Nine Rabbits, by Virginia Zaharieva

18406293

Four stars, read in August/September 2018.

Practically incomprehensible at times, but at others, perfectly describes situations and emotions I’ve never seen articulated elsewhere. My perception of the protagonist kept changing in surprising ways, and I ended up making a lot of unexpected connections with her.

I dream that I’m traveling to a seminar in Varna with my colleagues from the psychotherapy school. I leave my bag with everyone else’s luggage and head off somewhere. When I get back, the bus is leaving and I quickly hop on. No one can tell me whether my bag has been loaded. There is nothing particularly valuable in my bag, except my diaries. I suddenly realize that my diaries are my life and if they get lost, I’ll disappear. The word-crammed notebooks, those glimmers of my experiences, are the only things I possess.

The driver doesn’t want to stop to check. I ask if anyone put my bag on the bus, but my colleagues shrug. They look at me. I don’t feel like asking anymore. I feel uncomfortable showing my desire to find my bag. I don’t want to be the have-not. Both “not having” and “wanting” accuse me of something shameful . . . I am ashamed of my desires, of the life inside me, of myself. I’m afraid they’ll see how big the appetite is. I want to scream—my bag, my life is inside that bag, it’s important to me, I am important, let’s look for it, please!—I want to, but I keep silent . . .

I wake up and realize that in my dreams, I remain that which I am, despite my attempts to grow up.

I nearly lost interest for a while in the confused middle of the book, but the final third was much more cohesive and gave fascinating depth to the character. I’d really like to read something else by Zaharieva.

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