Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Absinthe 17 Preview: Ivan Dimitrov

This is the 15th in a series of posts previewing the new issue of Absinthe, our 17th, focused on Bulgaria. In this post we present an excerpt from a novel by Ivan Dimitrov.

from Life as a Missing Spoon, translated by Angela Rodel

THE STORY OF MY TRANSFORMATION INTO A JUNKIE began one warm evening in early summer on a park bench near the National Palace of Culture. There my friends and I were drinking beer, discussing Pelevin and thinking of going to a book premiere. What book? You’ll surely ask, since everyone knows that kids these days don’t read much. Well, Kamen asked me the same thing, too.

“The latest book by a writer, an old friend of my mom’s. I think they went to high school together,” I told him.

The writer in question was one of our closest family friends. He was also connected with my parents’ business, since they owned a publishing house.

“OK, but what’s the book about, Nikola?”

Kamen often became intolerable when he got his drink on — he simply loved to argue, to pick apart your every word, and he was pretty aggressive about it. I had long since stopped letting him get to me.

“I haven’t read it, I just glanced through it. But I do know that it’s long-awaited, this writer hasn’t published anything in six years. Rumor has it that it’s gonna be the novel of the year, maybe of the decade. The elusive Big Novel about the transition or some bullshit like that.”

“Wasn’t the literature of grand narratives in crisis?” Kamen smirked.

“Tough to say, but I wouldn’t be surprised if this novel is the book of the year or the decade. Lots of things point to it, most of all the critics.”

“I don’t give a shit about the critics, dude. What do you think?”

“It’s a novel for a different generation. We’re not there, we’re missing.”

That day, everything was going without a hitch. We were having fun and were slightly buzzed from the beer and any second we would be heading off to a cultural event.

READ MORE by ordering Absinthe 17.

Learn more about Ivan Dimitrov and Bulgarian literature at the Contemporary Bulgarian Writers site.

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