A. Ishanova. To find the force of spirit: notes about prose of Oralkhan Bokeyev// Prostor. – 1993. – N8. – C. 168 – 171)

Emergence in the Kazakh literature in 60-80th the whole group of talented, original writers is the eloquent evidence of enrichment and blossoming of cultures of the socialist nations of our country.


What tendencies of development of today’s Kazakh prose? What contribution to the Soviet literature made several generations of the republican writers going after classics of the Kazakh literature? The answer to these important questions can’t be given without thoughtful and in-depth study of creativity of each modern writer.


The first book by O. Bokeev was published in Kazakh in 1970, in Russian (“След молнии”) – in 1978. The debut of the writer was successful, his talent has been noticed, the name was remembered. In the native language for a small term it was published collections of stories and novels. O. Bokeev is the winner of the Award of Lenin Komsomol of Kazakhstan. In 1981 the Soviet Writer publishing house has published the second book in Russian – “Поющие барханы”.


O. Bokeev’s creativity is curious in connection with a research of a problem of development of folklore traditions in modern Soviet prose, in particular a question of genre and style opportunities of a parable in the Soviet prose of the 70-80th years. In line with genre and style searches “the special place” in the Kazakh literature belongs to the novel. Novelists carry on and enrich traditions of realism. But together with the principle of realistic generalization and reconstruction of life, in the 70th years the tendency to increase a role of conditional and metaphorical forms of a small genre – the story was outlined in the Kazakh prose, as well as in all Soviet international literature.


The evidence of a creative maturity of the artist, one of the main signs of formation of talent is existence of his own theme, problem, the hero and the art thinking. The defined originality of vision of the world and the person also distinguishes O. Bokeev’s prose, in which problems of universal contents are turned to our present. National is dialectically connected with social and international. Analyzing these problems, the writer tries to highlight the new sides seen by him in individual destinies, characters, circumstances.


Heroes of stories of O. Bokeev are our contemporaries, most often people of work: shepherds, foresters, inspectors of the railroads, tractor drivers, the inhabitants of small villages, far auls, state farms. The Soviet working people are presented by the writer in all completeness and complexity of his individual features and national character. In his creativity, as well as in works by many talented Kazakh writers, it is possible to see continuation of Auezov’s traditions of masterful realistic description of an era and the person and also traditions of the Russian literature.


In the concept of the personality, nominated by  writer, the image of communication of the person born by socialism with deep tradition of national life of the people is important. The favorite hero of O. Bokeev is a man with a national character, a peculiar spirit. At the same time, the writer tries to emphasize in character social activity or inertness, roots of social delusion (Sarkyndy from the story “Отзовись, мой жеребенокl!”) or awakening of human dignity, finding a civil position (Вarkhan from the story “Поющие барханы”). The author is convinced that today the best national features of the Soviet people are shown more distinguished, with originality in each personality. Ideals of the Soviet society don’t disperse from a wise national experience. In our opinion, it is emphasized by the author in his heroes – the inspector Darkhan (“Поезда проходят мимо”), the shepherd Barkhan (“Поющие барханы”), in Аsan (“Человек-олень”), in the watchman of a grain store Bagha  (“Когда уходят Плеяды”) – people of the senior generation which has born all burdens of the first years of building of socialism in the Kazakh steppe and a war.  Their sons and grandsons saved in themselves this communication – Aktan (“Человек-Олень”), Nurzhan (“Снежная девушкаl”), Nurlan (“Отголосок юных дней”).


