Family on Fire

Family on Fire

Vladimir Zarev

"Vladimir Zarev showed me the full potential of the Bulgarian language's expressive power. He created a thirst in me that can only be quenched by his writing", wrote Dimitre Dinev of his admiration for Vladimir Zarev, who is rightly regarded as one of the most outstanding authors Bulgaria has ever produced. Familienbrand, his epic 1978 novel capturing the essence of the 20th century, concerns the lives of the Weltschev family. Old Assen Weltschev's widow, Petruniza, lives with her four sons and her daughter Jonka in Widin, a sleepy backwater at the lower reaches of the Danube. As the 20th century dawns, even tiny Widin cannot escape being carried along by the tide of political events; in these uncertain times the brothers set out to seek their fortunes along very different paths. Panto carves out a career for himself as a banker; Ilija becomes a factory owner who ruthlessly exploits the workforce; Christo, an enthusiastic Socialist, unintentionally becomes a hero; while Jordan's dream is to build a church, a retreat for the remorseful – but instead it becomes a dissolute refuge for unrepentant sinners of all denominations. But Jonka is the only member of the family blessed with the gift of clairvoyance – only she can see the writing on the wall…

"Wondrous words, with the power to make you feel young, strong and passionate once more; and – at the same time – wise, affectionate, and innately good." (Dimitré Dinev)

Family on Fire

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