SoloBook - 2010
With an imaginative audacity and lyrical brilliance that puts him in the company of David Mitchell and Aleksandar Hemon, Rana Dasgupta paints a portrait of a century though the story of a hundred-year-old blind Bulgarian man in a first novel that announces the arrival of an exhilarating new voice in fiction.
In the first movement of Solo we meet Ulrich, the son of a railroad engineer, who has two great passions: the violin and chemistry. Denied the first by his father, he leaves for the Berlin of Einstein and Fritz Haber to study the latter. His studies are cut short when his father’s fortune evaporates, and he must return to Sofia to look after his parents. He never leaves Bulgaria again. Except in his daydreams—and it is those dreams we enter in the volatile second half of the book. In a radical leap from past to present, from life lived to life imagined, Dasgupta follows Ulrich’s fantasy children, born of communism but making their way into a post-communist world of celebrity and violence.
Intertwining science and heartbreak, the old world and the new, the real and imagined, Solo is a virtuoso work.
“Utterly unforgettable in its humanity.” —The Guardian
Baker & Taylor
A 100-year-old blind Bulgarian looks back on a long life marked by fantasies about what could have been, from a dashed ambition to play the violin and interrupted scientific studies to idyllic children and the end of Communism. By the author of the award-nominated Tokyo.
A one-hundred-year-old blind Bulgarian looks back on a long life marked by fantasies about what could have been, from a dashed ambition to play the violin and interrupted scientific studies to idyllic children and the end of Communism.