This is a collection of 50 stories, some so short, that one blink and they’re gone, and yet what glimpses you do get are into a world of fairy tales, where Gretel is a prostitute and Hansel her down at the heel pimp, following a trail of tarnished Lev*.
This is a world where the lunatics have taken over the asylum, in fact all is asylum. Where a hitman has to kill his brother, where a ghost visits a pawnbroker to give him a watch inscribed to him. A world where a clown brokers a deal involving a lion and some gangsters, where a girl with dreams of being a Marionettist, wakes up to life as a cabaret dancer.
Circus Bulgaria is absurd, painfully funny and deeply sad. These tales reach straight into the cracked heart of post communist Bulgaria, some of these stories appear incomplete, more like fragments of a dream, things stop, not necessarily with a neat conclusion. Life ends.
Then there are the stories that you read, re-read and still don’t understand, the stories that haunt your thought processes, but remain locked tight, like shutters on a window, you know there’s something on the other side, but there’s just something in the way, or you would understand this tale, if only you had the right reference points.
Deyan Enev draws on the myths & nightmare creatures of his homeland to paint vivid landscapes
& intimate portraits of his country and it’s people, the parts of Bulgaria that time forgot. Families working the land, in the way they have done for centuries. But the new lords are the men in flash cars who thrive on the violence, neon lights and squalor of the cities, leaving one with the sense that something has been lost.
In the short story “The Garden of forking paths” Borges writes “Time forks perpetually towards innumerable futures”- yet not all paths continue, some may, some travel a short distance before halting at some barrier, some obstruction, a border. But what if within that path everything is mutable, inconstant, fickle, in flux ? Welcome to Circus Bulgaria.
Translator - Kapka Kassabova is a poet, essayist and travel writer who was born in Sofia, Bulgaria in 1973. After leaving Bulgaria as a teenager and living in England and New Zealand, she now resides in Edinburgh, Scotland.(wiki)
* Bulgarian Currency: 1 Lev = 0.51 Euros = 0.67 US dollars(approx.)