Re: Learning to Read, from Tache de catifea / The Velvet Man

Ştefan Agopian | March 01, 2009
Translated by: Ileana Orlich


This excerpt comes from the first chapter of the novel Tache de catifea [Velvet Tache]The Velvet Man. The action unfolds in early 19th Oltenia, a province that would be incorporated in Romania when the country came into being in 1859. The novel therefore takes place during a time when Turkish attacks were not uncommon.1
In the portion of the novel leading to the fragment translated here, the narrator’s father has just been killed by Turks. Tache, the protagonist, is then three and a half years old. He returns home with his mother one day to find his father’s head grinning from the top of a pole, a punishment exacted by the Turks After this incident, mother and son flee the region and arrive in a big city, where the mother abandons her son to the care of a “bearded old man.”
Author: Ştefan Agopian
Translator: Ileana Alexandra Orlich
Title: Learning to Read, from Tache de catifea [Velvet Tache] The Velvet Man
[1] Submission to the Turks ended in 1877 when the country freed itself of Ottoman rule.

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