Monday, June 4, 2018

In Appreciation of Bulgarian Literature

Ever since my return from Bulgaria in 2011 I have looked for ways to retain a connection to the country. In addition to using Bulgaria as the setting for my two suspense novels and writing travel articles encouraging tourists to visit, I have kept my eyes open for books that would refresh my memories of the two years I lived in Sofia.

My connection with Bulgaria led to my participation in Bulgarian Literature Month, organized by the Global Literature in Libraries Initiative, a website which “strives to raise the visibility of world literature for adults and children at the local, national and international levels.”

During the month of June, “readers will have the opportunity to get an overview regarding Bulgarian literature that is available in English translation.” International readers must take into consideration that very few books by Bulgarian authors have been translated into English. Bulgarian Literature Month, organized and curated by Thomas Hübner, enables English-speaking readers to at least get to “know ... the tip of the iceberg of Bulgarian literature.”

I chose as my topic the first two novels of Alek Popov, a Bulgarian novelist, dramatist, essayist, and short story writer. His novel Mission London was first published in 2001 while his second novel, The Black Box, was first published in 2007. Both books have been translated into English although Popov’s third novel, The Palaveevi Sisters (2013) has not yet been published in English translation. The common element of his first two novels is Popov’s wry, eastern European humor. Popov’s satirical writing gives comical insight into Bulgaria’s efforts to transition from a communist state to a modern democracy.

Read my article The Satire of Alek Popov on the Global Literature in Libraries Initiative website.

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