Square Cellar

Please see the book Square Cellar (2o12), a downloadable PDF version, for free use, in Armenian.

This book is comprised of the texts of Gevorg Ter-Gabrielyan, written in Armenian during the period 1981-1992. Many of these texts were published in the Armenian media between 1985 and1992. The author left Armenia in 1993 and returned in 2007.  During that fourteen-year period he did not write in Armenian. As such, this book is also an example of the return of an author to his native language.

For the most part, the texts appear in chronological order. They include short stories, longer stories, essays, articles and reviews of the work of key intellectual and creative figures of those times, such as Hrant Matevossyan, Aghassi Ayvazyan, film director Roman Balayan, et cetera. A special premiere is the extensive and unusual interview with Hrant Matevossyan, which is published for the first time.

The author returns to some of his themes and heroes in different texts and times; for instance, a long story about film director Karen Gevorgyanis included in the book as well as an article about his work, written several years later. Every text is followed by a recently written commentary. The commentary tells of the context and the details of creating this or that text. It adds another dimension to the early texts; the author looks at them today from a new angle. The book becomes a lyrical and ironic, soft intellectual journey - a novel about the time and oneself.

The reader does not have to follow the order in which the texts are presented; they can select and read the texts which they prefer in whichever order they desire. A student or an academic can read the texts about others’ texts. Those who feel nostalgia for the times of stagnation and perestroika can find something interesting in the early stories and essays. Those who want to rekindle the spirit of independence and the first years of the Karabakh war can read the publications of the early 1990s. A modern author, who claims that she is up to saying something new in the field of literature, may try to deconstruct the stylistic tools used in the book’s texts, some of which are successful and have stood the test of time, and others of which doubtlessly leave a justified impression of apprenticeship. Such an exercise may be particularly interesting given that the author proudly declares that he does not use accidental styles and that every word which appears in his work is carefully considered.

The memoir-novel “Hrant”, published online in Russian in 2007 and as a book in Armenian in 2018, tells the story of the appearance of many of the texts which are included in this book. The memoir-novel can be used by the reader as additional material for gaining a deeper understanding of the time and the deeds which are described in the current book.


18:45 March 17, 2020