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the Complete Review
the complete review - fiction

Everybody Dies in this Novel

Beka Adamashvili

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To purchase Everybody Dies in this Novel

Title: Everybody Dies in this Novel
Author: Beka Adamashvili
Genre: Novel
Written: 2018 (Eng. 2023)
Length: 179 pages
Original in: Georgian
Availability: Everybody Dies in this Novel - UK
In diesem Buch stirbt jeder - Deutschland
directly from: Dedalus

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Our Assessment:

B : a big tangle of inter- and meta-textual fun

See our review for fuller assessment.

The complete review's Review:

       Everybody Dies in this Novel begins with Death itself -- suffering from insomnia, in a Prologue. Death actually does fall asleep then, and doesn't figure prominently in the novel until its conclusion, but death (rather than Death) is still a very significant presence in the novel.
       A second prologue -- 'Another Prologue' -- then introduces the novel's main character, named Memento Mori. Where Death had slipped from waking to sleeping state, Memento Mori starts things off by waking up -- remembering only three things about himself:

  1. He had a strange name -- "Memento Mori";
  2. He was a fictional character;
  3. He remembered only three things about himself.
       As a fictional character he, and his world, are limited by the bounds set by the Author, but those bounds can be extended to allow anything imaginable -- including having a fictional character: "think that he can act independently". Memento Mori leaps at the chance:
What's the use of worrying about such trifles when by accepting the idea that you are a fictional character, you acquire a great literary power: you can make the other characters rebel against the Author, completely ignore his words, or just travel from book to book.
       And so Memento Mori makes his way, time- and otherwise traveling through a fiction-based reality, bent every which way to accommodate the whims of both characters and Author, an Alice in Wonderland-kind of journey with a heavily literary (and pop-cultural) bent. Other fictional characters also join in -- in particular, private detective Matthew, a Professor Arno, and Leah -- in a dizzying medley of experience and adventure -- all helped by the fact that in fiction, anything goes (and Adamashvili really does test the (non-)limits of that).
       There's homage, pastiche, and lots of borrowing -- of characters (real-life and fictional), stories, styles, and theory -- all playfully put together. There's a three-act play featuring Memento Mori and the others that visits, in turn, Shakespeare and a production of Macbeth, Mr. and Mrs. Martin from The Bald Soprano (though this Mr. Martin also mentions: "I have to finish writing Game of Thrones"), and Vladimir and Estragon waiting for Godot. A chapter 'In Search of Lost Leah' shifts in style and reference from short chapter to short chapter, from García Márquez's Macondo to the biblical Genesis to The Little Prince's home planet of B-612 ("A lot of people will buy the book just because of this detail", Memento Mori suggests rather over-optimistically about the latter).
       There's a chain of stories within stories, as well as numerous illustrations -- and a short comic. There are several dozen footnotes, offering explanations of sorts as well as a variety of commentary; like much in the text itself, a great deal is self-referential, down to the one that explains: "This footnote merely serves to increase the number of ambiguous phrases that need explanation, and thereby create the impression that you are reading a very sophisticated piece". (Among the clever ones: a footnote for the name in the passage noting: "such problems were so tiny that even for Leeuwenhoek it would have been hard to see" then printed in tiny font ("Antonie Philips van Leeuwenhoek - Dutch scientist, the Father of Microbiology").)
       Memento Mori observes that: "This is the era of the omnipotent author", and the Author certainly puts them through the wringer -- also in allowing them to believe they have some self-determination and then of course pulling out the rug from underneath yet again. Noteworthy, too, is that self-destruction of sorts is repeatedly addressed, not least with some of the other authors who appear -- notably suicides Hemingway and Virginia Woolf. (One character also: "made a big fire around himself with books by suicide writers: Hemingway, Mishima, Zweig, London and others" in one of several unsuccessful attempts to bring about his own demise.)
       The exchange in one of the play scenes is -- like many of the incidental bits and pieces -- on (Adamashvili's) point:
     Mr. Martin: [...] I just cannot understand why books devote so much space to absurd episodes.
     Mrs. Martin: Because books reflect real life.
       Adamashvili certainly embraces this view here.
       Even the (near-)ending doesn't offer clear resolutions -- or rather does, but two of them. As a footnote explains: "this book will have two endings. The instruction is very simple -- leave the ending that you like more, and just forget the second one".
       Everybody Dies in this Novel offers a big tangle of inter- and meta-textual fun, jumping all about at breakneck speed, and it's good and clever fun as such.

- M.A.Orthofer, 11 April 2023

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Everybody Dies in this Novel: Reviews: Beka Adamashvili: Other books by Beka Adamashvili under review: Other books of interest under review:

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About the Author:

       Georgian author Beka Adamashvili (ბექა ადამაშვილი) was born in 1990.

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© 2023 the complete review

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