'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.
Sibylle Lewitscharoff has won the Ingeborg Bachmann Prize for her debut novel Pong in 1998. A member of the German Academy of Language and Literature and the Berlin Academy of Arts, her most recent novel Blumenberg was awarded the Wilhelm Raabe Literature Prize in 2011 and shortlisted for the German Book Prize. In 2013, she was awarded the prestigious Georg Büchner Prize.
Katy Derbyshire co-edits the online magazine of contemporary German writing in English (www.no-man's-land.org) and co-hosts a monthly translation lab in Berlin. She has translated books by Helene Hegemann, Clemens Meyer, Simon Urban, Dorothee Elmiger, Inka Parei and Tilman Rammstedt.