Stambolova, Albena

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Albena Stambolova graduated in French philology from the Sofia University. She has worked as an editor and translator and also writes in the field of literary and social criticism, foreign literature reception and psychoanalysis.

Between 1990-1999, she lived in Paris, where she earned an MA in psychology and defended a dissertation focused on semiotics and psychoanalysis at the University of Paris VII Jussieu. She also worked and taught at the University of Paris ІX Dauphine, as well as the University of Paris ІІІ Censier.

For the last few years, she has lived in Bulgaria, where she works as a psychological and organizational consultant. She has also maintained a practice as a psychotherapist.

Albena Stambolova is the author of three novels. Everything Happens As It Does (2002) is her debut novel, which has also been translated into Polish and published in the U.S. by Open Letter Books with the support of the Elizabeth Kostova Foundation (2013). It was followed by Hop-Hop the Stars (2003, forthcoming in Polish), and An Adventure, To Pass the Time (2007). She has also published a collection of short stories, Three Dots (1985), and a psychoanalytical study on Marguerite Duras, Sickness in Death (2004). The author of numerous articles and translations, she is now working on a book about fairy tales and a collection of short stories.


Synopsis of the novel Everything Happens As It Does by Albena Stambolova

Boris, a young boy painfully uncomfortable around people, feels at ease with bees. The apian approach to life, admirable in its single-mindedness, makes human existence appear imperfect and burdensome. He falls in love with a girl who wears a pleated skirt. He never speaks to her but he feels her presence as a spatial relationship his body cannot avoid. She disappears one moonlit evening magically climbing the wall of a house. In the meantime, Philip, a 27-year-old pathologist meets Maria, a woman whose eyes, we are told, are like fog. Philip proposes to Maria as if driven by some mysterious compulsion. They marry and have children, the twins Valentin and Margarita. … And the story continues, accumulating archetypal events and relationships, until the fates of all its seven protagonists become tied in one existential knot. In its scalpel-worthy precision and succinctness, and in its psychological astuteness, Stambolova’s novel can be compared with Albert Camus’s L’Etranger. Yet, unlike the latter, Everything Happens As It Does is not a manifesto, nor a “philosophical novel.” As the author herself claims in her brief introduction, the book aims to be “the story of everyone,” and everyone’s story is a love story in which “one,” as a singular individual, plays the part assigned to him or her by chance. An openly allegorical assemblage of simple stories, Everything Happens As It Does is both highly readable and profoundly meaningful – the mark of a true masterpiece.


1. Little Boys and Their Parents

2. Christening

3. Up

4. Bees and Their Friends

5. Brothers and Sisters

6. Ghosts

7. Digital Worlds

8. Fathers and Their Professions

9. The Hero’s Prize

10. After the Fairy Tale’s End

11. The Twins

12. Raya

13. Maria’s Baby

14. Boris

15. Revelations

16. Spiders and Their Webs

17. Margarita

18. Girls and Mirrors

19. Back and Forth

20. Suite

21. Back

22. Later

23. The Gentleman Mr. V.

24. Even Further Back

25. Night Vigils

26. Serious Matter

27. Small Matter

28. Other Secrets

29. What Should We Do With Each Other

30. That’s What

31. How Storms Rise

32. And How They Die Down

33. Revolution and the Head

34. Children

35. Home

36. Tiny Steps

37. Weakness and Breath

38. On the Road

39. Aldehydes and Ketones

40. Love Stuff

41. In the Fog

42. Post

43. Erotica

44. Whereto

45. Where from

46. The Thing One Cannot Do Without

47. Snow

48. New Years and Other Kinds of Beginnings

49. Parents

50. Fanny

51. Boris, Philip, the Baby and the Others

52. Awakening

53. Short Days

54. The Narrow Door


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