Nine Rabbits tells two stories, that of a six-year-old girl, and of her grown-up self: Manda grows up on the Black Sea coast during the height of socialism in the 1960s, raised by her tyrannical grandmother along with her young aunts and uncles. While Grandma Nikula wages open and covert wars with life, Manda lives out the adventures of her childhood under the shadow of her absent grandfather.
Forty years later on, we find that same child has become a woman, now living in a democratic Bulgaria and racked by an identity crisis. Manda has swallowed up her tyrannical grandmother, turning that despotism against herself. In the heroine’s difficult process of awakening, every shattering of childhood matrices frees up space for spontaneity, creativity and love. For Manda, the world gradually transforms into a divine kitchen, where out of a mixture of characters, places, ingredients and situations she creates delicious dishes.
‘Gutsy, fresh and vivid, this story of one woman's brave quest through life
will take you on a wild ride.’
Kapka Kassabova, author of Street Without a Name and Twelve Minutes of Love
''Nine Rabbits is a heady mixture of genres and styles which transcends the purely literary and approaches a new form of expression. Traditional European writing, in comparison with this thoroughly Balkan work, appears more than a little tired and derivative. '' Bookoxygen
''Virginia Zaharieva is an incredibly philosophical and spiritual person, an admirer of Shunryu Suzuki, the monk responsible for popularising Zen Buddhism in the West.'' BelgraviaBooks
''Credit should be given to Angela Rodel’s translation, which succeeds in conveying the vibrancy and boldness of Zaharieva’s language and writing style.'' W!ldrooster
''Food and the pleasure of eating are prominent motifs within '9 Rabbits'. The text is littered with recipes. Delightfully, all twenty-nine “characters” – as Zaharieva deems them – appear in an accompanying second volume, free with each copy of the book. A charming idea, the recipes open a palpable dialogue between the author and reader, inviting everyone to try (the Eggs á la Arménien and Arse-End Potatoes are personal favourites).'' Richard W Jackson, Book Hugger
"Nine Rabbits" is so far showing itself a Michelin five star, luridly synaesthetic all-round box-ticker. Opening it is itself like falling down a rabbit-hole, into a dystopian wonderland of alternately passionate, and disinterested, brutality, told, initially, with the almost magical unconcern of a child's viewpoint, looking back with minimal reinterpretation but a steadily held lens.'' Anastasia Kashian, HalfbakedLevis
Nine Rabbits by Virginia Zaharieva: Istros Books, 2012
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