The Executioner (Kisyov novel)
Published in English
The Executioner is a crime novel by Bulgarian novelist Stefan Kisyov, about the killing of Bulgarian dissident writer Georgi Markov. It was published in 2003 and it is the first Bulgarian novel awarded with the Vick Foundation's Prize: "Best Novel of the year". in 2004.
The title of the novel creates expectations about a cruel murderer, but Stefan Gashtev is a funny little person who has been trying to become popular all his life. He grows up in a circus, works as a clown, studies to become a fakir, then a pilot, unexpectedly goes to prison where he gets to be the executioner. Finally he flies into Outer Space and gets back to Earth after 20 years more obscure than ever. His misadventures are so terrifying that the best-selling author Stephen-Larry King (who has a creative block) decides to use them, but he dies a poor, preposterous death. Only the "non-fictional" story of his prototype remains.
The style of the book is written part fictionally, part phantasmagorically and uses existing facts, regardless of whether they are political, public or artistic by nature. It relies on vivid details, good dialogue, and on the effect of expectations going wrong, with a mixture of rough naturalism and ironical and metaphysical generalizations. The novel is written in the form of a confession, the confession of an executioner turned into a victim, and a victim, turned into an executioner.
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