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March 11 , 2009

The Physics of Sorrow


"Georgi Gospodinov wants to blow your mind—or maybe just provide the ultimate bathroom reader. . . . The formal playfulness suggests Kundera with A.D.D. and potty jokes."—Ed Park, The Village Voice

A finalist for both the Strega Europeo and Gregor von Rezzori awards (and winner of every Bulgarian honor possible), The Physics of Sorrow reaffirms Georgi Gospodinov's place as one of Europe's most inventive and daring writers.

Using the myth of the Minotaur as its organizing image, the narrator of Gospodinov's long-awaited novel constructs a labyrinth of stories about his family, jumping from era to era and viewpoint to viewpoint, exploring the mindset and trappings of Eastern Europeans. Incredibly moving—such as with the story of his grandfather accidentally being left behind at a mill—and extraordinarily funny—see the section on the awfulness of the question "how are you?"—Physics is a book that you can inhabit, tracing connections, following the narrator down various "side passages," getting pleasantly lost in the various stories and empathizing with the sorrowful, misunderstood Minotaur at the center of it all.

The Physics of Sorrow will appeal to fans of Dave Eggers, Tom McCarthy, and Dubravka Ugresic for its unique structure, humanitarian concerns, and stunning storytelling.

Georgi Gospodinov's Natural Novel was published by Dalkey Archive Press in 2005 and was praised by the New Yorker, New York Times, and several other prestigious review outlets.

Angela Rodel won a PEN Translation Fund Grant in 2010 for Georgi Tenev's short story collection. She is one of the most prolific translators of Bulgarian literature working today and received an NEA Fellowship for her translation of Gospodinov's The Physics of Sorrow.

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