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No Loaded Guns in Class

Thomas de Waal: Kurban Said, 19 October 2000

Ali and Nino 
by Kurban Said, translated by Jenia Graman.
Vintage, 237 pp., £6.99, October 2000, 0 09 928322 0
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... his wife onto the street; she died in destitution. The old man makes a flickering appearance in Kurban Said’s extraordinary Ali and Nino as Seinal Aga, a pathetic old man: ‘His soft hands with the thick blue veins trembled. These hands could hardly write their owner’s name, but they ruled over seventy million roubles.’ To understand the ...

You want Orient?

Dan Jacobson: Leo Nussimbaum’s self-creation, 18 August 2005

The Orientalist: In Search of a Man Caught between East and West 
by Tom Reiss.
Chatto, 433 pp., £17.99, July 2005, 9780701178857
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... Lev or Leo Nussimbaum (aka Essad Bey, aka Kurban Said) was born in Baku, the capital of Azerbaijan, in 1905. As a young man he claimed to be the son of an immensely wealthy Persian-Turkic prince. In his first published book, Blood and Oil in the Orient, Nussimbaum wrote that his supposed father had ‘the facial expression, imperturbable, weary and yet eager for activity, of an Oriental who has transferred the old traditions of command to the social life of a young oil city ...

After the Revolution

Neal Ascherson: In Georgia, 4 March 2004

... true that the opposition leaders stopped local people invading their public buildings,’ Nodia said. ‘They wanted stability. I think that was right. They had to think about what might happen if they were seen to be encouraging the overthrow of those in power in the ethnic minority regions, where many people don’t speak Georgian – in the Armenian ...

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