Solar plexus by Rustam Ibragimbekov

Solar plexus ( A Baku saga in four pars ) by Rustam Ibragimbekov

Azerbaijan fiction

Original title -Солнечное сплетение

Translator – Andrew Broomfield

Source – review copy

Our house, in the middle of our street
Our house, in the middle of our

Our house it has a crowd
There’s always something happening
And it’s usually quite loud
Our mum she’s so house-proud
Nothing ever slows her down
And a mess is not allowed

Our house by madness seemed a rather good choice for this book -source 

Well when i receive the email to review this book ,I jump at the chance it isn’t often these days I get to add a new country and writer to the list of book from on this blog ,so a chance to read a book from Azerbaijan is a real treat .I hadn’t heard of Rustam Ibragimbekov ,but he has been well known in Russia and then Azerbaijan for his film making ,his father was an art historian ,Rustam went on to study in Azerbaijan and then in Russia where in Moscow he studied cinematography .He then start writing films and tv scripts ,his best known film is” White sun of the desert “,a cult film ,that has been shown to Russian cosmonauts just before they take off for a number of years .

He barely caught glimpse of her in the gloom of the entrance : two quick strides up two steps at a time , and she disappeared completely round the bend in the staircase .He was no longer afraid of being noticed.He wanted to get another look at her ,before listening to her rapid steps .

Alik follow the girl from the drama group .

Solar Plexus is four short novella length stories that track the course of a family in the capital city of Azerbaijan Baku in one building  and friends  we follow four genrations stories throughout the 20th century .The action focus on the peroid of 1940 to 1990 and four stories from those years we follow three genrations from 27 Shemakhinka street and the courtyard with in this address and the people hat live with in the courtyard .We open with Alik and his family ,Alik is involved in a drama group ,well he really likes one of the women in the drama group .Then we move on to Marat’s story he works at the quarry ,then we follow the Rectors story as he sees to the people round him .the last story follows the courtyard and its folks as a whole as they head toward Azerbaijan become a country once again as the Soviet union falls apart .

The first feeble but unanimous impulse we all felt when we emerged ,exhausted from the militia station was go straight home .But in 1992 Baku still retained some of the qualties of the real Baku ,and from out of nowhere we were suddenly surrounded by a gang of young men shouting in delight ,led by two twenty-year-old giants – Marat’s sons .

Near the end the sons and grandsons of the original families see Azerbaijan free again .


After reading about Rustam’s film and tv career ,well he is well-known for his talent at mixing tragedy and comedy together .The stories in here are a personnel glimpse of everyday life in Baku through the eyes of these families that are so different but due to the fact they share a courtyard interact with each other every day .The world outside is seen the end of world war two ,the Soviets taking charge ,the bad years of Stalin ruling with the purges ,but also we see how they slowly try to take over Azerbaijan making it more Russian than Azerbaijan . A wonderful mix of romance and comedy .We then glimpse how the people and country as a whole start to believe in the fact they could once again become a separate country as they saw at a distance what was happening in Moscow and elsewhere in the Soviet Union

Have you a favourite book from one of the former Soviet countries ?

Winston’s library books and a couple of second hand books

IMG_1933Now I have decide to keep my weekend book posts for the new books I get sent or  have brouight myself  and in between times do posts on second-hand finds and library books ,I have borrowed ,I love he library but often return books unread as ,I get caught up in the new book rat race ,so i decided this visit to borrow four books by writers I have read before .

Blind willow ,sleeping woman by Haruki Murakami – I read this about six years ago ,just before I started the blog and saw it today and decide to include it as the books by him I have so far on the blog are all novels and this is a short story collection .

3 Arched bridge by Ismail kadare -I review his latest book , the twilight of eastern gods and whilst writing that I looked at the ones I hadn’t read by him and this was one of the ones that was top of that list as it follows the building of a bridge between the Balkans and europe ,I was reminded of the pyramid by him .

By night in Chile by Roberto Bolano  –  I hope to get all his books on the blog over some point so a political satire ,and with the Opus Dei in it so another to the list of his on the blog I hope .

Fear and trembling by Amelie Nothomb – I read character of rain a few year ago , and said then I did like to read more books by Nothomb so this short novel is the next one I have found .It follows a fictional version of her self spending a year in Japan .Also makes a change from Simenon who has been my main Belgian writer this year .


I also called in my local Oxfam shop and found these two –

Eucalyptus by Murray Bail – well choose this for two reasons the title and cover caught my eye and the second reason was Michael Ondaatje on the cover as he is a writer whose book I have enjoyed so I thought i give this a whirl and handy for australian reading month 2015 .

In filtration by Yehoshua Kenaz – I have enjoyed a number of hebrew novels based in the time around the foundation of Israel so this is another and one that I hadn’t heard of before .

What books have you got from the library recently ?


September 2014


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