The “Time shelter“, the novel of the Bulgarian author Georgi Gospodinov extract it Booker International Prize for 2023. The president of the jury, Franco-Moroccan author Leila Slimani, announced the winner during the award ceremony in London on 23 May. Gospodinov shares the prize with the translator of his book, Angela Rodel.
“Time Refuge” becomes the first novel originally published in Bulgarian and wins the award. It was also the first Bulgarian book to be nominated for this award.
The award comes with a cash prize of £50,000 which is shared equally between the author and the translator, is awarded annually for a novel or short story collection in any language translated into English and published in the United Kingdom and Ireland.
In the “Time Shelter”, a “clinic for the past” offers a promising treatment for Alzheimer’s sufferers: each floor reproduces a decade in minute detail, transporting patients back in time. However, the past soon begins to invade the present.
“It is an honor to be here. I thank the Booker Foundation for its support of the translation of this book. I thank the jury for appreciating a novel about memory, time and the weaponization of nostalgia. Thanks also to all the nominees — your books are great. Huge thanks to my translator, Mrs Angela Rodel, who built this clinic of the past in English”, said Gospodinov after the award ceremony.
He noted that he won the award on the eve of May 24 — the day of the Cyrillic alphabet, the day of writing and language.” “Happy birthday to our celebration and to the miracle of language,” wished the writer speaking in Bulgarian.
“There are many wonderful metaphors used in the Time Shelter, but one of them concerns the critical deficit of meaning in the world”, said Angela Rodel for her part. “The world’s stocks of reason are exhausted. The Booker Foundation with this prize resists precisely this deficit — it strikes new veins, discovers an unexpected multitude of meanings to make up for worn-out worlds and words. I thank the judges of the International Booker Prize for choosing us among the other wonderful books”, he emphasized.
“Our winner, Time Shelter, is a brilliant novel, full of irony and melancholy. It is a profound work that addresses a very contemporary question: What happens to us when our memories disappear? Giorgi Gospodinov succeeds admirably in grappling with fate, both individual and collective, and it is this complex balance between the domestic and the universal that convinced and touched us,” said Slimani. He called it “a great novel about Europe, a continent that needs a future, where the past is reinvented and nostalgia is poison.” “It offers us a perspective on the fate of countries like Bulgaria, which have been at the center of the ideological conflict between the West and the communist world.”
Of Angela Rodel’s work, Slimani said the translator “succeeded remarkably” in rendering the author’s style and language, “rich in references and profoundly free”.
“The Time Refuge” is published in Greek, translated by Alexandra Ioannidou, by Ikaros publications
Books / Friday, May 26, 2023 / Source APE BEE
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