|(c) Lilyana Dvoryanova|
This is the tenth in a series of posts that will preview the upcoming issue of Absinthe, our 17th, focused on Bulgaria. In this post we present an excerpt from a novel by Emiliya Dvoryanova.
From Passion, or the Death of Alice, translated by Lubomir Terziev
Never speak ill of the dead — my grandmother used to say, and so it has been accepted indeed; in the past they’d spit right into the mouth of anyone who would speak ill of a dead man so that when they swallow they’d take back their words into their throat.
But now I’m a witness in this case and you’re telling me that as my duty I must speak the truth, but the thing is I know such nasty stuff about the young lady that it makes my hair stand on end and I get them stomach cramps, God bless me, but this being my duty and being a citizen, despite the pangs and creepy though it all is, I’ll be telling you what you want me to — from the beginning, and about the end, nor will I spare the disgraceful details, though I’m filled with shame, but then again, I’m curious enough to know more than I need to know — one finds out about all kinds of human stuff, unwittingly, and sometimes it’s all too human for you to want to find out, because there’s no bounds to oddities and when one of them crops up, you pull yourself to the next, and you produce such a tangle that there’s no telling where it will all end. Well, I might have seen many an awful thing, but never did I predict such an end, and that morning, God bless me, I was summoning up some thoughts about the young lady while I was trying to unlock the gate, which had begun to stick months before, so every morning I had to shove in the key and turn it this way and that way, and at that very moment I thought I’d better not get in at all, it was a peculiar day, after all, a Holy Good Friday, and on days like that one must tune oneself in for God rather than be incited to evil thoughts and fickle feelings at the expense of the soul, and if I were to be strict and Orthodox by the canon, I shouldn’t have worked that day at all, telling the young lady as an excuse that I won’t do no cleaning until she has this rusty piece of iron oiled – I’d told her a hundred times and she would just laugh and then she goes like, well, yes, she’ll ask someone to pour some oil on it.
READ MORE by ordering Absinthe 17.
Learn more about Emiliya Dvoryanova and Bulgarian literature at the Contemporary Bulgarian Writers site.