Stories by O. Bokeev are interesting because the writer, creating realistic and concrete, doesn’t avoid symbolical generalizations. A small corner of the boundless planet – Altai – and life of the writer’s  countrymen  – their sufferings, joy, losses, findings – are raised by the Kazakh writer to the level of the universal importance. And therefore, rejecting the unified labels – the “important” person, “inconspicuous”, etc., the hero of his story “Поющие барханы” comes to a conclusion: “… the relevancy of the person depends on himself, no matter on what chair he is sitting”. The spiritual and moral problems of O. Bokeev’s works form a common direction of his creativity. His look is turned to inhabitants of far auls, small halts, here he looks for and finds the sources of national consciousness and morality, and negative in character of the heroes – inertness, passivity, pessimism. The Bokeev’s hero knows that “life won’t lift him highly over others and won’t give any special grace…”


But these patient and revolting against the humility and injustice of others, people, “black from the sun, the wrinkled old men not rich and happy”, “don’t tired of life”, and “they have the share enclosed in vital affairs of the era”, – these thoughts of old Bagha from the story “Когда уходят Плеяды” can be carried, in effect, to all characters of O. Bokeev.


At the same time, the subject of loneliness of a human soul became one of noticeable motives of works of the Kazakh writer. Most often the loneliness of Bokeev’s hero is predetermined by dramatic nature of vital circumstances: the illness which has affected eyes Zhanar (“Оттепель”), Kiyalkhan and Kozhak’s orphanhood (“След молнии”, “Отголосок юных дней”). Owing to this fact they especially sharply feel the loneliness.


O. Bokeev creates several kinds of human destiny, characters where loneliness – the main pulsing nerve, the main knot of sincere disharmony. The first personifies a hypertrophy of individual consciousness, pernicious consequences of falling away of the person from relatives. So, the despotism and ambitious arrogance was the reason of daughter’s misfortune, but also of own drama of Sarkynda, the powerful khan who has doomed himself to loneliness and emptiness of the soul living irreal in a fool’s paradise former “gold” days (“Отзовись, мой жеребенок!”).


And if the hermit in the story “Человек-олень” appeared to Aktan as the evidence of inevitable payment for a wrong move, then the old man Konkay from the story “Снежная девушка” is the symbolical generalized embodiment of the evil.


The second motive in O. Bokeev’s prose – gradual overcoming loneliness, comprehension of the truth about antinaturalness of going away from the life of people. This subject is also connected with the main Bokeev’s character – the lonely dreamer and the silent rebel, somewhat eccentric at first sight. People in aul laughed at “thoughtless” of the old man Asan, were surprised to wildish, quick-tempered Aktan (“Человек-олень”), frankly considered Kiyalkhan mad (“След молнии”), to excessiveness kind Shepherd (Олиара) seemed to aul quiet and obedient. Eccentricities of heroes become an important form of opening “the internal person” for the author.


Most often Bokeev’s hero goes away from people. He  is pushed by unwillingness to be reconciled with manifestation of callousness, indifference, treachery. So, the Shepherd goes to obscurity, having learned about betrayal of the wife (Oliara),; the proud, devoted to people camel Bura, leaves the aul, dooming himself to a certain death after people have taken away from his tender mother and courageous brothers (“Bura”). The determination and courage of a camel in a fight with the engine approve a need of a protest.


But if leaving Bura is a proud protest and denial of the evil, then a privacy of  Kozha has turned back for his daughter a trouble (Aрдак).


Far from people she has grown up the defenseless, not able to distinguish multi-color patches of light life when suddenly gray is wrapped in light shine, and white and lazure grows dull and fades away, being clouded by melancholy and grief… Only the trouble of Ardak has forced old Kozha to doubt his correctness. Escape from difficulties of life, attempt to take refuge in going away from people is only illusion of protection against offenses and losses.


It was hard to comprehend this truth for Aktan. His loneliness – his armor and a board, and at the same time burdensome pain. Where does the proud rush protest against indifference and impoverishment of soul come to an end and egoistical dissociation from human cares and sorrows, life “in itself” and for itself, self-ecstasy and narcissism begins the independence and sufferings?


