An Orange Lemon by Alla Pyatibratova (tr. Rohan Kamicheril)

a nutshell: this short story from Kyrgyzstan follows an out-of-work hydrologist and mother, Maria, who spends tiring & uninspiring days undertaking paid protest in a square

a line: “From the first day, Maria had promised herself that she wouldn’t buy into the rules of the game; that she would only try to abide by them. Even if it was a game for fools.”

an image: at one point Maria looks at the square and can see only a live, shifting, varicolored mass, surrounded like a force field by a thick wall of sound – colour is important to the narrative (there are 11 mentions of yellow, the colour worn by the protestors on this particular day) as Maria struggles to keep up with the changing significance of certain colours

a thought: it felt like Maria was losing her awareness of what was going on not just externally but also internally  – early on she doesn’t notice that her sleeve is torn and her arm is bruised, and pauses to wonder how she could’ve hurt her arm yet not felt it –  which seemed to stem from protesting out of desperation for a paycheck

a fact: Pyatibratova is a journalist based in Osh – near the border with Uzbekistan, this city has over 3,000 years of history, incl. having been a major market along the Silk Road; in 1990 and 2010, the city has seen ethnic riots & violence break out

want to read An Orange Lemon? visit here

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