11 July 2012

Bitter Sky, by Zdravka Evtimova

A bizarre, dark, but rather wonderful collection of linked tales. From the very beginning, you realize that this is not a typical book. One of the early stories describes a shopkeeper in a pet store being asked for mole's blood. Not having any, s/he ends up cutting her own wrist to extract some blood. By the end of the story, hordes are coming for the miraculous substance, and the narrator remarks ruefully that "Everyone has a sick person at home and a knife in his hand." It's funny but also disturbing (kind of reminds me of Etgar Keret's stories, actually), and sets the tone wonderfully for the rest of the book, which contains many such tales, often matter-of-factly brutal, and yet strangely warm and human. I really liked it. At the very end it takes a strange turn into sci-fi that I found rather puzzling and somewhat off-putting, but overall, a very interesting read.

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