In Time Shelter, an enigmatic flâneur named Gaustine opens a “clinic for the past” that offers a promising treatment for Alzheimer’s sufferers: each floor reproduces a decade in minute detail, transporting patients back in time. As Gaustine’s assistant, the unnamed narrator is tasked with collecting the flotsam and jetsam of the past, from 1960s furniture and 1940s shirt buttons to scents and even afternoon light. But as the rooms become more convincing, an increasing number of healthy people seek out the clinic as a “time shelter”—a development that results in an unexpected conundrum when the past begins to invade the present. Intricately crafted, and eloquently translated by Angela Rodel, Time Shelter announces Gospodinov to readers as an essential voice in international literature.
NOMINATING LIBRARY COMMENTS
We are proud to submit Time Shelter, Gospodinov’s latest novel. It is a dystopian vision of Europe and the world in the face of a personal and collective memory breakdown leading to ‘a flood of the past’. The book proved to offer striking insights into the new social and political reality we experience now, including the war in Ukraine.
Gospodinov’s complex narratives are engaged with the memory of the recent Eastern-European past and the present anxieties of Europe and the world. Deeply human, they manage at the same time to reach beyond humanity striving for a much wider, non-anthropocentric empathy. Smuggling poetry into fiction, his style is both poetic and philosophical yet readable, funny, self-ironic. Gospodinov’s literature is coming from a small language and territory in the periphery of Europe, but has the power of giving meaning and empathy through great narrative voices and storytelling skills.
He is the most read author not only at the Sofia City Library, but also at the libraries across the country. A number of meetings about the novel were held in the library with various readers, provoking interesting discussions.
– Sofia City Library, Bulgaria