The Spring of the Emigrants 2: Morpho
Kalin Iliev Begins with The Squalor Around Us and Comes Up with a Magic Butterfly, Which Hovers Over the Storyline
As in his first novel, “The Spring of the Emigrants,” its sequel— “The Spring of the Emigrants: Morpho,” — too, was published in a dark time for our country Bulgaria, in a tangled political situation. At first glance, the book has been inspired by the surrounding conditions.
Kalin Iliev is an author with a broad periphery: he admits into his books both inexperienced readers and experienced literary persons. This is risky.
Often such authors, pursuing the writing of a best-seller, slip up and turn into better marketologists; they create a book which sells well, but has little value and fades away in time.
Kalin Iliev, however, is a master of another strategy and it is a more honest strategy. He writes in layers. “Morpho” is a book written in layers. On the surface, there is a powerful and enticing storyline, which, in addition to everything else, is graphic, cinema-like and amuses the reader.
In depth however, at the very core of this stragety, the writer has a different aspiration: the human soul. Kalin Iliev does not simply write about current problems, collisions between authorities and opposition, and civil societies. These problems are rather boring in the literary sense, because they are temporary and short-lived. Mr. Iliev writes about the human soul in the context of mundane power and its resistance to that power.
At the very foundations of this book we find the credo that the strongest addictive agent is namely power and once you get hooked into its realm there’s no going back. Precisely power turns a state into a Nullia.
Kalin Iliev takes after George Orwell in antiutopian writing. Both writers convey the antiutopia essence as a political act, as for example in the conversation between a daughter and her corrupt father. In this book, everything is personal and, at the same time, political and social.
Important to remember is that, although the book refers to philosophical depths, it is not philosophical. Neither is it a tale, despite having a host of characters with animal bynames. Nor is it a thriller, though it keeps the reader thrilled from the beginning to the end. To top it all, on a superficial level this book is a very honest and pleasant mockery: a satire with effortlessly recognisable political prototypes.
Kalin Iliev begins with the squalor all round us and comes up with a magic butterly that hovers over the storyline.
It was difficult for me to make sense of the terrific juggling with genres, which the author performs in this book. Without any pretence to be exhaustive, I was able to list: an antiutopia, a thriller, a social novel, a criminal novel, a love romance, a satire novel, a fantasy novel, a tale and even a novel of the absurd.
What is more essential, all these genres are well blended by Kalin Iliev. To the question how he was able to achieve it, he answers: “I don’t know.” Or evades the direct answer by saying: “I saw it all in a dream.”
Finally, I will say this: his first novel — “The Spring of the Emigrants,” was called “prophetic.” Strange as it may seem, but Kalin Iliev is really able to catch some oscillations around us. Obviously, regardless of his being an experience writer, he has something to do with the Muses while writing his novels.
Rayko Baychev || English translation: Petko Hinov
See also Kalin Iliev’s Page on Bookworld