“18% Gray” by Zachary Karabashliev (Open Letter Books, US, 2013)Print This Post
About the Book
Distraught over the sudden disappearance of his wife Stella, Zack tries to drown his grief in Tijuana, where he encounters a violent scene, and trying to save a stranger’s life, nearly loses his own. Escaping with the van of his attackers, he makes it back to the U.S., but only to find a bag of marijuana in it.
Using this as an impetus to change his life, Zack sets off for New York with the weed and a vintage Nikon. Through the lens of the old camera, he starts rediscovering himself by photographing an America we rarely see. His journey unleashes a series of erratic, hilarious, and life-threatening events interspersed with flashbacks to his relationship with Stella. The story shifts from present day California to Eastern Europe in the late eighties, flows briefly through France, and climaxes in a penthouse above Manhattan.
A suspenseful, darkly funny love story, 18% Gray won both the Bulgarian Novel of the Year Award and the Flower of the Readers Award when it was first published in 2008.