"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
The information about Apostoloff shown above was first featured in "The BookBrowse Review" - BookBrowse's online-magazine that keeps our members abreast of notable and high-profile books publishing in the coming weeks. In most cases, the reviews are necessarily limited to those that were available to us ahead of publication. If you are the publisher or author of this book and feel that the reviews shown do not properly reflect the range of media opinion now available, please send us a message with the mainstream media reviews that you would like to see added.
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.
Blood at the Root
"A gripping, timely, and important examination of American racism."
- PW Starred Review
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