Time in Yerevan: 11:07:36,   25 April

"Armenpress" introduces bestseller books list 2/36

YEREVAN, OCTOBER 31, ARMENPRESS. "The Little Prince" by French author Antoine de Saint-Exupéry tops this week's "Bestseller Books List" introduced by "Armenpress" News Agency. The novella is both the most read and most translated book in the French language, and was voted the best book of the 20th century in France. The book was translated into more than 250 languages and dialects, as well as Braille.

Saint-Exupéry, a laureate of several of France's highest literary awards and a reserve military pilot at the start of the Second World War, wrote and illustrated the manuscript while exiled in the United States after the Fall of France. He had travelled there on a personal mission to persuade its government to quickly enter the war against Nazi Germany. In the midst of personal upheavals and failing health he produced almost half of the writings he would be remembered for, including a tender tale of loneliness, friendship, love and loss, in the form of a young prince fallen to Earth.

"The Book of Whispers" by contemporary Armenian writer Varujan Vosganian occupies the second position of our ranking list. The Book of Whispers begins in a picturesque register, on a lane of the Armenian quarter of Focşani in the 1950s, among the steam of freshly roasted coffee and the scents of grandmother Armenuhi’s larder, among the old books and photographs of grandfather Garabet. But the reader is not left to savour the intimacy of this hearth and home and nor is he invited to chat with the merry folk who in peacetime spin stories about Ara the Fair and Tigran the Great. Varujan Vosganian's "old Armenians from childhood" have no delectable tales to tell, but rather events that are thoroughly disturbing. In narrating these events, they attempt to disburden themselves of a trauma – their own and that of their forbears.

The history of the 1915 genocide against the Armenians, the history of the interminable convoys of those banished into the Circles of Death, into the Deir ez Zor Desert, the history of General Dro’s army, the history of the Armenians who followed the path of exile in the Stalinist period – all these and many other biographically filtered histories are to be found illustrated in the pages of this unsettling book.

"Memories of My Melancholy Whores" by Márquez occupies the third place. The book was translated into Armenian from the Russian version by Hovhannes Ayvazyan in 2010. "Memories of My Melancholy Whores" is dedicated to the love affairs of an old journalist, who falls in love with a young girl.

“Father Goriot” by French novelist and playwright Honoré de Balzac occupies the fourth place. Set in Paris in 1819, it follows the intertwined lives of three characters: the elderly doting Goriot; a mysterious criminal-in-hiding named Vautrin; and a naive law student named Eugène de Rastignac.

Originally published in serial form during the winter of 1834/35, Le Père Goriot is widely considered Balzac's most important novel. It marks the first serious use by the author of characters who had appeared in other books, a technique that distinguishes Balzac's fiction. The novel is also noted as an example of his realist style, using minute details to create character and subtext.

''The Book of Lamentations: Hymns'' by St. Gregory of Narek published by Nairi printing house occupies the eighth place of this week's "Bestseller Books List" introduced by "Armenpress" News Agency. The mystical poem "Book of Lamentations" has been translated into many languages and has played a significant role in the development of the Armenian literary language. In 95 grace-filled prayers St. Gregory draws on the exquisite potential of the Classical Armenian language to translate the pure sighs of the broken and contrite heart into an offering of words pleasing to God. The result is an edifice of faith for the ages, unique in Christian literature for its rich imagery, its subtle theology, its Biblical erudition, and the sincere immediacy of its communication with God. This masterpiece by St. Gregory of Narek has always been included in our bestseller books list. 

"The Alchemist" novel by contemporary Brazilian author Paulo Coelho is the sixth. This book has been translated into 67 languages and according to AFP, it has sold more than 30 million copies in 56 different languages, becoming one of the best-selling books in history and winning the Guinness World Record for most translated book by a living author. 

 “The Piano Teacher” by Austrian Nobel Prize winner Elfriede Jelinek is on the seventh place. The most popular work from provocative Austrian Nobel laureate Elfriede Jelinek, The Piano Teacher is a searing portrait of a woman bound between a repressive society and her darkest desires. Erika Kohut is a piano teacher at the prestigious and formal Vienna Conservatory, who still lives with her domineering and possessive mother. Her life appears boring, but Erika, a quiet thirty-eight-year-old, secretly visits Turkish peep shows at night and watched sadomasochistic films. Meanwhile, a handsome, self-absorbed, seventeen-year-old student has become enamored with Erika and sets out to seduce her. She resists him at first—but then the dark passions roiling under the piano teacher’s subdued exterior explode in a release of perversity, violence, and degradation.

 “My Name Is Red” by writer Orhan Pamuk comes the eighth. At once a fiendishly devious mystery, a beguiling love story, and a brilliant symposium on the power of art, My Name Is Red is a transporting tale set amid the splendor and religious intrigue of sixteenth-century Istanbul, from one of the most prominent contemporary Turkish writers.

The Sultan has commissioned a cadre of the most acclaimed artists in the land to create a great book celebrating the glories of his realm. Their task: to illuminate the work in the European style. But because figurative art can be deemed an affront to Islam, this commission is a dangerous proposition indeed. The ruling elite therefore mustn’t know the full scope or nature of the project, and panic erupts when one of the chosen miniaturists disappears. The only clue to the mystery–or crime? –lies in the half-finished illuminations themselves. Part fantasy and part philosophical puzzle, My Name is Red is a kaleidoscopic journey to the intersection of art, religion, love, sex and power.

"Like Every Evening" by renowned Iranian-Armenian writer and novelist Zoya Pirzad occupies the ninth place. Pirzad's first novel, Cheragh-ha ra man khamush mikonam ("I Will Turn Off the Lights"; published in English as Things We Left Unsaid) has been published numerous times in Iran and has been translated to several languages. She won the Hooshang Golshiri Literary Award for The Best Novel of the Year for her "superb characterization, ingenious representation of the conflicting emotions of a woman, creating suspense through defamiliarization of everyday life, creating a language in perfect harmony with the theme and characters of the novel".

"Let Me Whisper It in Your Ear" inclosing poems by prominent Armenian author Paruyr Sevak occupies the final position of the Bestseller Books List introduced by “Armenpress” News Agency.. It occupies the nineth position. Sevak was born Paruyr Ghazaryan in Chanakhchi (now Zangakatun) village, Armenian SSR, Soviet Union to Rafael and Anahit Soghomonyan on January 24, 1924. Young Paruyr attended the village school and later in 1940 moved to Yerevan to study at the philological faculty of Yerevan State University. He graduated from the YSU in 1945. The same year he starts a postgraduate study of Armenian literature at the Academy of Sciences Abeghyan Institute of Literature. In 1951 Sevak went to Moscow to study at the Gorky Institute of World Literature. Graduating from that institute Sevak works there in 1957-59 as a translating professor.

Completed by Roza Grigoryan


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