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Gapers Block published from April 22, 2003 to Jan. 1, 2016. The site will remain up in archive form. Please visit Third Coast Review, a new site by several GB alumni.
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Author Sun Apr 13 2014

Two Bulgarian Writers, in Translation and in Person

It's safe to say that practically none of us in the U.S. are reading enough literature in translation. And should you protest, well: what's the last novel you read from, say, Bulgaria? (For real, tell me about it in the comments!) This Friday, April 18, at 6pm, Seminary Co-op Bookstore (5751 S. Woodlawn) and the University of Chicago's Center for East European and Russian/Eurasian Studies bring together two prominent Bulgarian authors with their translators. In addition to reading from their novels, Virginia Zaharieva and Albena Stambolova will discuss what it was like to collaborate on their translations with Angela Rodel and Olga Nikolova, respectively.

18406293.jpgZaharieva's Nine Rabbits came out in Bulgaria in 2008, and immediately won praise for its eclectic blend of memoir, feminist meditation, and even recipes, letting ambitious readers can experience the story in a sort of taste-o-vision. It tells the story of a middle-aged artist and her childhood being raised by her grandmother, a woman of "monstrous energy," on the coast of the Black Sea.

Stambolova is a somewhat weirder writer. Her debut novel, Everything Happens as It Does (originally published in 2002), does the opacity of its title justice with quotations from Wittgenstein, psychoanalytical archetypes, and elements of fairy tales. Her prose, at least as filtered through Nikolova's, is both destabilizing and humorous--for instance: "Wearing glasses had the effect of calming the vague fears the family harbored about Boris. Not that now they knew him better than before. But an introvert boy with glasses was less worrying than an introvert boy without glasses." It ought to be a joy to hear in person.

 
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