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the Complete Review
the complete review - fiction


Transit Comet Eclipse

Muharem Bazdulj

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To purchase Transit Comet Eclipse

Title: Transit Comet Eclipse
Author: Muharem Bazdulj
Genre: Novel
Written: 2007 (Eng. 2018)
Length: 151 pages
Original in: Bosnian
Availability: Transit Comet Eclipse - US
Transit Comet Eclipse - UK
Transit Comet Eclipse - Canada
Transit, Komet, Eklipse - Deutschland
  • Bosnian title: Tranzit, kometa, pomračenje
  • Translated by Natasa Milas

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Our Assessment:

B : intriguingly presented triptych; three solid piece

See our review for fuller assessment.

Review Summaries
Source Rating Date Reviewer
literaturkritik.de . 3/2012 Frank Riedel

  From the Reviews:
  • "Bazduljs intellektuelle Gedankenwelt ist stark von den besten (westlichen) Autoren und Philosophen geprägt, sein Roman rückt ihn selbst in die Nähe seiner Vorbilder. Es ist ihm einerseits gelungen, Geschichte lebendig zu machen. Andererseits nimmt er den Leser mit literarischen Mitteln gefangen und erreicht sein Ziel, eine europäische Finsternis zu erhellen." - Frank Riedel, literaturkritik.de

Please note that these ratings solely represent the complete review's biased interpretation and subjective opinion of the actual reviews and do not claim to accurately reflect or represent the views of the reviewers. Similarly the illustrative quotes chosen here are merely those the complete review subjectively believes represent the tenor and judgment of the review as a whole. We acknowledge (and remind and warn you) that they may, in fact, be entirely unrepresentative of the actual reviews by any other measure.

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The complete review's Review:

[Note: this review is based on the German translation of the novel, Transit, Komet, Eklipse, by Klaus Detlef Olof]
       Tranzit, kometa, pomračenje is an unusual triptych. The first section -- 'Transit' -- focuses mainly on the 1762 voyage the Jesuit and scientist Ruđer Bošković undertook from Constantinople to St.Petersburg; he had originally gone to Constantinople to witness the 1761 transit of Venus (but was unsuccessful in getting there in time; he also missed a later opportunity in 1769, after which it would be more than a century until the next transit occurred). The second section, -- 'The Comet' -- follows the short life of a Moldovan (Moldavian) girl, born in 1986, the year of Halley's comet passing near enough to be seen from earth again. Finally, the last section -- 'Eclipse' -- centers on a Bazdulj-like author and describes how he came to tackle this material in this way.
       There are some commonalities to the sections: Bošković travels through Moldavia on his way to St.Petersburg, a country that even then seems too fantastical to be true, 'like a country out of a book, rather than a real country'. Some two centuries later, in the wreckage of the post-Soviet era, Moldova is still a lost corner in the far reaches of Europe -- so obscure that a diary-entry by the author-figure in the last section has him say he first encountered it in the TV series Dynasty, with its infamous 1985-season 'Moldavian massacre'-cliffhanger. The uniqueness of dates -- the rare passing of Halley's comet, the transit of Venus, birthdays -- the author's is the eighteenth or nineteenth of May (if the former, then he shares his birthday with Bošković, with whom the fictional author also shares a birthplace, Dubrovnik) -- is also significant; they are given precisely throughout the narratives to mark various events (even as, for example, there is uncertainty about specific dates such as the author's birthday).
       Bazdulj relates three very different stories. While most of each section is descriptive, significantly, in each the central figure's own writing is also presented: a(n edited) section of Bošković's journal, diary-entries by the author, as well as a letter the Moldovan girl, Maria, writes to her grandmother. They are all restlessly seeking: Bošković is constantly on the move, engaged in his astronomical observations but also much else; Maria thinks she has found an escape from dreary Moldova; the author tries to shape the material that he collects into something. Each also finds themselves in a transition -- and, largely, decline: Bošković injures himself in an accident, limiting his ability to travel, and finds with the 1773 suppression of the Jesuit Order that he is constrained in what he is able to do; Maria finds her escape from Moldova does not bring a hopeful start in a new world. Only the author, piecing together inspiration, is left ready to begin (whereas the two previous sections end in death) -- though in ending with what is actually the beginning (the author-figure sitting down to begin writing these tales) Bazdulj allows for his stories to come full circle -- another transit, another comet.
       Tranzit, kometa, pomračenje offers an interesting set of contrasts, from historical biography -- Bošković is a significant (and fascinating) historical figure, well worth the attention -- to an invented but all-too-close-to-reality tale of a corrupted eastern Europe, to a tale of literary creation and the many influences (dates, books, geographical coincidences) that can come into play. These are three very different stories, and in not offering simply obvious connections between them -- yet also not just offering three distinct tales -- Bazdulj has fashioned an intriguing larger work.
       Certainly of interest.

- M.A.Orthofer, 26 June 2012

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Transit Comet Eclipse: Reviews: Muharem Bazdulj: Other books by Muharem Bazdulj under review: Other books of interest under review:

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About the Author:

       Muharem Bazdulj was born in Bosnia in 1977.

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© 2012-2018 the complete review

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