Our next book club discussion will revolve around short stories, where we will dive into the world’s created by our authors and explore themes that bring various stories together. Our next chat will be hosted on 23 September from 7pm CEST onwards.
We will be joined by EUPL 2019 winning author Daina Opolskaitė for our next discussion. Join in by sending us your questions on our social channels by using #EUPLbookclub or through our Book Club group on Facebook. Join the conversation from 7pm below:
As usual, we are spotlighting three EUPL winning novels – to be able to participate in the book club, you only need to read one:
Dienų Piramidės by Daina Opolskaitė
Opolskaitė’s short stories (a collection of thirteen in this book) usually start off with intimately observed close relations within a family: between spouses, between parents and children, between siblings; sometimes between close young friends or lovers. Themes of betrayal and long-standing sense of guilt are explored by means of a sensitive and exquisite literary language. Out of an ordinary level the situation is usually shifted onto something extraordinary; unexpected new aspects of the relationships emerge, the reader is offered a view from a fresh perspective. Within a net of entangled human relationships, we acquire an eye-opening unexpected dimension which also sheds new light on certain nuances of human predicament as such. This is mostly achieved with an ingenious tour de force at the very end of a story, providing a subtle epiphany. The effect is sometimes brought about by a subtle revelation of a hidden nuance in the very final sentence or two, or introducing a mystical thread into the story, which mostly serves as an unobtrusive literary device, opening up a new angle on the human relationships; for instance, when, in the final stage, the narrator does not yet realize, and the reader sees it only later, that she has just died, and it was her ghost speaking to herself and to us.
Breve teoría del viaje y el desierto (Brief theory of travel and the desert) by Cristian Crusat
The six stories of Breve teoría del viaje y el desierto contemplate the full range of human experience. They take us on a journey around the world, from the arid landscapes of the Mediterranean coast to the work of the brilliant Serbian writer, Milorad Pavić. All of the characters are waiting for, searching for, or exploring the possibility of a revelation which never appears in their numbed here-and-now. And yet, paradoxically, they seem incapable of taking any kind of effective action, with the possible exception of Lena, who writes from the floating world of dreams. As Sufi mysticism tells us, the soul craves change, and immobility can feel like a slow death that can creep up anywhere: turning up on roads, in deserted parking lots or hotels packed with tourists (the desert of the modern world). However, fate or mere chance (an irrelevant incident, someone fainting on a nudist beach, a plane crash that never actually happened) can reveal in a flash the true face of a character’s isolation. Thanks to an extraordinarily versatile prose, a nomadic style, which adapts to the different spiritual, physical or imaginary locations of each story and to the fragile individuality of their inhabitants, Crusat guides these buffeted characters through the abyss of fears, self-doubt and desires which make up the modern world.
Има ли кой да ви обича (Is there anybody to love you) by Kalin Terziiski
This collection incorporates 16 short stories. The book conveys the author’s knowledge of modern cities, containing a subtle sense of humour and depicting larger than life characters. The young author turns life into a new narrative reality, into a new writer’s philosophy. His stories relate to the mysteries of life in the urban space. But the big city in the book is not one we would know so well. It resembles a city in a fairy tale – filled with secrets and drama. It is a big city that offers very colourful theatrical decors, against the background of which deep and strange human drama develops. For example, the short story ‘Love’ is about the unacceptable love that a university teacher has towards her student – a pretty but unapproachable young man, who only looks unapproachable because everyone else thinks he is. The story unfolds in a microbiology lab where the teacher works. Out of despair, she decides to poison this young man. In the end, in a bizarre twist of fate, she finds out that he also loved her… Another story, ‘Collector of Values’ is about a poor man who collects waste from the streets that only he, his eyes unburdened by social prejudice, can see the true riches of. He discovers a small bundle of discarded love letters, which become a real treasure to him. The short stories of Kalin Terziiski are an attempt at establishing a new tradition in Bulgarian prose: a tradition of humanistic and poetical urbanism.