Translated by Kimberley McFarlane and Beyon Miloyan
The year is 1877 and the Ottoman Empire is embroiled in war. A young man escapes a crumbling fortress during a military siege. Disguising himself as a jester, he entertains the enemy camp before disappearing into the night. He sets out on a passionate and daring mission that involves a wealthy family, secret contrabandists, corrupt government officials, self-absorbed clerics, and a young propagandist from Constantinople. All are in pursuit of their own secret motives, while their nation lies on the brink of doom…
First published in 1880, The Fool is Raffi’s most renowned work and saw him hailed as a prophet after the Ottoman Empire’s 30-year genocide (1894-1924) of its Armenian, Assyrian, and Greek populations came to pass.
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Hakob Melik Hakobian, better known as Raffi, was born in the Persian village of Payajuk in 1835 to a family of wealthy merchants. He was educated in Tbilisi, before he took over the family textile business. Thereafter, he taught and travelled extensively throughout Armenia, Transcaucasia, and eastern Anatolia (historical Armenia), and dedicated his life to writing. Raffi is among Armenia's literary treasures. He wrote over a dozen novels, short stories and poems, and pioneered the Armenian historical novel.
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