A Short Tale of Shame

Angel Igov, trans. from the Bulgarian by Angela Rodel. Open Letter (Longleaf, dist.), $13.95 trade paper (145p) ISBN 978-1-934824-76-4
Like the best of Continental literature, Igov's short and haunting novel manages to be about everything and nothing at once. The novel relays, with fever-dream-realism, the events after Boril Krustev, a grieving widower, and aging ex-rocker, on a whim, picks up a trio of twenty-somethings; Maya, Spartacus, and Sirma on leave from University to re-appraise their future. He hitchhikes along the highway, and travels with them along a mythic coast of an unnamed Balkin state, fraught with allegorical ethnic division. From this skeleton of a plot, Igov inhabits the consciousness of each character, moves backwards and forwards from the past to the present, and explores with affection the trials of middle-age and the melancholy of youth; from the blossoming of friendship, to the death of a spouse, from first love to infidelity; the fulcrum of the novel being Krustev's daughter, Elena, whose presence and absence animates this tale like Godot. With a radiant translation by Rodel, who renders Igov's prose with breathless lyricism, the novel, co-winner of the 2012 contemporary Bulgarian writers contest, is both a sweeping and small meditation on four intertwined lives, united and divided by both the unavoidable shame at the center of the human condition—and the manifest beauty of being alive. (May)
Reviewed on: 06/24/2013
Release date: 05/01/2013
Open Ebook - 145 pages - 978-1-934824-81-8
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