Azerbaijan International

Autumn 2002 (10.3)
Page 9

Readers' Forum
"Ali and Nino" - Rediscovered
by Ismail Kafescioglu in Ankara, Turkey

Ali and Nino Covers: Novel is Published in 33 Languages ­ Betty Blair (AI 12.3)
2 Review: Inside the Soul of a Caucasian ­ Elin Suleymanov (AI 12.2)
3 Editorial: The World of "Ali and Nino" ­ It's Our World too! ­ Betty Blair (AI 12.2)
4 Baku City Tour: "Ali and Nino" Walking Tour - Fuad Akhundov and Blair (AI 12.2)
5 Photo Essay: Then & Now: Baku 100 Years Ago at the Peak of Oil Baron Period (AI 12.2)
6 Article: How to Collect Kurban Said's Novel "Ali and Nino" ­ Blair (AI 12.3)
7 Letter to Editor: Copyright - Leela Ehrenfels (AI 12.4)

When I saw the book "Ali and Nino" by Kurban Said (Gurban Sayid) advertised in the recent issue of Azerbaijan International (AI 10.2, Summer 2002), I was so excited. I've been looking for that book for years. I first came across this wonderful novel about 20-25 years ago while staying at the guesthouse of NIOC (National Iraqi Oil Company) in Baghdad. At that time, I was on business related to purchasing oil from Iraq as General Manager of Turkish Petroleum Corporation (TPAO).

The plot of "Ali and Nino" truly fascinated me because it brought to mind my own roots. My paternal grandmother was Circassian whose parents, too, were forced to abandon everything they owned in the beautiful mountains of the northern Caucasus after their 'nation' lost the 100-year-old war against the invading Russians. They fled to what was then the Ottoman Empire (now Turkey).

My grandmother told me that toward the end of their long trek, some of their horses disappeared, which made traveling ever so slow and exhausting. It meant that the women and small children had to take turns, riding the few remaining horses. For the last part of their journey, her father (my great-grandfather) carried her on his shoulders. Family members from my paternal side were also refugees from Crete, Greece.

On my return trip to Baghdad in those years, when I checked at the NIOC guesthouse's small "library" for the Ali and Nino book again, it seems the book had been "borrowed". In the ensuing years, I never set eyes on that book again.

I remembered that it had originally been printed in London, but when I wrote the publisher, I never received a response. Who knows? So I gave up searching. You guys gave me the world when you offered "Ali and Nino" through the Azerbaijan International Web Store []. Many thanks from the bottom of my heart.

Ismail Kafescioglu
Ankara, Turkey

Editor's Note: The book "Ali and Nino - A Love Story" by Kurban Said was translated from German by Jenia Graman in 1970 and republished by Anchor Books, New York. This fast-paced, charming love story is set in Baku on the eve of the Bolshevik takeover around 1920, but it also includes some episodes of the couple's escape to Iran.
ISBN 0-385-72949-8 (paperback), English, 282 pages, 2000.


Back to Index AI 10.3 (Autumn 2002)
AI Home
| Search | Magazine Choice | Topics | AI Store | Contact us

Other Web sites created by Azerbaijan International
| |