The Flying African
Author: Areg Azatyan
Translator: Nazareth Seferian
Publisher: Frayed Edge Press
Physical description: 7x10; 460 p. (pbk.)
The Flying African follows the journey of an unnamed traveler, a young Armenian writer who spends fifty-four adventurous days in Africa, one day in each of the continent's countries. Fifty-four chapters provide vignettes of the visits to each country, in which the traveler experiences the beauty of the land and the complexity of the people, as well the continent’s darker side: the on-going effects of colonization, war, poverty, and disease. While it is impossible to understand the whole of Africa or even one country in a short visit, each chapter provides a snapshot of something significant about the country visited, grounded in its own history, culture, and customs.
The traveler’s progress is episodic and surreal, and at times he becomes dissociated and unsure of even where he is or what he is observing. Ultimately, the traveler, and the reader along with him, takes a complex journey of letting go of expectations and opening up to the profound effects of encountering what is both familiar and foreign.
Areg Azatyan is an Armenian writer and filmmaker based in the USA. He is the author of six fiction books published by leading publishing houses in Armenia and has also published short fiction in Armenian and international magazines and newspapers. He was the recipient of one of the highest governmental literary awards in Armenia, the Presidential Youth Prize for Literature (2004), as well as Best Writer of the Year (2010) Mesrop Mashtots trophy, and several other international and national literary awards. As a filmmaker, his work has been recognized with several awards and prizes, and he has participated in more than forty international film festivals, including Berlinale, Rotterdam, Sao Paulo, and Gothenburg.
Nazareth Seferian was born in Canada, grew up in India and moved to his homeland of Armenia in 1998, where he has been living ever since. He began literary translations in 2011 and his published works include the English versions of works by Gurgen Khanjyan, Mushegh Galshoyan, Susanna Harutyunyan, Grig, Karine Khodikyan, and Aram Pachyan. He has also translated several short stories by other Armenian authors including Artavazd Yeghiazaryan, Levon Shahnur, Armen of Armenia (Ohanyan), Areg Azatyan, Avetik Mejlumyan, and Anna Davtyan.