“Life is here and now, everything else is a glass river.”

Emil Andreev is one of the biggest names of contemporary Bulgarian literature. He is an author of several short story collections, novels and plays. His first novel Glass River (2004) won the VIK Foundation Bulgarian novel of the year award, along with readers’ awards in the same category, and it still remains one of Bulgaria’s best-sellers.

What is hidden behind letters N and D carved into the foundation of an Orthodox church in a deserted Bulgarian village Gradište? Who and what are the stone figures of mysterious dwarves on its outside walls representing and whose spirit still roams inside it?

Helene Thibault, a young French woman with a degree in religious history from the Paris University will be faced with these questions after arriving to Bulgaria to research late bogomilism. Here Helene meets a group of Bulgarian students who are restoring a church under the guidance of experienced professor Stefan Metodijev. After finding a place to stay at grandmother Monka‘s, where a young artist Marica is also living, Helene meets Viktor Markov, an enigmatic “experienced writer with significant general knowledge”. At the same time, unusual events start occurring in the village drawing everyone into an unforeseen series of breath-taking events. Dreams and legends of the old Orthodox church are combined into a horrifying two day journey through earthly hell of love and passion.

“There are not many novels in Bulgarian literature that you start in the evening and won’t let go until finishing them! Glass River is one of them. Emil Andreev writes masterfully and creates an aesthetic of horror, tension and mystery. The novel is adventuristic and gothic – and very Bulgarian.”

dr. Galja Simeonova-Konah,
Jagiellonian University in Kraków, Poland


Author: Emil Andreev

Translator: Ana Vasung

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