If you haven’t been paying attention to Bulgarian literary fiction lately, you will have an opportunity to set things right this weekend at Malaprop’s Celebrating Bulgarian Authors in Translation event. On Sunday, April 13 at 3 p.m., Bulgarian authors Virginia Zaharieva (Nine Rabbits, Black Balloon) and Albena Stambolova (Everything Happens as it Does, Open Letter Books) will visit the bookstore to discuss their writing and careers — both in their home country and abroad.
“I wrote Nine Rabbits in order to open more space for celebrating my life here and now,” says Zaharieva. “I also wanted to write a novel for people looking for a balance between their enormous appetites and their desire to live simply.” In addition to her writing career, Zaharieva is a psychotherapist and feminist. The event is one of six stops on her U.S. tour to to promote Nine Rabbits, the writer’s first novel to be translated into English for American readers.
Stambolova is the author of three novels: Everything Happens as It Does, Hop-Hop the Stars, and An Adventure, to Pass the Time. She has also published a collection of short stories, Three Dots, and a psychoanalytical study on Marguerite Duras, Sickness in Death. She received the 2013 Contemporary Bulgarian Writers award for Everything Happens as It Does.
“In Bulgaria during the height of communism in the 1960s, six-year-old Manda survives her cruel grandmother and rural poverty by finding sheer delight in the world — plump vegetables, garden gnomes, and darkened attic corners. The young Manda endures severe beatings, seemingly indestructible. But as a middle-aged artist in newly democratic Bulgaria, she desperately tries to feed her damaged soul.
Nine Rabbits was a bestselling title in Bulgaria when it was released in 2008. As with Black Balloon’s spring 2013 title, Our Man in Iraq, Nine Rabbits is an exceptional English language translation of literary fiction from an underrepresented country. Literary critics have labeled Zaharieva a brilliant representative of Bulgarian ecriture feminine.”
About Everything Happens as it Does:
“Albena Stambolova’s idiosyncratic debut novel, Everything Happens as It Does, builds from the idea that, as the title suggests, everything happens exactly the way it must. In this case, the seven characters of the novel — from Boris, a young boy who is only at peace when he’s around bees, to Philip and Maria and their twins—each play a specific role in the lives of the others, binding them all together into a strange, yet logical, knot. As characters are picked up, explored, and then swept aside, the novel’s beguiling structure becomes apparent, forcing the reader to pay attention to the patterns created by this accumulation of events and relationships. This is not a novel of reaching moral high ground; this is not a book about resolving relationships; this is a story whose mysteries are mysteries for a reason.”
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About Lea McLellan
Lea McLellan is a freelance writer who likes to write stories about music, art, food, wellness and interesting locals doing interesting things.
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