Synopsis of Tobit

Ştefan Agopian | March 01, 2009
Translated by: Jean Harris


Inverting the religious tenor of the non-canonical Book of Tobit (in which Tobit père sends Tobit fils to marry Sara), Ştefan Agopian creates a novel about the story of a son, Tobit, sent by his father (aka Tobit) in quest of a wife, Sara. In Agopian’s tale, the dutiful search transforms into an anti-patriarchal episode. The Biblical action is transported to the fallen world. The Archangel Rafael appears as Rafail, a fallen angel in the form of a small, weak monk who accompanies young Tobit on this quest that has itself been transformed into a demythologizing historical novel that makes room for “symbolic” magic realist elements. Afflicted by the sense that “all of this” has been written before, Tobit sets out as per his father’s instruction.  The action takes place between 1716 and 1718 when the Romanian region of Oltenia is occupied by the Hapsburgs. While Tobit-the-Younger dreams of Sara, whom he never actually sees, the plot turns to real estate. On the road, Tobit discovers that he owns a mansion. Determined to recover it from the occupying Austrians, Tobit is at first imprisoned and loses an eye to his Austrian captors, but in this picaresque the man with one eye is later befriended by the Austrian general Haan. In the context of this friendship, the protagonist regains his lost property, but not for long. Trickery abounds. The Austrians depart. Tobit loses his house, and all is as it was before. What counts here is what Tobit sees—with his one, remaining eye. What he actually sees is half the story. The other half belongs to Sara, who sees things from her own point of view in (Sara) a novel of her own.


About this issue

This July, The Observer Translation Project leaves its usual format to present a special CRISIS ISSUE. Things are tough all over. Hard Times suddenly feels like the book of the moment. The global economic crisis impacts life as we know it, and viewed from Bucharest the effects reverberate in domains that include geo-politics and publishing in Romania and abroad, with the crisis at The Observer Translation Project as an instance of a universal phenomenon. read more...

Translator's Choice

Author: Vasile Ernu
Translated by: Monika Oslaj

Oda sovjetskom toaletu

Oda sovjetskom toaletu Posvećeno Iliji Kabakovu Za sovjetskog građanina ne postoji ništa intimnije od toaleta (Dopustite mi sa velikim poštovanjem koje imam prema ovom mjestu i ovoj ...

Exquisite Corpse

Planned events in Cultural Agenda see All Planned Events

17 December
Tardes de Cinema Romeno
As tardes de cinema romeno do ICR Lisboa continuam no dia 17 de Dezembro de 2009, às 19h00, na ...
14 December
Omaggio a Gheorghe Dinica Proiezione del film "Filantropica" (regia Nae Caranfil, 2002)
“Filantropica” è uno dei film che più rendono giustizia al ...
12 December
Årets Nobelpristagare i litteratur Herta Müller gästar Dramaten
Foto: Cato Lein 12.12.2009, Dramaten, Nybroplan, Stockholm I samband med Nobelveckan kommer ...
10 December
Romanian Festival @ Peninsula Arts - University of Plymouth
13 & 14 November 2009. Films until 18 December. Twenty of Romania's most influential and ...
10 December
Lesung und Gespräch mit Ioana Nicolaie
Donnerstag, 10. Dezember, um 19.30 Uhr Ort: Szimpla Café Gärtnerstrs.15, ...

Our Partners

Razvan Lazar_Dunkelkammer SENSO TV Eurotopics Institutul Cultural Roman Economic Forum Krynica Radio Romania Muzical Liternet Radio France International Romania Suplimentul de cultura Radio Lynx