"Grizachi" is the book debut of the actor Valery Yordanov

"Grizachi" is the book debut of the actor Valery Yordanov
"Grizachi" is the book debut of the actor Valery Yordanov

On August 26, the collection "Rodents" is published. The author of these amazing stories from grandfathers and grandchildren is the talented Bulgarian actor Valeri Yordanov, and the cover of the publication is the work of the artist Stefan Kaserov.

"Rodents" (120 pages, price: BGN 16) contains short stories told by grandfathers and grandchildren.

The heroes have their full-blooded prototypes, people whom the author admired as a child: harsh in trials but also vulnerable, manly brave but wise, grieving, loving… Freaks. The world is captured through the eyes of suffered experience and childhood sensibility, connecting in a space where the concepts of "ancestry", "honour", "dignity" and "love" are the basis of life.Grandfathers and grandchildren enter into a kind of romantic dialogue, drawing the deep, continuous line of existence.


Valery Yordanov is a HUSH, actor, screenwriter, director, known to the general public with dozens of memorable appearances in the cinema and on the theater stage. In 2009, he made his debut as a screenwriter and director in the cinema, together with Ivan Vladimirov, with the film "Sneakers", selected in the program of several prestigious festivals. He has numerous honors for his incarnations in the theater; his last role was Ramadan Dervishov in the one-act show "Karakonjul", for which he won IKAR 2021.

The present collection of "unfilmed" short stories is his debut book. Its premiere is coming as part of the Apollonia arts festival in Sozopol.

The event will take place on August 31st, Wednesday, at 19:00 at the Art Gallery.

Excerpt from the book provided by Hummingbird Publishing House:

Valery Yordanov – "Rodents"


I got that subtle smell again… Of homemade soap, starched sheets, bloodless gray flesh and a little incense. It sounds scary, but I enjoyed it. I don't know why, but in my childhood, my beloved grandmother took me to all the funerals in the village. By hand, from a very young age… Well bathed, trimmed and combed on the way, I helped to arrange the flowers, to fix the deceased's collar and shirt, to put the candles, and even sang softly sometimes with the priest, because of which he threw me hidden and angry looks. Once he even whispered to me, but I continued to sing quietly and diligently, with care and respect, ignoring him. Then I felt like I was an artist…almost like God. But I didn't think this was what I would do when I grew up.

People at funerals always cry, howl or squat on the ground, and I don't understand that. It was said that some aunt was sniffing quietly, and suddenly there was a scream and a wail, as if the death of the deceased had just occurred to him, and not two or three days ago.And it's as if they're going to bring him back with roars… Well, there was an old man lying in the coffin, he had shrunk and changed so much that at first glance it's clear to you that he's no longer there, inside. That he was relieved and…wherever he went, he hardly enjoyed listening to those frantic screams. "You've lived it," my grandmother would tell me, "You've also drunk the cinnamon," my grandfather would tell me, but I was getting a little scary, and then funny, from the howling and banging of my relatives… I wanted to whisper to them, like the pop whispered to me… or to make them smile.

Of course, there were sometimes "cheerier" funerals that I reflected on later. Like that of Uncle Milcho's sister - Aunt Cena, who had fallen from her thirty-meter crane onto the fittings. No underpants… Or little Verbancho, who was found three days later, because he had drowned in the landing with jibri. With a bitten stolen sujuk in his hand… Or to Bate Gelmi Bombeto, who, after getting drunk, shouted around the village that he was going to Sofia, and jumped from the Gray Bridge into the shallow bar.He did it four times…and he came alive! And when he really left for Sofia, he reached out with his new bomb at the door of the train to wave to his drunken friends and… a semaphore took his head off. "He left" with the bomb… At the time, the coffins of all three were closed because, as my grandmother explained to me then, "That's how it was supposed to be!". My grandfather said: "Why should we look at them, we know them?", and our neighbor, Petra, later whispered to me: "They were vampires! As if…”. She smiled at me and I gave her a cute grin, although my ears were burning and I didn't understand why.

I really loved the wheat - the sweet that they gave out for "God forgive". I don't know why, but I loved it the most when Petra handed it to me and winked at me. She, like me, helped at most funerals. She had a special tight dark dress for the occasion and she always came with it, even though she didn't have a grandmother to lead her by the hand and lick sugar in her hair. Kaka Petra was tall, black-eyed and "strong-boned," as my grandmother used to say, and always smiling.And grandpa said quietly once that she also had "big hard buns", but I didn't understand him. When I saw her in the morning next to someone's coffin, a vague, very slight warmth caressed the back of my neck and neck and went down gently, tickling me like a cuckoo's feather, down into my stomach. I didn't know what this "feather" was, but I liked it very much, I hid it, and because of it I continued to hum when my pops whistled. Then Petra smiled at me and I felt it again. I gave her a kind smile back and did my best not to look at two pads under her white teeth and the dimple on her cheek. Then I decided that when I grow up, I will marry her. I wanted to paint it all as it was created and I felt like an artist…almost like God…shame on him.

