Small Stations Fiction in Bulgarian
The plot of the book follows real events linked with the killing of Lasa and Zabala (in the novel, Soto and Zeberio) by GAL, a paramilitary group practising so-called state terrorism against ETA during the rule of the Socialist government in the 1980s. The protagonist Diego Lazkano, a writer and close friend of the victims, is caught between his sense of guilt and his uneventful career. Faced with a choice, he opts for his place in the sun like pine needles, which remain silent on one side and therefore survive. In an anxious time of intrigues and journalistic manipulations, a Bohemian life and the lack of any morals is a way to be generous with yourself. Even though this book doesn’t follow the standard process of the postmodern novel of intertwining new events and people, the destiny of the heroes appears and disappears permanently in its pages, which gives it the feeling of unreality, of a mirage, that is so important for any successful criminal-psychological drama. The novel received both the Spanish Critics’ Prize and the Euskadi Prize for Literature.
In this novel, happiness and unhappiness follow one another, while happiness is just a spark in the night. The heroes who live in an oppressed, poor and monotonous atmosphere are like patches in the background of fertile nature and the wondrous, wild company of mice, moles, lizards and other animals, their reincarnated fellow villagers. And yet everybody manages to find his own mercy and comfort. The bored housewife in a former classmate who puts flowers in her garden, introducing beauty into her daily life. The dumb brother in the princess of the tales who lives behind three golden rings and is protected by a wild pig. The rich lady in her friendship with a neighbour, sharing her life as if it were a story from the Titanic. In Manuel Rivas’ works, magic and realism follow their most classical structure, but with a simplicity and use of metaphor that border on high poetry.
Agustín Fernández Paz’s book can be called not a bestseller, but a thriller. Dealing with the known, but ending with the unknown. Suggesting the expected, but giving the reader the unexpected. Great love, a psychiatric hospital, exorcism and the unravelling of a plot which turns Freud, Jung and civilization upside down. People are a lonely crowd, under and over which the primary forces of nature prevail. They are like in a clamp, from which the only way out, though unreal, is the deceit of the megalopolis. A story so black it oozes tar, which stops you breathing.
“What more does a man need than a horse, a revolver and a woman with a flower’s name to feel like a king?” writes Rivas and in a single sentence he embraces all the book, galloping through a world of pain and love seen with a look as pure as a child’s, as eccentric as a poet’s. In this book of sixteen tales that constitute a whole are heart-breaking stories in which the feeling of things precedes the things themselves, the end is in need of interpretation, and every image is a human cell – incomparable and trembling with life. The delicate style, the way the stories grab the reader, the erudite respect towards the reader and the ability to charge things with love place the author and this book forever on the list of classic works not to be missed.
Suso de Toro’s books appear like screenplays or simple plays. You can count the main heroes on your fingers; dialogue governs the action, characters and environment. The feeling is one of careering along in a Land Rover. Considered by critics as the author of degraded urban surroundings, a pornographic viewpoint and the deconstruction of language, he rushes unexpectedly into a biblical (or Shakespearean) story of fratricide and incest born out of envy not towards the other, but towards a third side. A Bermuda triangle of parents and children, lovers and customers of the flesh, where the privacy of family is a bargain, and sin isn’t just a parasite that feeds off a foreign body, but the air needed for surviving, or even burning.
This novel is located somewhere between the genres of fantasy and political prose. The mysticism in the book is a metaphor for the breakdown of Albanian life, lost between generations and times. The past is full of guilt, the present is purgatory, and the future is an incarnation in a home for blind people. This is a desperate story about the post-totalitarian collapse of the soul, which wanders like an eel through a maze of underground rivers. To quote the newspaper Korrieri, “The prose doesn’t just roll along the lines, it flies.”
This is the only the second book written in the Galician language of northwest Spain to be translated into Bulgarian. Widely acclaimed and widely translated, The Carpenter’s Pencil is a story of love set against the backdrop of the Spanish Civil War. The author, Manuel Rivas, seeks to dispel the darkness of hate with the light of fantasy, humour and tenderness. Günter Grass claimed to have learnt more about the Spanish Civil War from reading this novel than from any history book.