Nivo za naprednali (Advanced level)

Short stories

2002, Zvezdan, Sofia

2003, Abagar, Sofia

The stories in this book fall into two sections: Advanced level and Coming over Tower Bridge. The first comprises mostly stories with unexpected ends and fresh ideas reflecting the dynamic of post-communist period. The second part is built up of stories with an intellectual edge and sense of irony set in UK. According to the author they represent a kind of existential comment of his novel Mission London.

Advanced Level won the Helikon Award for best prose book of the year 2002.

“Would you destroy the world if it depended on you?” the Russian asked, sticking up a small pickled cucumber on his fork.

“Yes, I would, and right away at that”, I answered without thinking much. “I’ll render it to ashes in a pig’s whistle.”

The restaurant car of the train was empty. There was a bottle of vodka, a saucer of pickled cucumbers and some sausage on the table. I had dropped in to drink a beer, then this Russian man sat at the table opposite me and gradually we reached the present stage of our conversation. I was traveling to Rouse¹; he intended to go on to his native country.

“I am really asking you a question,” he said his pale eyes peering into mine. “Would you do it if you had the a chance?”

“O, gladly, gladly!” I nodded my head. “Just wait and see!”

“Why would you, man? Aren’t you satisfied?”

“Because it’s rotten, that’s why. And it will get more rotten”, I went on fervently. “I mean the human civilization. Nothing decent will come out of it.”

“That’s the honest truth”, the Russian agreed lowering his eyes. “You see, communism failed like hell.”

“Capitalism will fail like hell too,” I added stuffing the last piece of sausage into my mouth. “Just wait and you’ll see.”

“Oh, the world is stinking place,” he sighed. “If we could fix it somehow…”

“We couldn’t for sure” I interrupted him belligerently. ”It’s not worth one’s while, because it will become rotten again. We’d better abolish it, if you ask me! But who gives a damn about me and you, man? All the buttons are in the hands of some jerks who are interested to continue this agony of ours for ever.”

“You are not right!” he suddenly said raising his head. “We ordinary people, still have some possibilities…”

From Nineveh

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