Circus Bulgaria | Granta

  • Published: 05/08/2010
  • ISBN: 9781846272400
  • 132x20mm
  • 272 pages

Circus Bulgaria

Deyan Enev

Translated by Kapka Kassabova

A boxer-turned-hitman faces an impossible mission to kill his brother; an old lady sets up a gang of her own teenage vigilantes after being mugged; a retired geography teacher dreams of places he’s never been; a clown on the make talks an impoverished lion tamer into selling his lion to gangsters; and a fading beauty is courted by a suitor with suspiciously scaly hands… Drawing on the monsters and myths of Balkan folklore, the brutal reality of the Communist regime and the dazzling magic of Enev’s own imagination, these stories have a surreal and almost hypnotic quality. Absurd, both painfully funny and deeply sad, Circus Bulgaria reaches straight into the cracked heart of Eastern Europe.

An important and also an exciting work. Sometimes searing, sometimes funny, often both, it opens a window onto one of Europe's most interesting literary landscapes. Kassabova's translation is superbly natural. This book is a rare achievement on every level

Elizabeth Kostova

Enev's prose poems of survival are powerful songs from the streets - like Balkan blues, they are deeply touching and heartbreaking

Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung

Circus Bulgaria is rich and odd and unsettling but ultimately humane. I love it!

Gina Ochsner

The Author

Born in Bulgaria in 1960, Deyan Enev is a journalist and a short-story writer. His writing has been translated into German, Norwegian and Dutch.

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The Translator

KAPKA KASSABOVA is a poet, novelist and writer of narrative non-fiction. She grew up in Sofia, Bulgaria, and now lives in the Scottish Highlands. Her acclaimed memoirs Street Without a Name: Childhood and Other Misadventures in Bulgaria (2008) and Twelve Minutes of Love: A Tango Story (2011) were followed by Border: A Journey to the Edge of Europe (2017) which won the British Academy’s Al-Rodhan Prize for Global Cultural Understanding, the Saltire Scottish Book of the Year, the Edward Stanford-Dolman Travel Book of the Year, and the inaugural Highlands Book Prize. It was short-listed for the Baillie-Gifford Prize, the Bread and Roses Prize, the Duff Cooper Prize, the Royal Society of Literature Ondaatje Prize, the National Book Critics Circle Awards (USA), and the Gordon Burn Prize. Her most recent book is To the Lake: A Balkan Journey of War and Peace (2020). She has written for the Guardian, Vogue, and 1843 magazine. Her new book Elixir will be published in 2023.

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