Friday, 8 April 2022,
The Spectacle Revue, St. Louis, USA
“IAN VAN ATHEN, OR THE ART OF READING” BY IANA BOUKOVA,
TRANS. BY EKATERINA PETROVA
Reading is, Ian van Athen noted in another one of his compositions that also received his tutor’s approval, a window to the soul. A discovery of our true selves, an investigation into our origins, an understanding of our secret kinships. And from the thousands of words that define us, not a single word has just one paternity. During this time he started to grow a mustache, an endeavor that took him at least two years to accomplish. And it was no wonder that after all those essay compositions and after so much praise from his tutors, he began to write. An additional impetus was provided by the Latin language.
The Latin language initially attracted his curiosity with its self-restrained yet tragic designation as “dead.” He imagined its death like the suicide of a Roman patrician—lonely, dignified, and brave in the face of pain. The first Latin words he ever heard sounded to him like the diagnosis of a serious illness or the name of an exotic, most probably dangerous insect: pluralia tantum, coniugatio periphrastica activa (et passiva), plusquamperfectum. A wide, pointless smile constantly stretched across his Latin tutor’s face. He spoke slowly, confidentially, as if divulging a joyous secret. The tutor had the tiresome habit of pronouncing the punctuation of every sentence. His introductory lecture was dappled with the above-mentioned terms and long, unwarranted pauses, during which he gazed in a direction always opposite to that of the window, apparently reminiscing about something pleasant. In those moments, his smile drooped and spilled slightly over the outline of his face, thus lending his expression the appearance of a capital Q. Astonished by this phenomenon, Ian van Athen decided to concentrate on the sound of the words rather than their meaning, and remembered nothing from the first lesson apart from its very end. It was then, in an effort to illustrate everything he had explained thus far with a suitable example, that his tutor recited the great Cicero’s celebrated words—“Quo usque tandem abutere, Catilina, patientia nostra?”—with the required pathos, then followed by an indignant silence, which pointed at the listener like an accusing finger. Ian van Athen was smitten. Not just because this new language, capable of such sonic combinations as “kwo-ooh-skway-tahn-dem,” was beginning to reveal itself to him. But also—that Catilina, who was she? What had she done to make so many people lose their patience?
Friday, 18 October 2019,
European Literature Network
IANA BOUKOVA'S TRAVELING
IN THE DIRECTION OF THE SHADOW PRESENTED IN THE EUROPEAN LITERATURE NETWORK
The European Literature Network presented on his site on Friday 18-th October 2019 extracts From TRAVELING IN THE DIRECTION OF THE SHADOW by Iana Boukova, translated by Ekaterina Petrova. Ekaterina Petrova, is this year’s winner of the Elizabeth Kostova Foundation’s competition for participation in the International Writers’ Residence in Norwich for her work on the translation of Boukova's “Travelling in the Direction of the Shadow”.
Chapter 1 Yovana or The Birth of the Hero (excerpt):
All that Yovana had left of him was a bite on her neck and an empty shirt. “Like a snake,” she said, after the first few months had passed. And though she said it to herself, the ‘s’ snapped like a whip and turned the scar violet. The shirt held an entire body inside itself, retained its outline through its scent, and at night slept next to her in the bed. But the shirt eventually gave up too, defeated by time, and nothing remained in it any longer. What could she do with a dead shirt but wash it and put it away in the trunk where it belonged, to never again take it out nor throw it out. The scar turned bloody every time she picked at it and tried to reproduce...
Absinthe, Volume 24, Issue 1: World Hellenisms
“THE STONE QUARTER”
BY IANA BOUKOVA
How can I explain that I don’t even need to dream? It’s enough just to look at the wall in my room. Or simply to look around. As a rule, when I try to retell my nightmares, I use the system for retelling nightmares. I sit on one of the guests’ laps and start crying silently. The guests are very impressed by silent crying. Far more so than by the loudest scream. “Oh,” they say, their lips rounding like zeroes. The first thing I see on their faces is annoyance. After surprise. Annoyance at their surprise.
The women most often cover my face in kisses. Their lips become damp from my tears, their cheeks also grow wet, their makeup smears and afterwards I have to wash it off my face. That bit with the kisses is convenient...
We’re very proud that our newest issue of Two Lines, Issue 25, features a story from the under-appreciated nation of Bulgaria: “A Is for Anything,” an elliptical, obsessive story by the Bulgarian writer Iana Boukova, translated by Angela Rodel.
So to help inspire even more future translations from this rich literary tradition, here are 5 can’t-miss selections of poetry and fiction. It’s your intro the Bulgarian scene!
And make sure to purchase Two Lines 25 (or subscribe) to read Iana Boukova’s story—you’ll get that taste of Bulgarian lit, plus almost a dozen more languages in our new issue.
© 2019, Iana Boukova
Contact e-mail: bukova.iana(at)gmail.com