Aram Pachyan’s books
European Prize for Literature 2021
P/F, a novel
P/F is a fragmental, experimental novel with modulations characteristic of zen Buddhism Koans. Old and new Yerevan, the river Getar, the vanished tram and the “lonely” man, who tries to find himself in the city of his fading memories, they all meet in the novel. All the fragments of the novel are linked with each other, but their order does not matter at all and is just conditional. The author dedicated the book to all his tutors of Zen Buddhism. The fragments of the novel are interconnected, but their sequence is not important, it is totally random. After the first reading the book requires another one and many more if the reader has caught the essence of it. P/F is a novel with a new approach to life and to finding answers to many of your questions.
The protagonist of the novel with the nickname P/F, who appears in the different parts of the novel, in different situations as Sev, Phil, Aram, finishes his memory book with a monologue dedicated to river Getar, which is the symbol of life.
Based on yet unpublished texts from P/F a musical vocal composition for violin and drums “Pachyan Fragments” was written by a composer Aram Hovhannisyan and was performed in Los Angeles’ “Zipper Hall” on 22nd of February, 2015.
In her essay dedicated to P/F Marine Karoyan, an artist and a musicologist, writes, “Pachyan fixes the fragments of gradually intensifying past, present and the future creeping out from behind the curtains, with Japanese techniques called Kintsugi. And this time the golden paste is Getar. Pachyan’s post play is a dedication to a river, in which he leaves his memories, love and songs. This is a song about trash, that any Rhine would have been jealous about. Like a cat liking his own wounds, the author, having equalized himself with the Getar, painlessly goes through his existential loneliness. But Aram doesn’t “ask for help” in this loneliness. He doesn’t need it. I don’t worry about him.”
Ocean, short stories and essays
Ocean is a book of short stories and essays by the author which were previously published mainly in press and online journals. Now they are collected and grouped in a specific manner to make reading of short stories more interconnected and logical. In one of the short stories, Ocean, the writer again touches upon a painful topic of army. A young man has just been drafted and first time in the base is trying to find a free bed for him. He is eagerly seeking for a place on the first row to sleep on. But he can’t find a vacant bed. He suffers to explain why he can’t sleep on the second row, but nobody cares about that. Finally, he has to take the second row, but when he has to sleep, he tries not to fall asleep for a long time, but uselessly. When he goes asleep, he sees ocean in his dream and hears its sound. When he wakes up his bed is all wet and he now knows he is going to have a huge trouble when everybody learns about that. And they are going to know… (The translation of the short story is available) The short story collection includes some essays by Aram Pachyan, which were published in Hraparak newspaper and proved to be very successful among readers.
Goodbye, Bird, a novel
This novel contains several narratives braided together through the unnamed character’s scattered recollections. He cannot recover his habitual life in the civilian world. His attempt to reintegrate is so troubling that he’s pushed to the point where he considers himself disabled. As he pages through his diary, and recordings reveal a reshaping to understanding his past. Struggling to forget hazing experiences, everywhere he goes, any detail can drum up the past events. The more he tries to forget, the more he is convinced that he’s returned to a previous time when he was initially drafted to serve.
He not only focuses on himself, but also visits the lives of others who have experienced very similar situations.
Goodbye, Bird begins with an unnamed narrator flicking through his journal. He has written that he is 28 years old on every page of his journal to remind himself that he hasn’t accomplished much in his life. Some time ago, he was discharged from the army and is now back home, trying to build a life as a civilian. He has been working to save money, because he wants to buy a gun and kill his former commanding officer. Now that he has earned enough, he is quitting his job.
Glagoslav publications (world English rights), UK
Editions Parentheses (world French rights), France
Robinson, short stories
The style of the author can undoubtedly be considered as a unique pattern in contemporary Armenian literature. The mixture of the real and imaginary worlds makes his stories rather different from the writing manner of other Armenian authors. The stories are like small and clear paintings of various characters. The faces in these paintings are so familiar, like someone you know, or someone hiding very deep inside of you. Inescapable loneliness of people in the modern world is the main topic of all the stories by Pachyan. The story named “Birds” is about soldiers who put on wings and fly out of windows and over high walls. They are like birds that have stopped at a temporary post on their way to warmer countries. They will soon leave this place forever, but for the duration of their stay, they have to follow outrageous rules that presently exist or break them to defend their honor. In “Sad Boats” the author converses with a dead young man who has been killed in mass political protests. Through this tragic story, the author elegantly conveys the injustice of a young life lost. The sound of the fallen young man’s phone, continuously ringing in his pocket can still be heard long after you have closed the book. “Transparent bottles” is a story of a son, who has so many different emotions towards his drinking father. With feelings of love and hate and in the midst of bitter argument, a conflicted son fights to help his father survive. His characters represent the typology of young men who are intellectual, independent, free from political and religious pressure, and who have adopted solely the righteous laws of humanity.
Stary Lev, Ukraine
Glagoslav publications (world English rights), UK
Ombra GVG, Albania
Prize for Literature by the Preseident of Armenia, 2011