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Natural Novel by Georgi Gospodinov
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Natural Novel (1999)

by Georgi Gospodinov

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This novel is unique, it is a somewhat stream of consciousness tale, it is a tale of disconnection, both interpersonal and literary. This is Gospodinov's debut novel, and I found it to be witty, original, and wonderfully creative. In fact, as the reader, it felt as if I was in the inner mental workings of the writer's mind. A man struggles with impending divorce and his emotional world is reflected in the novel's character and his efforts to disconnect from unnatural writing. Sometimes I felt deeply moved, sometimes I laughed out loud, and sometimes I felt disturbed. Excellent read! ( )
  hemlokgang | Apr 26, 2017 |
The novel has a fragmented structure, that I struggled to engage with. The novel is short and the chapters are also short; some chapters took the narrative forward, others discuss ideas and thoughts that it can be difficult to relate to the narrative. Some interesting insights, but I did not put down the novel feeling this was a brilliant read. ( )
  Tifi | Aug 6, 2010 |
Natural Novel is piece of meta-fiction, which attempts to chronicle then attempt of an editor (called Georgi Gospodinov) to make sense of a manuscript (written by a homeless man called Georgi Gospodinov). The manuscript is an attempt to write a 'natural novel', which is built up from a mosaic of stories about flies, plants, excrement and loneliness (among other things). The fly provides the inspiration for the structure, as the mosaic of the narrative parallels the mosaic built up by an insect's compound eye. All the while the narrator is trying to make sense of his wife's infidelity and the end of his marriage. The whole book becomes an elliptical story of Gospodinov's descent into loneliness. The tone is melancholy, the structure brilliantly realised and the writing beyond clever. Fans of If on a Winter's Night a Traveller... will love this, as will anyone interested in a bit of mind-bending post-modern fiction.
1 vote GlebtheDancer | Mar 7, 2008 |
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In truth, the novel could have been set almost anywhere, and readers who have reached the point of exhaustion with novels in which writers write about writing, where writer characters cross paths with people who share their name and who also are writers, etc., might put this book down too quickly. That would be a shame, because Gospodinov, a thirtysomething literary editor and professor in Sofia, is not the sort of experimentalist who uses metafiction to flaunt a belief that there is nothing left to say.
 
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Information from the Russian Common Knowledge. Edit to localize it to your language.
Epigraph
"Natural history is nothing more than the nomination of the visible. Hence its apparent simplicity, and that air of naïveté it has from a distance, so simple does it appear and so obviously imposed by things themselves." - Michel Foucault
Dedication
First words
We are getting a divorce.
Quotations
There is always a long train of crying people and a shorter train of laughing people. Yet, there is a third train of people who no longer cry and no longer laugh. The saddest of the three. That's what I want to talk about.
The apocalypse may take place in one particular country.
Why does the toilet induce the urge to write? Most of those writers hardly have the urge any other time. I'm sure they never wrote a single line on paper. The toilet wall, however, is a special kind of medium. Publishing there brings different pleasures.
The toilets are the only surveillance-free space. A real utopia where power is absent, everybody is equal and everybody can do what he wants under the pretext of doing what he came for. A feeling of absolute impunity. You can't get it anywhere else, just the grave and the toilet.
Nobody has ever succeeded in transporting something from his dream. On the way out of dreamland there's an invisible customs-house where everything is confiscated.
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Information from the Dutch Common Knowledge. Edit to localize it to your language.
Oorspronkelijke titel: Естествен роман (Estestven roman).
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Insanely funny and moving, Natural Novel is driven by a man's obsessive need to come to terms with his dissolving marriage and his wife's infidelity with their close friend. Mimicking the complex and fragmented way that a fly sees the world, this remarkable novel contains a myriad of storylines, reflections, and digressions, including a history of toilets and the graffiti found therein, a mediation on the relationship between bees and language, and an attempt to write a book using only verbs. Gospodinov's first novel is clear evidence that some of today's most inventive and groundbreaking fiction is being written in countries usually ignored in the English-speaking world.
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Voland Edizioni

An edition of this book was published by Voland Edizioni.

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