Time Shelter by Georgi Gospodinov (Harriman Writer in Residence, Fall ’22) landed on the New Yorker’s list of the “Best Books of 2022 So Far (October 26, 2022). The novel was translated from the Bulgarian by Angela Rodeo and published by Liveright.
In this antic fantasy of European politics, narrated by a fictionalized version of the author, an enigmatic friend of his designs “a clinic of the past,” which soothes Alzheimer’s patients with environments from a time they can still remember. As the treatment gains prominence, feverish nostalgia grips the continent. People dress up in national costumes, and there is a Brexit-style referendum to return to the past (though the countries disagree on the era). In the East, there are socialist rallies and even a re-assassination of Franz Ferdinand. “History is still news,” Gospodinov writes, cunningly drawing attention to the violence that the past wreaks on the present.