Seagull Books, 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.