In the spring of 1946, in the sleepy little Bulgarian town of Widin, the floodwaters of the Danube break over the banks, just as they always do around the time of the cherry tree blossom. But apart from that, nothing is as it used to be: Bulgaria is now a people's republic. Anyone who had sided with the Germans and not fled to safety before the invasion of the Russians is now being attended to by the torturers of the new regime. Agitators roam the villages, disseminating leaflets about the new way of life. Krum Marijkin, the illegitimate son of porcelain manufacturer Ilija Weltschew, is one of them. It's hard to say which is more pronounced - his muscles or his resolve to convert everyone to socialism, the one and only true faith. His cousin, erstwhile underground fighter Assen Weltschew, is also offered a career opportunity - but ultimately he is not unscrupulous enough to exploit it. Vladimir Zarev tells of a system dominated by ideology and the impossibility of living a life of dignity within such constraints.
"Vladimir Zarev is a brightly shining star on the firmament of Bulgarian literature." Neue Zürcher Zeitung
"If you only ever read one modern Bulgarian novel, make sure it is by Valdimir Zarev. This is European literature at its best - a brilliantly grotesque mixture that brings to mind The Brothers Karamazov and Buddenbrooks." Berliner Zeitung