by Miroslava Ivanova
„Irina, congratulations for “Annabel”. This was the message which I sent to Irina Papancheva on Facebook together with an invitation to become friends. I want to tell you that this young woman already can put on her credit a huge number of readers which goes far beyond her circles of friends in the above mentioned social network and in her real life. And I am not the only prove. I am saying it because many contemporary authors cannot sell their books in a total print bigger than the number of their friends and moreover the number of these friends with whom they communicate day-to-day. The novel genre has become the preferred one even if the new Bulgarian novels are
more and more far away from the classical models
The book of Irina Papancheva reflects the trend that recently has given birth to many novels written by women which have been presented to the audience with the proviso that they are not autobiographical. The truth is that the autobiographic part in them is decisive. But the more important thing in this case is something else. Where comes the desire of these women to “transgress” with the novel genre from? Women who wrote novels and told the stories of their main characters (but actually told themselves) are women who like their life. A fact which can only please us and make us read. They created experimental literature with beautiful poetic and exquisite style. Just like their lives are.
If you were the main character in this novel
your would have been called Annabel, you would have been born in a small European town, you would have completed the Art School and then Master’s in public administration. You would have headed a directorate in the Ministry of Administration, lived with your boyfriend whom you have inadvertently caught in cheating and you would have had two female friends who gradually both behind your back and in front of your eyes have become lovers. Not to forget Vincent whose name sounds almost like the one of Van Gogh. He is the other one, the older one, who looks at you “seriously and tenderly” and who wants to take you back to painting.
The action in this book disposes the time in a quite cosmopolitan way. In effect, it develops within five days without rain, something quite unusual for Amsterdam and one, the sixth, Saturday – the day in which it is pouring and Annabel again began to paint. The novel constantly returns to Amsterdam 13 years ago when Annabel was happy.
Cities are our feelings
Neither the conference halls nor hotel rooms, nor bridges, not even museums and cafes are important. Sometimes cities are the places where tango is danced. Sometimes they are the places where we painted…Actually the only city, which is specified in the book, is the city which evoked feelings of happiness in the main character.
I found particularly interesting those chapters in the novel called Cosmopolitans Café. Wonderful essays that can be read also separately from the large text and which are very similar to those conversations in the coffee shops – “the cathedrals of cosmopolitism” from which are born interesting ideas.
Some of the best conversations are the conversations about who did what. Irina Papancheva wrote a novel and that is why I started this conversation. The last thing I want to tell you is that
If I would have written a novel
I would have trusted the same publishing house – “Janet 45”. I would have chosen the same editor – Viktor Samuilov. I would have liked exactly this Annabel with the bike who the artist Dimitar Kelbechev painted on the cover. I would have thanked to the same proof-reader – Sofia Nestorova. And not only because of her good work but also because Sofia is a poet and has written a poem which starts with the words “If I were a character in a novel…” I would have presented my work at the same place – the gallery of the National Art Academy. And not just because I look for the symbolism of the place and the non-fulfilled dream of the main character to study in the Art Academy.
If I would have written a novel however, I would have never chosen Kalin Terziyski to present it. I would have asked some true friend who wouldn’t (instead of presenting the book)
read pompously over the heads from his laptop
and explain that he graduated psychiatry. I told you. This novel was created by a woman who obviously likes her life. We, from our side, like her work. Neither Irina nor her fans and friends, who came to the premiere of “Annabel”, needed therapy.
Irina Papancheva and Miroslava Ivanova became friends.
A common friend – “Annabel”.
The article was published in Bela magazine