Magical-realistic motifs and mystic rituals in modern Georgian and Latin American novels

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Ada Nemsadze


Typological analogies are often revealed in fiction texts that are created in different cultural-geographic areas. This fact can be accounted for not only by similar fundamental changes in economic-cultural spheres but by many other reasons as well. Such analogies are particularly frequent when revealed through the usage of the method of magical realism.

The present research analyzes such analogies. For this purpose, we will compare a novel by Peruvian Nobel Prize Winner, Mario Vargas Llosa, Lituma en los Andes (Death in the Andes) (1993), with the novel by a renowned Georgian writer Otar Chiladze, A Man Was Going Down the Road (1973), and with the novel, published one year ago, Notes of a Kipchak who Lost One Eye or Deshti-Kipchak (2020) by a modern Georgian writer Beka Kurkhuli.

The novel by Mario Vargas Llosa bears very interesting resemblances with both Georgian texts. Alongside the story that unfolds realistically, in both texts, by Beka Kurkhuli and by Llosa, there exist parallel planes, or levels, where the actions develop through mythical time-space dimensions and the real characters of the novels simultaneously become the partakers in secretive, mystic-magical rituals (the Goddess of the desert Guli in Kurkhuli’s novel; and an evil creature Pishtaco in Llosa’s novel. Both creatures eat humans).

As for the resemblances between the novels by Otar Chiladze and by Llosa, semi-real and semi-mystical location – dining room – can be singled out. In Chiladze’s novel it is a forty-stepped cellar of Bakha. In Llosa’s novel, it is an underground dining hall of Dionysius. These locations play significant roles in unfolding the plots in both novels and even define the destinies of the main characters to a certain extent. All three authors refer to myths as archetypes and as alternative realities of reflecting and transposing modern contexts.

The analysis is based on one of the universal research methods, semiotics, through which certain functional meaning-bearing signs, symbols, codes and structures in fiction are decoded and interpreted, and therefore, typological nature of the mentioned analogies is underscored and validated in all three novels.

Published: Nov 14, 2022

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Minorities and/in Literature