Issue 87-88

SURFACE TENSION, An excerpt from a novel in progress

Cuttlefish. Imagine! The impossibility of such a creature, constructed, it seems, as a metaphor for need, desire. Francine hadn't expected to be facing it, like that, so suddenly, as she slips through some small spill on the bio lab floor, pitching forward, bracing herself – with both hands! – on the marble tabletop, and when she looks up, there, entombed in glass, is that spindly creature dredged from a deep river or some other nightmare. It stares at her through the display cabinet, suspended in a vial of its own water, assessing her with its very large button of an eye.

Sun, 12/29/2013 - 13:22
Eagles Bridge, Sofia.jpg


CCTV is everywhere now in Sofia but, about a century ago, the people of the city were followed by the eyes of other creatures – eagles of stone and metal, perched here and there on the façades.The eagle architectural trend took off at the end of the 19th Century, when Sofia was quickly transforming from an Ottoman backwater into an European capital. The fashion peaked in the years before and during the Great War, when eagles spread their wings on ornate Neo-Baroque or fin-de-siècle façades. In the interwar period, the new aesthetics of modernism largely forced the eagles out.

Sun, 12/29/2013 - 13:13
dancing in river.jpg


To be a man in Kalofer, a town of less than 3,000 inhabitants, is hard. Squeezed between the slopes of the Stara Planina mountains, Kalofer was supposedly founded by a legendary hothead brigand, Kalifer Voyvoda, and his men. There were so few women around that they had to steal brides from nearby Sopot. The hilly terrain was never good enough to allow them to do more than scrape a living (though the melons are still excellent) and shepherds had to cope with both wolves and dangerous precipices to keep their flocks alive.

Sun, 12/29/2013 - 12:56
Kristen Ghodsee.jpg


In more than one way, the collapse of world Communism in 1989 caught Bulgaria and the Bulgarians by surprise.No one sane enough imagined that the system devised by Stalin, Dimitrov, Brezhnev and Zhivkov – which had seemed so strong it would last forever – could just implode within a few days. Worse, no one had imagined what the "system" that came to replace it would look like. Soon, many Bulgarians discovered that there would be no system at all. So, they started seeking explanations.

Sun, 12/29/2013 - 12:30
Gustoza, Greek restaurant.jpg


No matter how wide your restaurant comfort zone is, a day comes when you crave to bite something different that your usual shopska and kebapcheta. You would want something different – and if you have been living in Bulgaria for long enough you'd know how hard it is to find it. In Sofia, restaurants come and go, replacing one another with the predictability of the moon phases, but most of the time new establishments do what their predecessors used to do. Which is, follow the trend.

Sun, 12/29/2013 - 11:50


Sadly for him, he is no longer invited to "open up" asphalt roads which he himself "built," so while he lingers in the wings hoping to make a reappearance he has to do with minor sports halls and kindergartens.

Not everything goes without an incident, though. At a recent kindergarten opening ceremony in Plovdiv Borisov's bodyguards disarmed a toddler who had a toy gun on him. News agencies reported that the men in black stopped a mother with her child and ordered her to put the "weapon" in her purse to avoid "some kind of trouble."

Sun, 12/29/2013 - 11:44


A Tsvetan Tsvetanov condemning police brutality is like a Hitler praising human rights.

Interior Minister Tsvetlin Yovchev on his GERB predecessor

I will not break up with Tsvetanov, categorically. I believe in him.

Former PM Boyko Borisov

Talking critically of banks is like bullying your wife and expecting her to meet you every evening with a smile and a delicious dinner.

Ivan Iskrov, Bulgarian National Bank governor

Sun, 12/29/2013 - 11:42