Hard-boiled Detective Fiction or Socialist Realism? Vladislav Todorov’s “Zift,” Translated from Bulgarian by Joseph Benatov
“Zift” evokes the hard-boiled characters and settings of American detective fiction of the 1930s and film noir of the 1940s. The novel follows the nocturnal adventures of Moth, the first-person narrator, just released from the Central Sofia Prison after doing time for twenty years for a heist gone wrong. Moth – in Todorov’s perverse twist of the noir genre – is a character steeped in communist ideology and traversing the map of a distinctly communist city.
Nataliya Deleva’s Four Minutes is a profound, heart-breaking meditation on the notions of home and homelessness, with their myriad manifestations and implications in our contemporary world. An orphanage in post-communist Bulgaria provides the physical and psychological coordinates of the narrator’s existence and of the book’s loose narrative frame. Called simply and anonymously “the Home,” this […]
Immigrant Song: “My Brother’s Suitcase: Stories About the Road,” Translated from Bulgarian by Ekaterina Petrova
By Izidora Angel No matter where you go, you always carry your loneliness with you, even that unconscious black loneliness that bubbles up beneath the youthful optimism. Zoya Marincheva, “Meridians and Demons” (from My Brother’s Suitcase) That Bulgarian even exists to translate from is a kind of miracle. Despite the country’s rich history dating back […]
In Bulgarian, which I translate from, translating into a language that’s not your native tongue is colloquially known as obraten prevod, which literally means “reverse translation.” As an adjective, obraten carries the negative connotation of something abnormal or backward, something that goes against the grain, or something that simply isn’t right.
“The Dangerous Charm of Leaving”: Bogdan Rusev’s “Come To Me,” Translated from Bulgarian by Ekaterina Petrova
By Philip Graham The discovery of contemporary Bulgarian literature has been one of the great gifts of my recent reading life. Though the books I’ve read can be quite varied, they seem connected by a combination of humor and soulful melancholy, a literary territory where trouble can perhaps best be endured by sad or […]
By Izidora Angel Keder, like other words in the Bulgarian language, is of Turkish origin. It means sorrow, but also grief and sadness. The story goes that the ancient Turks believed when a person dies, he bestows to his closest forty sorrows, for each of the forty days after death. With each passing day, fewer […]
by Milena Deleva Chad Post is the publisher of Open Letter Books at the University of Rochester, a non-profit press dedicated to publishing literature in translation which he founded in 2007. But it does more than publishing: the press is at the center of an ecosystem that creates context and appetite for translated literature. In […]
Reviewed by Stiliana Milkova “I imagine a book containing every kind and genre,” declares the first-person narrator of Georgi Gospodinov’s novel The Physics of Sorrow. And then he elaborates, “From monologue through Socratic dialogue to epos in hexameter, from fairy tales through treatises to lists. From high antiquity to slaughter house instructions. Everything can be […]