Seagull Books, Hardcover, 9780857420886, 279pp.
Publication Date: October 15, 2013
Gone, "finito," The End, I say. A father who puts an end to it all before he wears down the whole family deserves more praise than damnation. Two sisters travel to Sofia in a convoy of luxury limousines arranged by a fellow Bulgarian exile to bury their less-than-beloved father. Like tourists, they are chauffeured by the ever-charming Ruben Apostoloff one sister in the back seat, one in the passenger seat, one sharp-tongued and aggressive, the other polite and considerate. In a caustic voice, Apostoloff shows them the treasures of his beloved country: the peacock-eye pottery (which contains poisonous dye), the Black Sea coast (which is utterly destroyed), the architecture (a twentieth-century crime). His attempts to win them over seem doomed to fail, as the sisters Bulgarian heritage is a heavy burden their father, a successful doctor and melancholy immigrant, appears in their dreams still dragging the rope with which he hanged himself.An account of a daughter's bitterly funny reckoning with her father and his country, laden with linguistic wit and black humor, "Apostoloff" will introduce the unique voice of Sibylle Lewitscharoff to a new and eager audience.
Katy Derbyshire is a Berlin-based translator from London. She has translated many German writers.