"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.
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"Starred Review. Lewitscharoff's caustic prose can be occasionally overbearing but it's her sharp-eyed, unsentimental, and even lyrical musings that make this novel a spiky, pungent pleasure." - Publishers Weekly
"Those looking to get to know Sibylle Lewitscharoff will find a little bit of von Eichendorff, a little Robert Walser and Peter Handke, and a bit of world-weary impudence and a tremendous desire for expression... Above all, we find a well-traveled savviness that is as at ease in different surroundings as it is stubborn to not be dissuaded from the conviction that life is full of beauty." - Suddeutsche Zeitung
"This is a book to be read slowly, a book that shows the ugliest side of a post-communist country from an outsider's point of view. There are various well-drawn minor characters, including the terribly likeable eponymous driver, and the two sisters come across as very credible as they struggle with their emotions. " - Love German Books Blog
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Sibylle Lewitscharoff has written essays and radio plays, and is the author of five novels, most recently Consummatus.
Katy Derbyshire is a Berlin-based translator from London. She has translated many German writers, including Inka Parei's The Shadow-Boxing Woman, published by Seagull Books.
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