The presentation of the book was hosted by the U.S. Consulate in Almaty on Wednesday, August 24.
This is the first time Auezov's travel notes have been translated into a foreign language. The English translation was written by Dennis Keen and Nurgul Nazarova. Dennis Keen, an American specialist in Kazakh history, culture and language, came up with the book idea.
According to the translator, he learned about the Kazakh writer’s trip to the U.S. while looking through a digital archive for American newspapers.
Auezov, whose magnum opus “The Path of Abai” represents the canon of Kazakh literature, was part of the first delegation of writers to be sent to the U.S., as part of an agreement with the Soviet Union to establish mutual cultural ties.
The writer spent a month in America, traveling through New York, Washington, Arizona and California and recording his impressions in a collection of travel notes which he called “Impressions of America”.
In addition to the writer’s essays, the travelogue includes entries from his personal diary. Keen noted that the entries allow the reader to immerse themselves in the era and understand the impressions of a Soviet man in America.
"In his essays, Mukhtar Auezov was quite serious, but, in his personal diary, the picture is quite different: he devoted as many as ten pages to memories of Disneyland and another to a description of a supermarket. The writer was fascinated by American cinema. In just one month, he managed to see a dozen films," Dennis Keen said.
The travelogue includes the list of places the writer visited, people he met and even the films he watched.
Director of Auezov Home-Museum Diar Konayev said the book gives a pretty accurate characterization of the writer. In one of the museum's displays, visitors can find a photo taken of him in front of the Grand Canyon.
Auezov's death in 1961, a year after his return from America, had caused his work to remain unfinished until this year.
The book release is supported by the U.S. Consulate and the Auezov House Museum in Almaty. Only a limited number of 1,500 copies were published in print. The copies are expected to go on sale on the writer's 125th anniversary – September 28, 2022.
For now, readers can read the electronic version of the book in Kazakh on the platform kitap.kz.