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Dictionary of the Khazars (Female Edition)

4.15  ·  Rating Details  ·  3,568 Ratings  ·  232 Reviews
A national bestseller, Dictionary of the Khazars was cited by The New York Times Book Review as one of the best books of the year. Written in two versions, male and female (both available in Vintage International), which are identical save for seventeen crucial lines, Dictionary is the imaginary book of knowledge of the Khazars, a people who flourished somewhere beyond Tra ...more
Paperback, 354 pages
Published October 28th 1989 by Vintage (first published January 1st 1983)
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May 29, 2014 Gregsamsa rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Lovers of books about books about books
Recommended to Gregsamsa by: Aubrey
What a mad wild swirling cocktail of a book. Suicide, the children's definition: The soda-fountain concoction that results when you when you mix a little of every flavor in one big cup.

Imagine such a slushy stir of Italo Calvino, Angela Carter, Jorge Luis Borges, Umberto Eco, Gabriel Garcia Marquez, David Mitchell, Jan Potocki, and a healthy slug of Sheharazade.

The Facts: In the 8th Century the semi-nomadic Khazars sat at the East-West tollbooth junction on the Silk Road, providing buffer state
I am doing a project in which I read all 1001 of the "1001 Books You Must Read Before You Die" as stated by a book in this stupid and arbitrary series of different stuff you have to do before you die. It is dumb and I will never finish it, but now that I started, I am pretty set on continuing.

The thing that makes it the most dumb is that these books are chosen by someone who has like, really different taste from me. I hated "Naked Lunch." Now I plan to pretty much hate this book, but I guess it
Dictionary of the Khazars is a work of fiction written by Milorad Pavic relating to the factual khanate of the Khazars, the actual conversion of the Khazars to Judaism and the mysterious remnants of the Khazar civilisation.

 * * * 

World religion to which the Khazars did not convert to. Christian sources form one part of the potentially annoying Dictionary of the Khazars.

Process of change from one state to another typically undergone by the attentive reader.

Philippe Malzieu
I adore this book. I have the impression to live at Renaissance time. It is an encyclopaedic project or the imagination competes for it in the reality. An esthète pleasure for gentilhomme. It should be sold in japon paper cover by calf pure leather, title in gold leaf. I have well on bought from the time the male version. If I compared to female version, I did not find that the 17 lines of difference changed so much this book.
I remember the writer during the TV program Apostrophe. A small discre
It is those who actually differ among themselves who pose the greatest danger. They long to meet one another, because their differences do not bother them. And they are the worst. We and our enemies will combine forces to fight those who allow us to differ from them and do not let this difference disturb their sleep; we will destroy them in one fell swoop from three sides...

-Nikon Savast, a.k.a. Satan
I'd be mightily pleased if the back cover claim of "A national bestseller" proved true, a
Oct 04, 2015 Jonfaith rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: balkan
A bird foraging for food in the swamps and marshes sinks rapidly if it doesn't move. It has to keep pulling its feet out of the mire to move on, regardless of whether it has caught something or not. And the same applies to us and to our love. We have to move on, we can't stay where we are, because we'll sink.

This is less a novel, than shards of story reduced to a taxonomy. The bird metaphor does reflect on the precariousness of the parsing. Sifting through such, the reader coalesces the data, br
Feb 23, 2011 Kristen rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: own, bizarre, fiction, funny
5 minutes ago some customer at my job proceeded to tell me about an episode of Doctor Phil he saw where an obese women lost weight by smoking crack (this is the third time today this man has told me this story.) Then he saw this book on my desk and said "Oh god, you're not really into that stuff are you?" I don't know what he assumed this book was about, I just finished it and I'm still not quite sure what it's about (but it was great, that much I know.) Apparently what ever he thought it was ab ...more
Jake Thomas
Jul 23, 2007 Jake Thomas rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Those who like literary aerobics
Recommended to me after I'd talked up Mark Z. Danielewski's House of Leaves, this book could be, and often has been, cited as one of Danielewski's predecessors. It's one of those books you could spend a whole year with, unpacking it, taking notes, analyzing and cross-referencing, or you could just read and enjoy.

