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Explorations Read-Aloud: “Time Shelter” by Georgi Gospodinov

Friday, June 16 @ 11:00 am 12:00 pm

Every Friday, at 11:00 am, on the library’s YouTube Channel and Facebook Page, the library will stream a brand new recording of local thespian, Joseph Coté reading aloud selections from a wide variety of fascinating and entertaining books of fiction and non-fiction.

For June 16, Coté will read aloud from Georgi Gospodinov’s book Time Shelter.

SHORTLISTED FOR THE 2023 INTERNATIONAL BOOKER PRIZE

Summary: “At one point they tried to calculate when time began, when exactly the earth had been created,” begins Time Shelter’s enigmatic narrator, who will go unnamed. “In the mid–seventeenth century, the Irish bishop Ussher calculated not only the exact year, but also a starting date: October 22, 4,004 years before Christ.”

But for our narrator, time as he knows it begins when he meets Gaustine, a “vagrant in time” who has distanced his life from contemporary reality by reading old news, wearing tattered old clothes, and haunting the lost avenues of the twentieth century.

In an apricot-colored building in Zurich, surrounded by curiously planted forget-me-nots, Gaustine has opened the first “clinic for the past,” an institution that offers an inspired treatment for Alzheimer’s sufferers: each floor reproduces a past decade in minute detail, allowing patients to transport themselves back in time to unlock what is left of their fading memories.

Serving as Gaustine’s assistant, the narrator is tasked with collecting the flotsam and jetsam of the past, from 1960s furniture and 1940s shirt buttons to nostalgic scents and even wisps of afternoon light. But as the charade becomes more convincing, an increasing number of healthy people seek out the clinic to escape from the dead-end of their daily lives—a development that results in an unexpected conundrum when the past begins to invade the present.

Through sharply satirical, labyrinth-like vignettes reminiscent of Italo Calvino and Franz Kafka, the narrator recounts in breathtaking prose just how he became entrenched in a plot to stop time itself.

Georgi Gosspodinov is one of Europe’s most acclaimed writers. Originally from Bulgaria, his novels have won his country’s most prestigious literary prize twice and have been shortlisted for more than a dozen international prizes – including the 2015 PEN Literary Award for Translation, the Premio Gregor von Rezzori, the Premio Strega Europeo, the Bruecke Berlin Preis, and the Haus der Kulturen der Welt Literaturpreis. He has won the 2016 Jan Michalski Prize for Literature, the 2019 Angelus Literature Central Europe Prize and the 2021 Premio Strega Europeo, among others.

Click the links to find the library’s YouTube Channel and Facebook Page.

Thoughts to share? Book ideas to suggest?
Contact Joseph at friday-explorations@usa.net

55 Main Street
Camden, ME 04843 United States
207-236-3440