THE SUNNY NIGHT by Nodar Dumbadze


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Samples of Russian literature of the last three decades which have reached here and for which American publishers have been assiduously digging, seem to have the fragile rigidity of pressed moths, either because of hyperthyroid translations so that the characters chatter like teletype or because the deviation from what is guessed at as the Soviet ""norm"" is the sole criterion for publication. Fortunately this small novel bursts with life and humor and explodes with emotion of a peculiarly Russian order. To be sure, the narrator ""Teymo"" leaps through grief, joy and love like a heldentenor, and as Teymo describes his university, ""Commotion and uproar reign day and night, night and day."" However, in this view of university students in the days of Stalin, the irresistible force of youth to chafe away at the restrictions of circumstance and society, is a companionable drum beat to the chaos without. Teymo's mother returns from jail where she had spent twelve years, and Teymo at twenty is thrown from hell and back again as he at last accepts her return. He falls in and out of love, invites trouble by helping an imprisoned classmate, sleeps with an accommodating lady, finds at last his true mate. Amid shouting, heckling, students and ""Party"" student meetings, seas and sunsets, drinks and talk, Teymo emerges whole, strong, outrageous, delightful, and even the death of his mother is a dedication. Invigorating.

Pub Date: May 1st, 1968
Publisher: Washington Square Press