What Pero Georgiev is doing and what has won over many of us, first on the social networks, then spread to other things (on book covers, for example), and by the end of 2020 we expect it to be printed as an author’s book published by “Ili-ili” can be defined as graphic microprose, with a rare, radical reduction of speech up to a mute graphic narration. Georgiev’s line is eloquent, showy,… it usually and most skillfully “tells” with the support or assistance of a few words, sometimes only one or even no words. Mute.
At a time of increased relevance of the so-called graphic novels, Georgiev has created his own, authentic creative form – graphic microprose. The synthetic literary form that unites the text with the image; the word with the line; the drawing narrative has been called a graphic novel since 1977. The wording, which immediately became a genre term, was first used by Will Eisner, an American comic book artist, probably because the word “comic” could no longer explain and describe what he liked and worked on. The graphic novel came to the throne of the genres ten years later, in 1992, when exactly such a work won the Pulitzer Prize. This work was the cult biographical graphic novel about the Holocaust by Art Spiegelman – Mouse, recently translated into Macedonian (published by “Templum”) and I consider it a real moment, establishing some ideal context for the appearance of Georgiev’s microprose.
What the graphic novel wants to do with the text and the drawing is the same thing that Pero Georgiev does, with the fact that the text in this particular case (most often) is a micro-prose; a literary description of what is seen or a literary guide to what needs to be done/written so as to be seen. I guess that Georgiev’s symbioses are not always made from one to the other, but that the procedures have changed and intertwined. I also assume that it was not always the drawings first, then the texts; nor vice versa – first the texts, then the drawings. But in order to achieve this degree of coherence, the symbiosis must have taken place through various processes, both close and different from one whole to the other.
Both ends of the world, the male and the female
“The Life of Death”, as Pero Georgiev hinted that his first book would be called, is in itself one of the most interesting titles I have come across in recent publishing production. In the context of the “content” that it hides/carries within itself, the title is in perfect correlation with it, as well. The naming of things, sometimes, as in this case, is their best definition.
The framework of what Georgiev does, whether it is collected in a book or not, is very precisely set in creative blocks, aspects or specific wholes, cycles. These are the precise cores of this striking creation. Regardless of how they will be organized (reshaped, supplemented) in “The Life of Death”, they are already predefined: “Seberez”, “World”, “Faces”, “City” … In “Seberez” we already have the main character polarity – grandparents; the male and the female side of the world. Because Georgiev sees the world, writes it and draws it through these fictitiously shaped patterns/matrices of memory, permanence, love and existence – the grandparents. On the fine line between possible biography and meticulously thought-out fiction with an emphasis on wisdom and eternal love. In order to achieve a lyrical personal tone, Georgiev has chosen the appropriate form of wisdom and experience, so the grandparents (both ends of the world and of this book!) are written and drawn as if they were his grandparents. The lyricism of the stories and the drawings perfectly accommodated this idea of the author. “World”, “Faces”, “City”,… are sequels, implementations of “Seberez” on the world around them, around us.
Pero Georgiev is also a good storyteller, completely independent of the drawings and the visual compactness. Sometimes with a lavish, but minimalist narrative, sometimes with a penchant for instruction. Here are some of his phrases as indications of the lavish narrative:
- “My grandmother lived more in my grandfather’s eyes than in her dress”;
- “He was afraid, but he had no favorite fear”;
- “My grandmother listened to the raindrops and adjusted her voice”;
- “Cold and warm, high and low, left and right, up and down, dark and light, Cyril and Methodius”… (The latter is a great example of zeugmatic enumeration, of a series of contrasts in which a completely different duality enters, according to the well-known rhetorical figure – zeugma. Such creative “maneuvers” are very rare even in serious and experienced creative writings.)
Or, as an indication of a penchant for instruction:
- “The only way to peace is the unpeace”;
- • “Something is sometimes bigger than everything”;
- • “It took root on a small dust”;
- • “What is to be done with so much life” …
To emphasize more explicitly the flawless connection between the text and the drawing, which is the heart of this work, I will point out some perfect “connections”:
- “Scratching on the bark of the dogwood” is represented by the zigzag line in which the line of the arm broken at the elbow ends;
- “Nail biting” is presented as a comb aimed at the lips;
- “There was no time for my grandmother” and the drawing with two pendulums in which the lines of the grandmother’s body end;
- “Harmonious sisters destroy a house” and the drawing of two girls with a common skirt – an inverted house…
The oxymoron from the title (“The Life of Death”) runs inside the text itself. Here is just one example: “The only faith my grandfather believed in was doubt.” (This oxymoron is both a lavish narrative and an instructiveness at the same time.)
Georgiev sometimes performes the reduction of the text, the “literary part”, with just one word. (Like “mother”, for example.) But this sovereignly functions at the level of correlation with the drawing, so that it does not shake the structure and the process of creation at all. On the contrary, it makes them freer, more interesting and more colorful. The same goes for the less engaged texts-drawings, but they represent a fine dose of topicality that gives it additional stridency, even a dimension of the creation, without interfering in the least.
The portraits, i.e. the micro-prose and the drawings from the cycle “Faces” are also very interesting. Here we find Mitko Hadzi Pulja, Minas Bakalchev, Vladimir Georgievski, Assange, Goran Stefanovski and many others.
The work of Pero Georgiev (without a doubt his upcoming book, as well) has a triple meaning: the first for him – to present him to us as a very interesting and fresh author like very few in our literary environment; the second for the publisher – because it enriches its existing editions and the third meaning – for opening the Macedonian literary context with borderline, hybrid syntheses and subgenres.
This rare and unusual creation tailored to many lovers of the concentrated literary expression, of the artistic “feast” in the literary, and vice versa: of the literary “fiest” in the art, is a real refreshment of the wider domestic creative context.