The book is divided into three dictionaries focused around exploring The Khazar Polemic, a fictionalized account of the mass conversion of the Khazar people in which the representatives
Joselito Honestly and Brilliantly
I wrote in my review of John Berger's novel "G"--

"Like what I said in my review of Zamyatin's "We," I believe I've found a fair explanation of why the books included in the 1001 Books You Must Read Before You Die made it on the list, and this I found in another listing, the 1001 Paintings You Must See Before You Die where the Introduction explained the choices by these justifications:

1. the painting (book) is interesting because of its subject matter;
2. the painting (book) is interesting because
Vit Babenco
Apr 02, 2015 Vit Babenco rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Dictionary of the Khazars is a heap of a novel or, probably, even a mountain – everything: religion, mythology, history, mysticism, faith and superstitions are packed in a huge pile and every reader must sort it out one’s own way.
“Avram Brankovich's second, younger son was at the time stretched out somewhere in Bachka behind a motley stove built like a church, and he was suffering. It was rumored that the devil had pissed on him and that the child would get up at night, flee from the house, and
Ned Rifle
Feb 19, 2013 Ned Rifle rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The Goodreads recomendation system first brought the Dictionary of the Khazars to my attention,and for that I am glad. Having been intrigued by the premise I was lucky enough to come across a cheap copy only a short while later, and it was with hope that I advanced.

The introduction (part of the book, mind) tells us that we can read in any way or order we please,I in my cowardice plumped for habit and went from front to back.

The book is ostensibly mainly concerned with the mass conversion of th
Jan 18, 2015 Katherine rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Dictionary of the Khazars by Milorad Pavic, A Lexicon Novel in 100,000 Words, is a lyrical description of the events surrounding the so-called "Khazar Polemic" and conversion of the Khazar people. Written as an encyclopedia containing cross-referenced entries between three different sections (Christian, Muslim, Jewish), it relates the efforts of various scholars to pin down exactly what happened at the Khazar court when the Khagan invited representatives from the three religions to hold a discus ...more
Đong Huynh
Đây là một cuốn sách kỳ lạ, và có thể là một tác phẩm lớn, nhưng với tôi đó không phải là một cuốn sách khiến tôi yêu thích. Nói đúng hơn, tôi không thể đọc hết cuốn sách này. Nó quá nhàm chán (chứ ko fải buồn chán)! Nó ko gây ra trong tôi một sự thích thú, buồn bã, khích lệ, hào hứng, phấn khích, tức tối, giận dữ, hoặc suy nghĩ nào. Nói tóm lại, tôi hoàn toàn dửng dưng với nó.

Cuốn sách này thực sự khó đọc. Nó khó đọc ko fải vì những suy tưởng miên man và những câu văn "hại não" kiểu "Những đứa
Where does one start with trying to explain what the 'Dictionary of Khazars' is about and how does one try to explain it as coherently as possible even if he makes a start at some point. The novel itself is structured in such a way that it does not lend to the conventional ways of telling about it. So, instead I will try to just write down my thoughts on this, however abstract they may appear. I look at this novel from 3 view points, which I think as a whole enhances the impact of it.
Borges wrot
Nov 09, 2009 htanzil rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: buntelan
Ingin mencoba menikmati pengalaman baru dalam membaca sebuah novel ? Silahkan mencobanya dengan membaca novel leksikon Kamus Khazar karya Milorad Pavic, profesor sejarah kesusasteraan Universitas Beograd dan salah satu penyair kenamaan Yugoslavia. Walau novel ini diberi judul “Kamus Khazar” (Dictionary of The Khazars) namun ini adalah novel. Tepatnya novel berbentuk kamus atau mungkin lebih tepatnya novel berbentuk ensiklopedia. Nah bagaimana mungkin?

