CO-WINNER OF THE 2012 CONTEMPORARY BULGARIAN WRITERS CONTEST
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.
Zachary Karabashliev is a writer and editor at the largest publisher in Bulgaria. His debut novel, 18% Gray, was chosen as one of the 100 most loved books of all time by Bulgarians in the BBC Big Read campaign.
Angela Rodel earned an M.A. in linguistics from UCLA and received a Fulbright Fellowship to study and learn Bulgarian. In 2010 she won a PEN Translation Fund Grant for Georgi Tenev's short story collection. She is one of the most prolific translators of Bulgarian literature working today.
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About the Author
"Narrator Zach combines the naivet? of the non-American adrift in the bizarre corners of the American social landscape with the sort of spot-on observations made by a foreigner who interprets the culture with a unique perspective."--Guy Savage, Swiftly Tilting Planet
"Karabashliev's talent in creating a complex and darkly entertaining protagonist makes it an enticing story to follow [?] Zachary Karabashliev brings us into the heart and mind of this unpredictable character and his many unanswered questions through photography, love, and a wildly reckless adventure."--Jen Rickard, World Literature Today
"18% Gray takes readers to that messy, sloshy place inside us where we don't understand what we're doing or why. It's a place we've all been to, and Karabashliev is an outstanding and sympathetic guide on the journey there and back."--Fiction Writers Review
"[Karabashliev's] fast-paced, quick-witted, and filled with childish humor in his perspective of a Bulgarian living the drab American Dream and discovering that he hates it."--Publishers Weekly
"Join Zack on his harrowing, hilarious, hell-for-ganja journey, and see an American landscape re-imagined through eyes both fresh and jaded, grief-dulled and stiletto-sharp. And watch out for those dirty martinis--they're killers."--Arthur Salm, author of Anyway