Qazaq literature at present time is in the process of spiritual rebirth. As a result of political, economic and social changes in the life of the country, great changes took place that significantly influenced the spiritual world of society. Over a quarter of a century, the transformation of artistic and cultural values has taken place, and a modern national paradigm has managed to take shape. Our understanding of the world around us has been changed. The historical and social changes that took place after gaining independence influenced the worldview of writers and found reflections in their works. Soviet political and ideological oppression has been forgotten.
One of the bright representatives of the postmodern worldview in Qazaq literature is Aslan Zhaksylykov. He is a famous writer, translator, Doctor of Philological Sciences, professor of Al-Farabi Qazaq National University, author of more than two hundred scientific works and fifteen literary works. His pentalogy “Dreams of the Sinful People”, consisting of five parts: “The Singing Stones”, “Dreams of the Sinful People”, “The Other Ocean”, “House of the Suricate”, “A Return” is one of the most significant literary works of modern Qazaqstani literature.
Aslan Zhaksylykov, photo: www.litkarta.ru
The pentalogy before its publication passed lots of difficulties. Although the first novel “The Singing Stones” was written back in 1987, it took 10 years to publish it. It was published by one of well-known journals of Qazaqstan named “Prostor”. In 1998 the novel “The Singing Stones” was nominated by “The Russian Booker”. (“The Russian Booker” is a literary prize awarded between 1992-2017 for the best novel, written in Russian language and published in a magazine or as a separate book in the current year).
The author says in one of his interviews about his writing: “... My main work today is (at that time) a tetralogy. I have put in it all my knowledge about life and the Universe, my understanding of philosophy, psychology and philology. It was hard to write the book, because there was a long silence after I wrote “The Singing Stones”. Those years were truly difficult and testing for me. It was without a doubt the most difficult period of my entire life. I was tested thoroughly. I had even thoughts not to write anymore. Nevertheless, a journal “Prostor” published my work in 1997 and I started to believe in myself and began to work on the second and third books. Now I have in my hand my fourth book”.
It is difficult to describe the plotline of the pentalogy in brief. The novel is about war in the history of mankind and about philosophy. The author is trying to understand why the history of mankind is constantly accompanied by war. This topic is continuously developing throughout the entire novel, moving from one place of events to another, until in the fourth book the main hero comes to understanding that the causes of war lie in the nature of human thinking, in the phenomenology of language, in the dominance of dualism in it, in the indispensable presence of antithesis “pro” and “contra” in it. The author emphasizes the importance of observing yourself, making analysis of your behavior as you are another not-involved in the process person, to develop consciousness, which will help to control your emotions and feelings. He explains that a human-being has been given life to understand the vastness and depth of being.
He believes, that the tragic pages of history are result of obscurantism, political games of people, who are greedy for power, the struggle of classes, clans, parties, ideas. The sad thing about all the mentioned is disappearance from the history of mankind of a number of tribes and peoples. In the author’s opinion, many of them who disappeared could not imprint even a word in the history. If someone was able to do that, it is considered to be a great success. But it could be done if there is a wisdom. It means, when you can stop, think over and come to common understanding with your neighbor, it may be your stairwell neighbor or a neighboring country. The main thing is to learn to help each other, together go to coexistence. Cooperation and co-existence in the movement towards happiness and enlightenment is the main idea of the pentalogy “Dreams of the Sinful People” by Aslan Zhaksylykov.
In the fourth book, in the climactic scene, the author shows how one of the main characters named Wanderer reaches enlightenment, realizing that life is only light. Our existence consists of different types of light, and each of us is only light, and we must live like light and for the sake of light. It is very difficult, but it is extremely necessary for us.
According to Aslan Zhaksylykov, our civilization at present moment is at a very interesting point. From the one side, high technologies such as nanotechnology, molecular cybernetics open up amazing prospects for us, but from the other side we are on dangerous ground, animal extinction, underwater glacial melting, the threat of a third world war and other problems pose colossal threat to human existence.
In 2012, Aslan Zhaksylykov completed writing the fifth book, entitled “A Return” - its plot is completely derived from previous books, it compositionally combines the beginning and end of the entire cycle. It completes the life path of the Wanderer, one of the main narrators, there is farewell to him and trial over him.
This part of the pentalogy was published in fragments in the Qazaqstani journals “Tamyr”, “Prostor”, and in the joint Literary Almanac “Qazaqstan – Russia” (2015).
It is quite difficult to read the pentalogy for an ordinary reader. It is intended to be read by scientific and creative circles, representing poets, philosophers, culturologists, artists, musicians. This pentalogy is outlandish, extraordinary, its understanding requires some reflection from the reader.
It is interesting to note that almost all the works of Aslan Zhaksylykov come to the author through dreams, he just need to take a seat and write an ideal text down on paper. His creative process is transpersonal. To balance his inner energy, he practices meditative running and walking.
About the Author
Aslan Zhaksylykov was born in 1954. His parents planted in him a love for literature. Both of them were teachers at a local secondary school: his father taught Geography and his mother taught Qazaq language. Both parents knew Qazaq literature and folklore very well.
He began writing after school while serving in the Soviet Army in 1973. At the hospital, Aslan Zhaksylykov wrote a historical novel. Although the story was raw, it pushed him onto the path of creativity. After demobilization, he arrived in Almaty to enter the Faculty of Philology and become a writer. In 1987-88 he wrote the first novel “The Singing Stones”. He lives in Almaty.
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