Inilah keunikan buku ini, walau berbentuk sep
May 19, 2015 Knjiski_Moljac rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: may-2015
Paul Fulcher
Oct 28, 2013 Paul Fulcher rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2013
A wonderful book and one I will return to with pleasure in future years.

The basis for the novel is the true story of the Khazars - a semi-nomadic people that rapidly created a powerful empire in the 7th Century and then just as rapidly disappeared in the 10th. They left behind relatively little reliable historic records, and the vacuum has been filled by myth: this novel is an imaginative contribution to their reconstructured history.

The centre of the novel is an event that is recorded in histor
A.E. Shaw
Feb 22, 2012 A.E. Shaw rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2012
I don't understand why finding this book on a borrowing shelf was the first I'd ever heard of it. It seems like something absolutely timeless and classic, and it completely floored me with its simultaneous complexity and simplicity. It's written with such confidence that its unusual structure feels obvious and logical, and, whilst I'm sure you could read it in all the ways the introduction suggests and get much more from it, going the traditional beginning to end way does indeed also work very w ...more
Feb 10, 2010 Julianna rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I don't know if I am actually done or not, but this book just keeps blowing my mind. Very bizarre at times but entirely fascinating. I am actually reading the female edition. "When we read, it is not ours to absorb all that is written. Our thoughts are jealous and they constantly black out the thoughts of others, for there is not room enough in us for two scents at one time. Those under the sing of the Holy Trinity, a masculine sign, take in only the odd sentences of their books when they read, ...more
May 10, 2007 Steven rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Somebody Interested in Literary Forms
The form of this book is as interesting as its content: It isn't necessarily linear at all.

This is a completely fictional account of the disappearance of an entire culture. The land of the Khazars was geographically located at the intersection of Islam, Christianity, and Judaism, and this is an encyclopedia (entry by entry) relating each religion's perspective on which of them converted the heathen race.

Dreams and the supernatural are casually woven into this intricately self-referential work. I
Jun 16, 2008 planetkimi rated it did not like it
Recommends it for: fans of unconventional narration!
Recommended to planetkimi by: Teresa
I really wanted to like this book because its esoteric subject sounded awesome, but honestly I knew that I was in trouble when I read the words "eschewing conventional narrative and plot" on the back cover. I'm pretty fond of "conventional narrative and plot," actually. They've been working pretty well for storytelling for quite a while now, and they're good enough for me. ;)

I just couldn't get through it. The narration really was all over the place and my inability to tie the threads together p
Cath Murphy
Intricate, spellbinding, wholly original.

Lets imagine that an ancient civilisation disappeared and all the evidence you had to reconstruct them and their way of life, were three fragmentary dictionaries, each written from a different religious perspective by those who had contact with that civilisation at that time. You could never understand those people directly, because they left no written record of their own. You could only understand them from the point of view of others, each coloured by
Jun 19, 2015 L.A. rated it liked it
This was recommended by a friend, and counts toward my summer reading mini-goal.