The author transfers dual discrepancy of thoughts and Aktan’s experiences by the internal monologue baring struggle of mutually exclusive feelings of the hero, a discrepancy with himself”. In our opinion, in the hero is emphasized the irreconcilability of “natural” and rational. Not accidentally he has two names: given by mother – Aktan and by people – the Man-deer. The nobility and courage in him not from reason but from heart, hot and fearless. They also help him in the most difficult situations. The more difficulties falls to the honest and noble person, the stronger an irreconcilability to the evil. But not all have enough sincere forces to resist to loneliness. It was an excessive burden for weak soul of the young driver Kozha whose parents died in the war. The attempt of the German girl Louise to alleviate his suffering, has dramatically ended. A damnation to war is the motive of orphan fate of Kozha. O. Bokeev makes think about responsibility of people for life.


In the story “Поезда проходят мимо” the problem of human alienation is put as a problem of personal responsibility of the person for the destiny and the fate of people. O. Bokeev looks for primary sources of one more tragedy of human life, sincere disharmony. The main character of this story Darkhan gradually comes to awareness of own fault – own cowardice, escape from life. Once long ago, in difficult war years, he hasn’t managed to dare to love and refused the beloved woman and the son. At the same time, Darkhan was one of the few heroes  who in incredibly difficult conditions built the bridge through Irtysh, all his life was an endless work. In our opinion, in the subject line Darkhan-Bagziya after all there are no exact accents in the characteristic of the main hero Darkhan, having even admitted the guilt, again argues only on himself: I was “an enemy to myself”, “I didn’t trust myself”, that is, there is no full awareness of own egoism here. Whether Darkhan is capable to assume  others pain?


Other feature of prose of O. Bokeev – that almost all his heroes show their special relation to the nature, only the nature is capable to bring them harmony of enlightenments, an uncreasing melody of life…


The nature is alive, whether it be mountains, the steppe, the desert. It gave the person life and therefore can’t be hostile to him. At the same time the nature isn’t indifferent to good deals  and offenses of the person. “The steppe, lovely to his heart, began to make strange sounds as though it mutters in a dream; or as the baby smacks the lips, reaches for mother’s breast. Whether the booming knocking of wheels frightens her, whether some unknown phenomena occur in her belly…”. (“Поезда проходят мимо”).


But the harmony of relationship of the person with the nature after all is broken. In some stories O. Bokeev tries to give the nature “from within”, for example, in stories of “Бура”,”Кербуга” where heroes of the narration are a camel and a deer. In our opinion, it is difficult to agree with the famous Soviet literary critic V. Yakimenko considering that “… At O. Bokeev, A. Ayvazyan and others, drawn towards a genre of “a philosophical parable”, the moral and philosophical thesis as if is set initially, and all work – an art illustration of this thesis”.


The critic almost doesn’t provide the proofs convincing of correctness of his conclusions. Besides, in our opinion, it is impossible to compare “Ода русскому огороду” by Astafyev with O. Bokeev or A. Ayvazyan’s stories, being based only on criterion “growths of the general moral and philosophical idea from real in all historical concreteness… lives”. The writers, compared by V. Yakimenko in many respects are unlike, and, above all – their folklore and literary traditions which need to be considered first of all are various, considering results of use of the same literary genre such as parable.


O. Bokeev distinguishes from other Kazakh writers using parable poetics from such talented writer as Abish Kekilbayev that he enters metaphors and symbolical character into the narration about the present. And it is not a simple work. If in a historical genre elements of poetics of the myth and a parable most often are organically interwoven into narration fabric, without raising usually doubts in their regularity in ideological and art structure of the work, then in prose about problems of our days art reconsideration of mythological and pritchevy motives and images demands especially thoughtful under the course, bigger responsibility, a step and skill.


Stories and  novels by O. Bokeev, such as “Бура”, “Kербугу”, “След молнии”, “Сказание о матери Айпаре” make sure in legitimacy of statements of literary critics M. Khrapchenko, L. Yakimenko, A. Bocharov that the parable in modern Soviet prose exists as an independent literary genre and not just in the form of impregnations inserts.


