SmallStations - Books in Bulgarian
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.
Rosalía de Castro (1837-1885) is considered the founder of modern Galician literature. She wrote three major books of poetry: two in Galician, Galician Songs and New Leaves, and one in Spanish, On the Banks of the Sar. Nourished by the popular songs the author heard around her, Galician Songs was first published in 1863 and dedicated on 17 May, the date that a hundred years later, in 1963, would become Galician Literature Day. In her poetry, there is a little from all the world and a lot from Galicia. There are brides who mourn for their bridegrooms, gone abroad to become workers; there is unrequited love, lamented by both maidens and bachelors; there is sorrow for the abandoned homeland and sorrow for the homeland that is shared, equal to God’s blessing in its fertility. Without being religious, this poetry is rich in spirituality from the Holy Scriptures, from the scriptures of our ancestors. Without being balladic or dramatic, there are places where the text speaks with the voice of Shakespeare or with that of the Bulgarian classics Slaveykov and Bagriana.
Petja Heinrich (Sofia, 1973) is a poet, blogger and cyclist who talks to birds. She is the author of five poetry collections, and the founder and editor-in-chief of the magazine No Poezia. She received second place in the National Slaveykov Award for poetry in 2010. Her poetry is experimental, sensitive and philosophical. It makes you think of it as a mathematical equation. And it keeps your passion alive until you manage to solve it. It has numerous variants and an open end.
Zsuzsa Beney was a poet, literary critic and doctor specializing in lung disease. She worked as a doctor in Budapest and at the same time was a doctor in philology. She wrote poems, essays and novels, carried out translations and scientific research. Central themes of her poetry are pain, the mirror images of existence and non-existence, life’s paradoxes. Objectless Existence is one of her final works, dedicated to the myth of Orpheus and Eurydice, a comprehensive, Homer-like poem about death. Beney won many literature awards, including the Radnoti Award for lifetime achievement and the award of the Hungarian Writers’ Association.
Edvin Sugarev is assistant professor at New Bulgarian University, a poet and publicist. All his life he has written a large amount, always unreasonably. He is the author of twenty-two poetry collections, one novel, four books of criticism and literary history, several books of current affairs and hundreds of articles in magazines. He has been the publisher of the magazine Most, editor-in-chief of the weekly Literaturen vestnik and director of the newspaper Demokratsiya. He has worked in a variety of jobs: as a postman, MP, ambassador to Mongolia and India, and so on. His book of fragments is a reflection on life in which natural phenomena gravitate around the author’s erudition and philosophical depths. “Everything is said,” writes Sugarev, “but everything has long been forgotten and has to be said again.”
Lois Pereiro is the most charismatic Galician poet. A rebel and follower of the surrealist movement, he died at the same age as Christ as a result of accidental poisoning, a drug addiction and Aids. He left behind three poetry books, the first of them published posthumously. His work is filled with fantastic visions, with faith in resurrection in and through the other, and with life and poetry in “tonality”. He sends a message to us of anger towards a brutal world in comparison with the image of a flower and a revival for a new beginning.
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.
In his most recent collection, Yordan Eftimov again provokes with the presence or absence of a lyrical hero. His poems are hot-honest and endowed with an ill-defined presence. Using the evolutionary development of the human being from an amoeba to a killer or the act of making love on top of a grave, regardless of the ugliness or beauty of the gesture, the main purpose being to arouse the senses, the author provides a true story which clouds thoughts in order to awaken the reader from his lethargy.
Winner of both the Ivan Nikolov and the Hristo Fotev Poetry Awards in 2013.