Author George Tzankov
FICTION FOR GAME AND EMPATHY
“Turned into a transparent puppet with the constant feeling of vulnerability of the most human thoughts and plaints of the soul from the God’s elects, one always feels like a frog on a dissection table.” A statement that can easily become a topic for an essay contest and parts of which I could have taken as a title for my article, if I had wanted to be ultimately loyal to the author - “a frog on a dissection table”. I will not conceal the fact that I have read Nikolai Lambrinov’s novel “Cinema Mimicry or the Faces of Janus” twice. I moderately call this book a novel, although the more unelaborated would rashly perceive it as a volume of short stories, while the ones who only look for a staggering plot in literature would scorn it. That is because the ordinary readers seem to have got off the exertion and lost the thrilling desire to join the complicated game, offered by the novelist, where the stakes are our both miserable and noble lives. We are invited to come into the stream of consciousness of a confused modern intellectual with lost illusions, who, throughout his whole life, has been feeding his imagination with quotations from favorite films, plays and books that has been turning into his entity. His existence is not as connected with earning the living as it is with the challenges of the immortal characters who have settled in his above-consciousness. Even now, when he is on the verge of madness, when even the sacredness of the privacy has not protected him from the storms of time, he does not put an end to his argument with Nikolo Machiavelli, the immortal author of “The Prince”, he delves into the dreams of witty Odysseus, he puts the arsonist Herostratus to a trial of his own and with no hesitation confronts Casanova with Fouche. In his imagination Becket’s “The end of the Game” encounters his own envision of the apocalypse. He desperately wants to be like Belmondo in “Breathless” or like Paul Newman in “Cool Hand Luke”, his psyche is overstrained by Bergman’s “The Silence” and his suffering from the fading beauty invariably leads him to the illusionary “Wild Strawberries Meadow”.
When I read this fiction work, literally compressed in anticipation of the explosion, my imagination pictures the dozens of unnamed Lambrinov’s interlocutors, who are a kind of landmarks in both his and my lives. I see the audacious rebellion of the young man, enchanted by the “Czech cinema wonder” and by the “French new wave”, by the messages of Pirandello and Sartre; then comes the ominous venture into the desert of timelessness, the awakening amidst the totalitarian loneliness together with Camus and Bergman, the desire to oppose, to live your life as in the films, to fence yourself off in the fortress of your home from the cruelty; but the foundations of the stronghold, built by you, are falling to pieces, you become more and more vulnerable, the gap between the generations gets wider and wider, even your own children do not understand you. And suddenly the change bursts in – your rapture is unbelievable, you imagine that you can make use of all your experience, you, the writer, can become a practitioner, who can contribute to the maturing of freedom.
Lambrinov’s skill to penetrate with just a few strokes the tragedy of the Bulgarian “lost generation”, of those who lived their best times of their lives into the clutches of dictatorship and who eventually were trapped in the timelessness, is remarkable. The insights do not sound edifying, nor do they wail like a drawling lament; the character is on the stage, determined to reach the heights of spiritual perfection and at the same time knocked down from there with brutal blows again and again. He is the tragicomic Harlequin who receives blows, but he is also Hamlet who keeps asking his awkward questions despite the impenetrability of the surroundings. The novelist not only teaches us a lesson in modern sensitivity, but he also exercises us in orchestration of styles. For a brief moment the story beats with the gasping rhythm of the thriller, then it brightens up with the historical vaudeville, there appear puppets who at one moment reincarnate in symbolic characters from the past and at another in contemporary antiheros, we are flooded with speech flows in which we can hear both the street rattle and the enlightened irony of the excited creative consciousness, having passed through the rings of hell. It is quite natural for one, when reading this polyphonic narration about the abysses of modern life, to recall Bob Fosse’s great film “All That Jazz”. Nikolai Lambrinov has managed to convey in words what the author of “Cabaret” and “Lenny” conveyed to us in dances and songs. Naturally, the prosaist’s cinematographic culture, which contributes to the poetics of the montage in his texts, is of great importance, too. He is simultaneously a director, a scriptwriter, a cameraman and a scenic artist of his “human comedy”, where all the fears, hopes and frustrations of the thinking contemporary are expressed.
Cinema Mimicry or the Faces of Janus”
... това са няколко текста за игра. Играта с читателя, вероятно игра на театър, по-малко вероятно игра на кино...Играта е интрига, и забавление, тя носи радост.Казват представление с представление, мач с мач не си приличат. И имат право...Защото става дума за игра. Играещият човек има много лица. Съвременния човек, подобно на Янус, се превъплащава с различни лица в различни ситуации. Каква роля бихте си избрали Коя е ролята на живота Ви? всеки би желал да е в центъра на сцената и на събитията...Само че както на сцената , така и в живота има режисьор. Животът сам е режисьор, с доста лош вкус, доста масов, доста пошличък. Затова и авторът на тези текстове, писани почти на един дъх, като своеобразен роман с продължения, за себе си е избрал ролята да се хили нагло в огледалото на живота. И съвсем не се оплаква - преди векове, преди години, преди и сега, хората, с които той си сверява часовника, са се хилили и се хилят нагло в лицето на живот.
Времена, минали времена.
Времената се променят.
Както преди това....