Yesterday how Petra died. I'm not going to her funeral. I have been locked in the shed for an hour, my grandmother called out to me to come out and get dressed, and that the coffin would be closed, and Petra would be angry with me in the world. “He'll be locked up because he's a vampire! I cried and cried.- She likes it! I won't go, let him be angry with me as much as he wants!". I climbed down furiously through the small window under the ceiling, scraped my knee on the ceiling and then ran and cried… I don't know how long I ran.

On my right, Iskara was already flowing - the largest and most violent river I have seen in my entire eight-year life. Poplar trees lined its banks, weighed down by the heat and the sound of the water, and between them and me stretched a huge field of freshly harvested corn. I ran up it… The heat had cracked the soil and lumps of dirt stuck out jagged like sharp stones. I tripped over them several times and my feet were covered in blood. I cried, but not from pain, but from anger, and I did not look over my shoulder at the village, which had long since receded. "You'll see… All of them!" I promised myself and kept running in the hot air, lumps and dust, between the river and me, my bare feet digging into the clumps, which were also digging into them. Summer is over for me.

The water beneath me swirled. She had made a deep pool and a shallow under the bank, and the dark shadow of the poplars made it impossible to see whether the fish there were standing in one place or looking for food on the bottom."It must be in place… in this heat…" I thought and threw the stick I had been drawing with for an hour into the water. I had given up, but I didn't know how I was going to get home and what I was going to explain at home. I felt cold from the shade and the water beneath it. The two boys startled me with their appearance. I didn't know them, and they were surprised to see me. "Hello, mouse," snorted one, winking at me and walking past me, looking up into the tree branches. He held a long staff and moved slowly as if counting their leaves. They were both older than me, nine or ten years old. The second stepped on my tank top, which I had taken off an hour ago to drown myself, and grinned. He pointed the other up with his hand and shouted: "Here are the bastards!". I looked over and now noticed the little ball of black broken twigs hanging over my head. The kid who called me "mouse" laughed unpleasantly, stepped up, jumped from the crotch of the tree and swung the little ball with his stick. She broke free from the branch and thumped softly at my feet, and two pink peanut bodies poured out of her.They looked like little rubber toys. And the Alien that grandma took me to see at the city cinema two weeks ago… The calves moved and I knew they were alive. They had swollen eyes and bellies, their heads were bald and ugly, and they flapped helplessly with their short, featherless wings. One of the boys quickly stepped on them and the sound that came under his foot clamped my throat, hit me in the chest and I screamed, "What are you doing, freak!". He grinned at me and swung his leg around to finish the job. The chicks guts came out and mixed with the mud and I started hitting him with my little hands, yelling insults and crying… I had a big fight this afternoon! The biggest… in my eight years of life experience.

The fire was burning down and two half-burnt potatoes lay next to it. My nose, mouth and under my left eye hurt a lot, but I continued to look angrily at the blood on my arm. She was heroically dry at the knuckles and I wondered what I would explain to my grandmother when she saw my face.The Batkovites had left. Before that they baked potatoes, calmed me down and fed me, and one of them explained to me at length that these birds were "pests". He was using words I didn't understand, but I nodded and kept quiet because, one way or another, I was already beaten. They were magpies, they were "useless and harmful", they got in the way of others and they ate "everything and everyone". And that's why their population had to "decrease" - that's what his father had told him. "That your father is not the Lord… To reduce 'pulations'?", I told him uncertainly, he looked at me, handed me the tank top to wipe the blood from his nose and they both got up to walk away. "By that line of thought…" I muttered "we are magpies too… But there is no one to step on us." The old man grinned, pointed to the sky and said quietly: "There is." He reached into his pocket and handed me a freshly made sling. Charred beech with white elastic from a trolley driver's glove and copper wire decoration on the handle. A professional job… Well, that's what I've been dreaming of since last summer! "From me - for you - he told me.- Take care, mouse." And they left.

I looked at the sling for a long time. It sat in my bloody hand like a… picture. She was perfect…! And I felt that I would want to change it - to add more copper wire, to oil its white elastics, and finally to engrave the letter "P" on it - so that it would be mine alone. I clutched my treasure in my hand and walked down the river. I will shoot many frogs with my sling and cook their tender legs deliciously. Kaka Petra told me some time ago that she saw in a French movie, which later my grandmother took me to, that they were very tasty, she called them "a great delicacy"… Tonight I will talk to Kaka Petra again. He'll come to visit me before I fall asleep, he'll smile at me and I… I won't be ashamed. I will cook her frogs' legs tender and arrange them beautifully, tenderly, and forever. Like an artist…almost like God.

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