Elements of poetics of a parable play an essential  role in the story “След молнии”. Externally the plot of the story is plain. The main character – typical Bokeev’s eccentric dreamer Kiyalkhan – under an impression of a wonderful dream inspiration unsuccessfully tries to find a lightning-zhasyn arrow, a universal panacea of human under the burned-down pine.


The internal plot of the story is driven by gradually developed allegoric motive about an aspirations of human spirit to heights of harmonious, happy life.


“Сказание о матери Айпаре” is a parable more likely philosophical, than historical though a certain place is allocated in her to historical events. It is possible to define a genre of the work and as a historico-philosophical parable, but it isn’t so important, to us, first of all, it would be desirable to emphasize the philosophical and psychological depth of the work which isn’t, according to the reviewer of the book “Поющие барханы” S. Aksenova, in both parables of O. Bokeev “Камчигер” and “Сказание о матери Айпаре” (Essence shades. “A literary review”, 1982, No. 11, p. 54-56). S. Aksenova considers that “the philosophical and psychological depth” “arise when the myth is in a new way highlighted by most recent thinking”. “attempt to master depth, new to himself is the story “Снежная девушка”.


We can’t agree with similar characteristics of a parable “Камчигер” and “Сказание о матери Айпаре”. Philosophy of their contents allows to speak about an endless problems touched by the author. Eternal, universal questions surely comprise elements of problems and our present. Here still a lot of things depend also on the reader, on the level of associativity of his perception.


In our opinion, exactly in this story it is possible to allocate the epic beginning, traditional for young literatures, unlike other stories by O. Bokeev. In this story more distinctly and strongly the subject of the Homeland, the people, not only in respect of the historical past sounds, the poetics of a parable allows the author to reach heights of universal sounding of the main motive. The poetics of a parable gives symbolical ambiguity to the narration which is perceived not so much as the story about wisdom and courage of mother Aypara, but as poetic chanting and glorification of the Motherland personifying justice, wisdom and force of the life. Mother Aypara is also a fine and generous nature.


The writer uses also plug-in parables. The old man Asan’s parables (“Человек-олень”) show nearly the main features of character of both the old man, and his attentive listener and the admirer – the man-dear: poetry,  perception of the nature surrounding them, the world,  ability to trust in a miracle, a life sacrament.


S. Aksenova doesn’t give definite answer – whether it managed to O. Bokeev to reach “the special psychological and philosophical depth” in “Снежная девушка”, “highlighting the myth most recent thinking”. In our opinion, all called parables much more harmonious, integral, artly complete works, than in what separate elements of poetics of a parable are used. O. Bokeev manages creation of an integral modern parable better, than attempts to combine realistic and conditional plans of the narration together in one work.


The parable about the snow girl performs important  function in the story, influencing, according to it, definition of an ideological and semantic dominant of the work. The shape leaves her at the reader feeling of uncertainty: whether was, whether wasn’t. The image of the snow girl only in consciousness of the specific person finds real, certain lines. For the foreman Upray she is “ghost” bad, for Amanzhan – terrestrial “maid”, for Nurzhan – happiness beam. The snow girl – an image capacious, multiple-valued. It and “a painful presentiment of happiness” as considers S. Aksenova, and a symbol of vulnerability of good and beauty, a symbol of the all-conquering force of good, its saving beginning.


In O. Bokeev’s prose it is possible to allocate also especially author’s system of  symbolics which represents development of national folklore traditions: dreams allegories in the form of a parable, symbolics of color, nature and fauna – the gorge, the mountain, the bridge, the road, a deer, a camel.


O. Bokeev’s creativity demonstrates fruitfulness of use of poetics which allows the author to leave a place for a thinking and reflection to the reader. In O. Bokeev’s prose as I. Kramov in the monograph “In a Story Mirror” still noted, art reconsideration of pritchevy motives, images exempts the narration from “excessive chronicles and an etnografizm”. This tendency of deepening of genre and style search demonstrates further evolution, enrichment of national folklore and literary traditions, expansion of poetic means in literature of socialist realism.