Mogilska, Ivanka

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Ivanka Mogilska was born in 1981. She studied theater directing for six semesters at the National Academy for Theater and Film Arts and graduated in public relations from the Sofia University. She is the author of the collection of poetry Otherwise (Janet 45 Print and Publishing, 2010), the novel Hideaways (Janet 45 Print and Publishing, 2007), and the collection of poetry DNA (Janet 45 Print and Publishing, 2004).

In 2005, DNA won the Pegasus Award for a Poetic Debut at the Southern Spring Competition in Sofia. In 2008, Hideaways was selected by the European First Novel Festival, part of the International Book Festival in Budapest. Ivanka has read her works at the Bulgarian Cultural Center in Budapest and in Pecz, Hungary.  In 2010, she took part in the Universal Meeting or Tales on the Phone project as a writer of tales.  Later, the tales were published in a collection. In 2011, she took part in the creation of the performance “DNA of Words” or an instrument for playing poetry along with the artist Albena Baeva.


Synopsis of the novel Hideaways by Ivanka Mogilska

Hideaways is a novel about the city, two women and a bar.

The two female protagonists tell their stories in parallel. Each of them offers her point of view.

Cara has a promising job. A splendid future. A strict schedule.

Eve has time. Memories to leave behind, a desire to break her schedule and a secret that she should keep and turn over to the right person.

One Friday night they are brought together by chance in a strange bar where everyone looks happy. And the reason for that happiness, it seems, lies in Eve – the woman who never leaves the bar, as it turns out. Cara is possessed by the thought of getting to know Eve. To figure out her secret. To realize what makes her so special. Gradually she gives up her job. She starts following Eve continuously. Fantasizing about her life. Playing out different versions of it.

The main character in the novel is the city. You won’t recognize any particular city. It remains unnamed. You will see the city where all of this can happen. A place of unexpected directions and cul-de-sacs. With smoky underground bars where you will never come back. A city of noises, screaming, paranoia, alcohol, taking you to unsuspected catacombs. A city of laughter and grief, of criminal stories – shooting inside a cafe, a suicider who decides to blow out their temple sitting in their car in the parking lot, a contractor who wants to remove the statue of a girl from the city square to build there a new, cold building wrapped is steel.

The plot jumps around in time. At times it takes the reader to the past where everything is secure, and at others brings them to the present, which often tortures them or shows them pictures from the far off future.

This is the story of a person trying to figure out the personal story of another person. This is a story in  which the chased one, on her part, tries to recognize herself in the chaser. And instead of calling the police or turning to logic for help, the chased one sympathizes with her unknown chaser, starts getting to know her, figuring out her secrets, even allows to be followed, eavesdropped, sought.

When a third person appears between the two protagonists, “the victim” and the chaser suddenly lose interest in each other, they grow apart, they hesitate about their emotions and even take vengeance.

Only two of the characters in the novel have names, but even they are arbitrary. The chaser has invented a name for her victim. And the victim, on her part, is convinced about the personality of her chaser. The viewpoints in the novel change unexpectedly and even in a cinematographic way. At the end, readers ask themselves whether this is not the story of one person only, seen in her youth, and then in her maturity.

Inside the main plot, some other, quite common stories are intertwined. A story of a family with two kids who suffer of the strained atmosphere at home. The story of another couple walking in the street – and the harmony between those two is palpable, because it is built on compromise and tenacity, on beauty and the secret between them.

The novel studies smile and laughter. The characters are in a constant search of joy, easiness, emancipation from everyday life. They want to figure out the anatomy of laughter, the cardiovascular system of smiles. They try to capture those feelings and relations between two people, not named by the people, but which everyone has felt.

The characters find out that the hope to touch the other at least for a second is a reason enough to go on. (But where exactly is “on”?) To give up the schedule, to leave yourself to the streets of the city that  know better than you when it is time to break up, when it is time to find and when the way is more important than the goal. Because words are extremely not enough…


  • Hideaways by Ivanka Mogilska, translated by Svetlana Komogorova – Komata


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