Sibylle Lewitscharoff: Apostoloff
translated by Katy Derbyshire
“Gone, finite, 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.
German original published by Suhrkamp Verlag, Frankfurt, under the title Apostoloff in 2009.