Executioner bags Vick Prize.
Kisyov Best Bulgarian Novel of the Year.
With his book The Executioner Stephan Kisyov is the first Vick Prize winner. Born in Stara Zagora in 1963, he studied at Sofia and Plovdiv Universities and also at the Sorbonne in Paris. He has worked as an electrician at a tram depot, locksmith at a chemical factory, administrator at a Black Sea hotel, stage worker at the Stara Zagora Opera, waiter, newspaper journalist and in television. He was an immigrant in France and Switzerland for three years. Stephan Kisyov has published five novels - Juke-box 1996, Nothing Anywhere 2000, Don't Wake Up the Sleepwalker 2000, The Executioner 2003, A Waiter at Boyana Residence 2004, over 60 short stories in influential newspapers and magazines and many non-fictional pieces. He is the author of the play Peculiarities of Bulgarian National Sex.
Ekzekoutorat (The Executioner)
Janette 45 Publishing House
About the novel:
The title of the novel creates expectations about a cruel murderer, but Stefan Gashtev is a funny little person who has been trying to become popular all his life. He grows up in a circus, works as a clown, studies to become a fakir, then a pilot, unexpectedly goes to prison where he gets to be the executioner. Finally he flies into Outer Space and gets back to Earth after 20 years more obscure than ever. His misadventures are so terrifying that the best-selling author Stephen-Larry King (who has a creative block) decides to use them, but he dies a poor, preposterous death. Only the "non-fictional" story of his prototype remains.
Kisyov unfolds Gashtev's life by means of fragments written at the edge of the factual, so that the ironically displaced reality of the 60s to 80s of the previous century is easily recognisable. Outer Space plays an important role in this faction novel (a mixture of facts and fiction). It is the source of the family myth (the father is an alien) and of the leading political myth (the system will conquer Outer Space), but most of all it works as a narrative trick for abrupt and effective shifts of scale. With the literary devices of clownery, farce and absurdity Stephan Kisyov has created an impressively light (in Kundera's sense), funny and deep story about a system, which degrades the human being to executioner and victim at the same time.