simple, uneducated man. This style makes use of down-to-earth expressions, is unafraid of repetitions, takes notice of the simple things in life (of a person's outward appearance, of smells and fragrances, all very appropriate to a barber's profession), is not averse to rudeness in language and behavior, and above all is a stranger to all dissembling and pretense. The events told are viewed through the prism of recollection, which softens their horrible contours somewhat and which allows the theme of brotherhood to emerge and feelings of hatred to dissolve. Honesty and lack of pretense are the author's hallmark, and it is these features which characterize his artistic expression.