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.


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