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Natural Novel (Eastern European Literature) [Paperback]

Georgi Gospodinov , Zornitsa Hristova
5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
RRP: 9.99
Price: 9.62 & FREE Delivery in the UK on orders over 10. Details
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Book Description

1 Mar 2005 Eastern European Literature
Resembling the complex and fragmented way a fly's eye works, Natural Novel contains a myriad of storylines, reflections, and digressions, including a history of toilets and the graffiti found there, a meditation on the relationship between bees and language, and an attempt to write a book using only verbs. Incredibly funny at times, this novel is driven by the narrator's need to come to terms with his dissolving marriage and his wife's infidelity with their close friend. Gospodinov's first novel is both broad in scope and intensely personal, illustrating the impossibility of presenting life truthfully.

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Product details

  • Paperback: 120 pages
  • Publisher: Columbia University Press (1 Mar 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1564783766
  • ISBN-13: 978-1564783769
  • Product Dimensions: 20.7 x 12.8 x 1.1 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 801,799 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Natural Nove

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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Marvellous! Masterpiece! 11 Jan 2005
I've read this book several times and each time I found something new, new view on happening in the novel and new view on life, and interesting questions which arrise from the novel, and the answers, too. It is almost unpossible to narrate about this novel, it has to be readed! And each reading, as already said, is a new one, fresh, and this novel brings freshness in literary world. This Bulgarian author is definitely unique and his novel is worth reading. Once again, redaing several times!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Contemporary Bulgarian Classic 6 Jan 2011
On the face of it, this novel should not have been as enjoyable as it was - it is very experimental in form and content, with a fractured structure and a number of digressions as varied as a history of toilets and the possibility of literature by flies (even a Fly Bible). These musings are loosely connected to a central (although never clearly defined) concept that Gospodinov has of a 'natural novel': "My immodest desire is to mold a novel of beginnings, a novel that keeps starting, promising something, reaching page 17 and then starting again".

Gospodinov does not achieve that aim in this work for, despite the various digressions, there is a clear sub-narrative here of a writer whose life has been shattered by the discovery that his wife is pregnant with his best friend's baby, and their subsequent divorce. This narrative is driven forward through a series of touching, at times heartbreaking, vignettes charting his various stages of disbelief, anger, despair and resignation. It is interesting that the shattered nature of the main protagonist's life is reflected fittingly in the shattered structure of the novel itself.

For me, the book works better here, in the narrative of the main character, than it does in its postmodernist musings on the nature of language and literature; although these are interesting enough. And the narrative contains enough descriptions of everyday life in Sofia to make this a worthwhile stopping point on my journey. I was particuarly struck by the description of the recent economic hardships of the country in the 1990s: "I remember an elderly woman asking for half a lemon at the market. Others searched around the empty stalls at night for a potato that might have been accidentally dropped.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 4.5 out of 5 stars  2 reviews
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars an innovative novel from a new writer 28 July 2005
By Julian N. Nikolchev - Published on Amazon.com
I was pleasantly surprised by this innovative, charming, smart and funny novel by this Bulgarian writer. Being from Bulgarian origin myslef, I found some portion to be particularly funny and they triggered memories of my childhood in Sofia. This speaks highly of the translation, which I believe captured well the nuances of the original language. In the novel, Mr. Gospodinov deals with many general topics facing our modern individuals in funny, clever and unique ways. I hghly recommend this novel to all and especially to those who are interested in learning about new talented writers from outside the major western countries.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars More Natural than Quirky 5 Oct 2005
By Michael R. Hollar - Published on Amazon.com
I was loaned this book by somebody presenting it as an "out-there" post modern novel featuring a stream-of-consciousness flow. While it may post-modern, and largely s.o.c (much in the style of a journal), it struck me as much more than a literary experiement. Considering the amount of 3rd person narrative and disjointed "scenes"/short stories/chapters, I found it very engaging, never lacking flow and surprisingly impactful. I can't speak to how much Bulgarian culture came through or how much credit to give the book as an example of non-western thought but there was a freshness that complemented rather than detracted from the ideas laid out in the book - depth in the mundane, coming to grips with pain, and losing one's grip on the order of things (for better or worse)
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