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“Men’yu Tebedilu” Experiences and challenges of Novice Author

Author: Fenkel Zerai Gebreab

Genre: Ordinary Fiction

Language: Tigrigna(Vernacular)

Pages: 224

In his well credited work of 1613, Antonio Sera, an economist from Italia, once echoed that: “As the sun hardens clay but softens wax, as the same whistle will calm the horse, but excite the dog.” Hence, as nature of the sun follows with different naturedly inherited response, similarly, readers– whether they are current readers or not–have varied options in determining what genres they expect to read. And fortunately enough, Fenkil Zerai, 24, has distributed one moderately crafted- fiction book in connection with Eritrea’s National Festival.

“Men’Yu TeBrdilu” (Who is the Heart-Stabbed One?) runs to tell us of youngsters’ love affair in Sawa. This is, however, a limited horizon of the book’s whole content. Reading the book, therefore, gives a specified detail about the panoptic life of youth in National Center for academy, vocational and military training: Sawa.


Of course, the story and plot of this book is ordinary. However, artistic way of telling the story profile made it to be branded as one of the latest literary productions in Tigrigna here in Eritrea. Truly, highly underpinned by the simplicity of the language, one reader has a great chance to finish it as soon as he picked it from Eritrean Shelves.

Undoubtedly, as the great Ger¬man economist authenticated once, “Society today is like a ladder where the middle steps are rotten.” Absolutely, art productions are the earnest remedy for redeeming the rotten part from joining the ocean of disappearance. Therefore, Fenkil’s Zerai book entitled “Men’yu TeBedilu” need an extra glance to understand its philosophy, rhythms of its content, its uncomplicated writing style, role of the characters and their aesthetic brands.


On page 1 of this book, the story kicks-off its curtain with a moment of nostalgias on the eve of leaving to Sawa; Temesgen, one of the activated characters and a young with sporadic feelings of maleness, dominated the starting podium. After this, Hermela and Aryam appear to readers in dynamic way. Commonly, both ladies have an ideal and practical life that dives deep into the world of freedom and transparency. As Chaterine Hapurun of this book, Aryam especially embraced the basic elements what one victorious character expects to have; her words are not sophisticated and entangled as we can read Hermela’s linguistic and communicational representations. Indeed, the tone is clear, and, assuredly, there was no any exaggerated at¬tempt by Aryam to operationalize such alleged philosophical conversations.

Meanwhile, with all its managed merits, books that were written during the time of federation had one bolded pros; most of the stories had the chance of abandonment by the authors. Soon, moral and ethics centered homily overwhelm flow of the story.“ Way Ane Dekey!” by Abeba Tesfagiorgis (Beatai), “Aywereskun” by Alemseged Tesfu and Ghirmay Araya’s “Hanti Mefth N’GZeyawyan Sebat” are absolute indicatives of such literary mirrors. However, popular–but I am positive that they can’t be selected–books of that time (during federation) were “Tinsaen AweTen” a book which was published by Arti-Graphico in 1945 G.C, and, similarly, “KibeRyo BeLuni” by Debesu Abebe, of 1950 G.C publication. Without being engulfed with much more literary tricks, indeed, those aforementioned books had one inescapable power: they really comprehended physiological status of that time generations. And Fenkil’s Zerai book–as a partial and droplet chronicles of Sawa’s kaleidoscopic life, has the root–not the stem–for capturing readers’ attention.

Characters of “Men’yu TeBedilu”

Temesgen, Abel, Hermela, Aryam, Wedi AbaJigo, Tesfom, Melat and other minor characters roam in “Men’Yu TeBedilu” in varied directions. Majority of them attempts to defeat such bottlenecks that were a daily event. In this story that runs from Asmara to Sahara, the characters are successful in protesting, commenting, neglecting, accommodating and neutralizing their actions. Truly, the characters are not equipped with the preliminary mind set thereby to bring a new-flanged angle.

What good of the characters is, therefore, they are realistically modeled representatives of young-sters’ life in Sawa. Love, education, military training, agricultural activities and sanitary programs in Sawa portrayed clearly. No matter of a fascinated ladder he applied in excelling his story and its flow, Fenkil has been triumphant to replicate Sawa’s life “as it is, where it is.” This is, absolutely, out of blue. And followed to late Mr. Beyene Haile , and, Haben Teklom, he, Fenkil, is our third writer to show his artistic production which was written while he was aged 19. That is why we need to trigger some laborious writers for they have the readiness to build a bridge that would be an acknowledged aisle and for bettered life pattern.

Meanwhile, without deflecting to other point, names and representations of the characters in book are not reasonably armored. But, no matters of this, the characters are commanders of their fortunes, soldiers for serving their wishes and slaves of their creator, the author.

Additional Spices

“Initially, I would like to notify you that there is not an absolute en¬joyment in this world. Indeed, you became happy today, and heart-stabbed tomorrow! The world hasn’t the sense of absoluteness. Our existence is, undeniably, to bring a change. Hence, we haven’t to bow our head desperately with the sense of vacuum that may arouse us to declare that our world is filled with merest feelings.” (P.123, Men’Yu TeBedilu).

Taking Afternoon tea with the Author of ‘Men’Yu Tebedilu’

*Why you need to write this book?

–Telling your story, your vision and your sorrows and elements of happiness have been an aged culture of human society. Therefore, as a novice writer, I have this book to share my story in, as I believe, new angle.

*However, some of the characters speak a language that is not ordinary. Why like those entanglements…

–In my view, artists do not expect to mirror what is fact always. The friendship of the ladies in Sawa, their words and lifestyles are pure expectations of what I am enthusiastic to manage in such podiums.

*What efforts, without giving such glance to other paths, do you follow to empower the strength of your artistic productions?

–surprisingly, I am not a good reader. Now, however, I have known that I have to read such underpinning books and articles related with literature. Of course, reading is the way for toppling such bad elements of writing bad books in their contents.

*As you have already started pacing through the long, tedious and tenacity demanding way, what really amazed you while authoring this book?

–I was writing day and night. The pain was resultant. And triumphantly, my family paid all means to inspire me. At last, this book enabled to join the shelves of Eritrean readers. But to deliberate transparently, the question of publishers is an indomitable lion that has been glowing at the financially starved authors. Indeed, it is a painstaking experience to witness an author lined with traders to sell his books as if they are commercialized commodities. Of course, we need to solve this problem.

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