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ISSN 1409-6900 | UDK 82+7     Blesok no. 83 | volume XV | March-April, 2012



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                     Peer-reviewed journal
Blesok no. 83March-April, 2012
Reviews

Acting Beyond the Visible

Aco Gogov’s Personal Identification Number (Antolog, Skopje, 2012)


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Slavica Gadžova

Aco Gogov, known to Macedonian reading audiences for his collection of short prose The Geography of Humbleness (Antolog 2010), has once again brought forth a different kind of freshness with his new prose manuscript called Personal Identification Number. The short stories of this collection have been grouped into four cycles, namely, “Notes from the Playroom”, “Personal Identification Number”, “A Married Couple” and “Finding a Camel”. The short stories from the first two cycles belong to the genre of short fiction, whereas the narratives from latter cycles, although stories, are distinguished by a more developed narration and plot, as opposed to the former, which are elliptical, marked by an extraordinary semantic density. Regardless of their apparent differences, they are all at the core of Gogov’s original poetics, one that may be regarded as a continuation to the poetics from The Geography of Humbleness.
    One of the most noticeable, and perhaps semantically most productive, aesthetic strategies in these short narratives is their metaphorical quality, a technique which often turns the narrative time of the story into a synchronized time or a time that does not recognize division and distribution into units. The narrating persona in Gogov’s stories when telling the story of small things, the story of humbleness - through poetic images and metaphors - touches upon the eternal and the archetypal. If we borrow terms from Indian philosophy, we can freely say that the short stories by Gogov are metaphors of reflecting the Brahman into each atman, that is to say, they are metaphors about reflecting the great and the all-comprehensive into the seemingly tiny, small and insignificant. Thus, in “A White Landscape”, the glass of water by the patient’s bed is being reconstructed into a sea; while in “Game” the eyes and sight (passing features) are perceptibly equalled to a pencil and the act of writing (durable features).
    Furthermore, in the narrative strategies Gogov employs we can see allegorical traces (“Head”), traces of the bizarre and the grotesque (“Obituary”), traces of the fantastic (“Who art thou?”) and the ironic (“Personal Identification Number”). Therefore, both semantically and aesthetically the mythical and the poetic temporal cycle is present and productive, i.e. the disappearance of the barriers of linear time is evident, as shown in the extraordinary bit of a narrative titled “Dogs”, where dogs cross all possible borders, and from the time of prophets come into contemporary days, with a silent look that






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