This is one of those clever books about books with mystical themes running through it. It's about a people who may or may not have existed, the efforts of the three major monotheistic faiths to convert them, dreams, God, Satan, and other aspects of the doomed and divine. Reincarnation plays a part here, too. It's exactly the sort of book I should have loved, but it was just...okay. Maybe I wasn't in the mood for fict
Jan 31, 2015 Yara rated it liked it
Shelves: books-i-own
The Khazars, also known as “the thirteenth tribe,” were a semi-nomadic Turkic people who settled in the Caucasus in the sixth century. In the eighth century, they were caught between the Orthodox Byzantines and the Muslim world and in order to deflect these competing pressures, the Khazar royalty and nobility decided to convert to Judaism. This event is surrounded by mystery and there are many different theories on exactly what happened. Not a single line of the Khazar language has survived, nor ...more
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Dec 14, 2011 Ensiform rated it really liked it
Shelves: fiction, serbian
Translated by Christina Pribicevic-Zoric. I read the female version --- though this differs from the male version in only one paragraph. Anyway, an original "novel," told as three different dictionaries: the Christian, the Muslim, and the Jewish versions of entries roughly concerned with the Khazars. Some entries are in all three versions, such as the Khazar polemic, in which representatives from the three religions visited the Khazar kaghan to convince him, by clever repartee and dream interpre ...more
May 31, 2012 Marit rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: modern-fiction
I was mildly entertained and intrigued by this book but after a quarter of the way in, I was forcing myself to finish only because it was the book chosen by my book club. I simply don't understand the point of this book plus the barrage of verbose, nonsensical details overwhelmed me from the beginning. And that barrage never let up. The Dictionary seems to attempt to create a history in which sense of linear time and space and our basic tenets of reality are totally debunked. And any story told ...more
Feb 28, 2011 an rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: punya, hibah
membaca buku selalu membuat ketimpangan. awal na berat di kanan, kemudian perlahan-lahan berat di kiri. selalu dengan keterulangan tipe seperti itu untuk buku-buku normal yang dibada cari kiri ke kanan. namun apakah demikian jika membuka kamus? tentulah jika kita membaca kamus tidak terjadi ketimpangan kanan ke kiri, karena kita bisa membuka dimanapun bagian yang kita mau. kirikah? kanankah? atau di bagian tengah.

demikian juga yang terjadi pada novel ini. terlepas dari muatan fiksi atau nyata ce
Oct 16, 2010 Azazello rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favourites
This book is unlike anything I ever read, and one of my all time favourites.
As its name states it is build of definitions that you can read in any order you like, as long as you don’t miss any, all the parts will eventfully fall into place.

The dictionary is build of three books, red for Christian sources, green for Islamic sources and yellow for Jewish sources. Many definitions show in each of them, contradicting each other and showing the events in their favour. Also in each book according to t
Jan 27, 2015 Meek rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Si hay un a clase de libros que amo, son aquellos que desafían al lector. Y el serbio Milorad Pavic tiene una bibliografia donde cada obra suya posee un marco formal que es un reto a sus lectores, aunque sus temáticas están barnizadas con metáforas, leyendas y más que nada el poder y el significado de los sueños. Leerlo es como caminar sonámbulo guiado sólamente por sus palabras, las que construyen frases compuestas, pareciera, en una eterna duermevela.

"Diccionario Jázaro", que fuera su primera
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Hội Thích Đọc Sách: Từ điển Khazar 5 79 May 16, 2013 08:59PM  
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Milorad Pavić was a Serbian poet, prose writer, translator, and literary historian.

Pavić wrote five novels which were translated into English: Dictionary of the Khazars: A Lexicon Novel, Landscape Painted With Tea, Inner Side of the Wind, Last Love in Constantinople and Unique Item as well as many short stories not in English translation.
More about Milorad Pavić...

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“When we read, it is not ours to absorb all that is written. Our thoughts are jealous and they constantly blank out the thoughts of others, for there is not room enough in us for two scents at one time.” 28 likes
“It is not I who mix the colors but your own vision,' he answered. 'I only place them next to one another on the wall in their natural state; it is the observer who mixes the colors in his own eye, like porridge. Therein lies the secret. The better the porridge, the better the painting, but you cannot make good porridge from bad buckwheat. Therefore, faith in seeing, listening, and reading is more important than faith in painting, singing, or writing.'

He took blue and red and placed them next to each other, painting the eyes of an angel. And I saw the angel's eyes turn violet.

'I work with something like a dictionary of colors,' Nikon added, 'and from it the observer composes sentences and books, in other words, images. You could do the same with writing. Why shouldn't someone create a dictionary of words that make up one book and let the reader himself assemble the words into a whole?”
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