First of all, I read the English translation of this novel but I couldn’t find a decent pic of it. Secondly Paskov is my first Bulgarian author and a good introduction it is too!
The narrator is a small boy who lives in a flat , where the Czech emigrant Georg Henig lives, tutoring people on how to play the violin. He also makes them.
The narrator’s family live in poverty and so do all the other tenants, However his mother wants the narrator’s father to build a sideboard for her. This was considered a status symbol in 50’s Bulgaria. Grudgingly the father builds one and the only workplace he can find is at Georg Henig’s so they move there and a friendship begins.
Throughout this brief novel we get a lot of humorous anecdotes about Bulgarian society and all through the eyes of a child. By the end of the novel Henig is too old and is shipped to an old age home. However he has one last project and that is to build a violin for God.
The book itself is a critical look at human behaviour but it also works as a criticism of how time passes. It’s a sweet little novel and despite the so so translation, it is definitely worth seeking out as it is (undeservingly) out of print