Bulgaria. Two biographies: that of the anarchist Konstantin, sentenced for ten years for blowing up a Stalin memorial to camp, forced labour, psychiatry, cold and hunger torture, blows. And that of his torturer, Metodi, the “Michelangelo of interrogation”, product and profiteer of a regime that relied on the resentment of those who lost out and whose brutality was given free reign. But that was years ago. In 1989, the government changed and a new era began – at least on the outside. The protagonists of power, however, have remained the same, re-establishing themselves without any major resistance. Memories are deceptive and undesirable. Konstantin tries to find evidence for his experiences in state security files. He seeks the truth, is angry and uncompromising. His fellow sufferers even reproach him for his implacability. Why look back? And, in fact, Konstantin finds precious few significant documents. The security authorities have done a thorough job, and their influence reaches well into the present. Konstantin’s experiences are negated and he finds no resonance. And so, the victim and torturer, Konstantin and Metodi, are chained together, their biographies interwoven for life, macabrely dependent on the testimony which they alone they can mutually verify.
The author and cosmopolite Ilija Trojanow, conducted research for almost twenty years, carried out interviews with historical witnesses and included original documents. An eminently political book that unfolds a contemporary panorama of exemplary validity.
Ilija Trojanow (born 1965 in Sofia) fled with his family as a six-year-old from Bulgaria to the West. He is an award-winning German-speaking author, a cosmopolite who returned to his roots for this major novel. He conducted research for almost twenty years, carried out interviews with historical witnesses and included original documents. The result is his life’s work, an eminently political book and a vertiginous view into the abyss between power and resistance.