Everything Happens as it Does

Albena Stambolova, Author, Olga Nikolova, Translator
Albena Stambolova, trans. from the Bulgarian by Olga Nikolova. Open Letter (Longleaf, dist.), $12.95 trade paper (120p) ISBN 978-1-934824-84-9
Reviewed on: 11/11/2013
Release date: 11/01/2013
Ebook - 120 pages - 978-1-934824-87-0
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In this cryptic, compressed and layered novella, an undefined cast of characters is bound in a net of coincidence. We first meet a young boy named Boris, a precocious loner with a peculiar relationship to bees. The story follows him through his haunting baptism, and later to his odd union with Maria, the divorcee of Philip and mother of twins—the inquisitive Valentin and eccentric Margarita. As a student Valentin falls for Fanny, the daughter of his mother's divorce lawyer, Mr. V. Fanny is independent and cynical about matters of love, yet Valentin and his sister attract her. Margarita avoids thought and proceeds without analyzing her circumstances, carrying a black bag and laptop around town. At times fairytale-like, and perhaps an allegory of sorts, this book is about a group over individuals and accidental responsibilities. What it lacks in plot and action it makes up for in philosophical depth. Told in short, episodic anti-scenes, by a third-person narrator who flits on the fringes of consciousness, the result may leave some readers craving a more concrete storyline, whereas others will embrace the text with multiple interpretations and rich discussion. (Nov.)
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