A collection of short stories and novellas of a prominent Qazaq writer Mukhtar Auezov under a title “Beauty in Mourning” has been translated into English for the first time and published by Qazaq Pen Club. Mukhtar Auezov wrote them in the nineteen twenties when he was young, but in spite of that fact they have gained a popularity not only in Qazaqstan, but also throughout the Soviet Union.
The book which was published by a well-known publishing house “The Russell Press Ltd” include such short stories and novellas as An Orphan's Lot, Beauty in Mourning, Savage Grey, Gunshot at the Pass and Turbulent Times. It is worth to mention that on the basis of one of his stories, namely “Gunshot at the Pass” was produced an eminent film. “This film has a philosophical ideology. It is about faith, betrayal, love, revenge, the most everyday topics that we have come across, encounter and may still be confronted because it is related to our human qualities ...”-wrote one of the viewers of the film in a discussion panel to the film.
Mukhtar Auezov’s works made a great influence on Qazaq literature and drama. His works are known and loved by almost every Qazaq. Works written by Mukhtar Auezov give a reader insights on Qazaq culture and customs, its people’s mentality and show importance of universal values. An issue of the collection "Beauty in mourning" was the next step in publication of a series of books under the accepted title "We are the Qazaq People", a project created in order to present the world the best works of Qazaq literature. The book was translated by British translation writers Simon Hollingsworth and Simon Geoghegan. As it was mentioned by the British experts in translation Mr.Simon Hollingsworth and Mr.Simon Geoghegan during London Book Fair held in April this year Mukhtar Auezov may stand in one line with the most outstanding writers of the 20th century thanks to his eminent contribution to the Qazaq and world literature. They invited anglophone readers to get to know more about Qazaqstan and its people through reading Mukhtar Auezov’s and other Qazaq authors’ books. “Qazaq authors’ books, like “Beauty in Mourning” written by Mukhtar Auezov are books that are worthy of your attention and worth the distraction” – said Mr.Simon Geoghegan during a discussion panel devoted to Qazaq writers. Mukhtar Auezov was born on the 28th of September in 1897 in Semipalatinsk region of Qazaqstan, which was a part of the Russian Empire at that historical moment. On his birthday Mukhtar's grandfather invited his close friend – a great Qazaq thinker, educator and poet Abai Kunanbayev and it will be a landmark event of his life. The whole life of the future writer will be closely connected to a personality of Abai Kunanbayev. In such a fertile ground Mukhtar Auezov grew up and later on became a renowned writer. His father died when he was 3 years old and his mother died when he was at his 14-15. His uncle Kassymbek shaped and nurtered Mukhtar's youthful ambitions by sending him to a madrasah, then to a Russian specialized school in Semipalatinsk. Later, Mukhtar received an initial pedagogical education. Mukhtar Auezov started to write when he was a student. One of his works, a romantic play „Enlik – Kebek” was presented for an audience at the marriage party of Abai Kunanbayev's grandaughter. As actors played grandchildren of Abai Kunanbayev and relatives and friends of the Author. Being a student, the young man together with his friend tried himself out in a publishing business - he issued a literary magazine. But the new authority found it ideologically inappropriate and closed it. In 1919 Soviet authorities came to govern this part of present Qazaqstan and young Mukhtar joined the Bolshevik Party. A skilled and full of ambitions young man was appointed to managerial positions. But Auezov did not quit writing dramas and prose, he worked in magazines, which Party leaders did not like. Soon he was expelled from the Party for his nationalist beliefs. Mukhtar Auezov decided to continue his education in Tashkent University. In 1923 a scientific folklore expedition, joined by a student Mukhtar Auezov went to collect poetic works of Abai in the Chingiz parish, an expedition was very successful, researchers found a great piece of Abai's literary and philosophical legacy. This expedition gave an impulse to Mukhtar Auezov to start a lifelong journey to Abai's world. Mukhtar Auezov soon found himself in Leningrad, continued his studies at the university, graduated with a short break in 1928. He returned with a university diploma to Tashkent, but he did not stop to gain knowledge - he became a post-graduate student of the Central-Asian University. The biography of the writer is inextricably linked with all the historical events of the country. In the early 1930s, the Bolsheviks interrupted the short course towards nationalization, when the development of culture, language, and local staff was welcomed. Later on repressions began again. Mukhtar Auezov fell under them. He was arrested and charged with involvement in an opposition organization. More than two years, he was excluded from a public life under a far-fetched pretext. After his release, he engaged in teaching activities and study the heritage of Abai closely. As a result, a collection of his poems appeared, a scientific edition of the works of the philosopher and educator was being prepared. Auezov's plays were staged successfully at a National Theater. But local bodies of the NKVD did not leave the young scientist alone: obstacles to the publication of his works were created, books already issued were withdrawn from shops and library funds. The persecution ended with the fact that he was forced to leave the country. In Moscow he co-operated with one of the leaders of the Soviet writers' union L.Sobolev, he continued to write his works. Here the tragedy "Abai", a considerable scientific work on the study of folklore was created, the folk songs of the Qazaq people were collected into a separate book. In 1941 Mukhtar Auezov returned to his homeland, worked in various literary and cultural institutions, continued to study the heritage and life of Abai. As a result, the first book under a title "Abai" was published, it was highly appreciated by the Authorities of Qazaqstan of that time. The author was awarded the highest labor reward. And after the release of two books of “Abai” already in the Russian version he was awarded the Stalin Prize. In 1945, the 100th anniversary of the great Abai was celebrated. Mukhtar Auezov wrote articles on this occasion, created a libretto for the opera and a script for a film about the poet's songs. This was a period of Mukhtar Auezov's professional and scientific recognition. He became a Doctor of Philology, an Academician of the Republican Academy of Sciences. But a new wave of persecutions of writers for various mistakes in civil views and positions took place in the country and Mukhtar Auezov was charged for his nationalist beliefs again and he was not allowed to work at the University. Again, he was away from his homeland, giving lectures on Qazaq literature to Moscow State University students. At the same time, he co-operated with the editorial offices of the central literary magazines published in the capital of the country. Despite all the trouble, that time was years of a hard creative work. In 1954, the writer finished a work of his entire life - the four-volume book "The Path of Abai". In the post-Stalin period, Mukhtar Auezov was given an opportunity to return to Almaty (at that time Alma-Ata). He was restored at his previous place of work. Later he participated in the political life of the country, he was elected twice to the Supreme Soviet. Mukhtar Auezov actively worked with the writers' organization, he traveled a lot around the world being on a business trip with literary delegations from Kazakhstan. In 1959 he was given the highly esteemed Lenin Prize for The Path of Abai. In the honour of the great writer and his achievements after Mukhtar Auezov's death one of the main streets in Almaty was named with his name and later on even a whole district appeared in the southern capital of Kazakhstan. Now every anglophone reader may find a small piece of work of a great Qazaq writer a book under a title “Beauty in Mourning” on amazon.com and make a fascinating journey to Qazaqstan.
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