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Thrown Into Natureby Milen Ruskov
Synopses & Reviews
Thrown is a hilarious picaresque about a sixteenth-century doctor and his faithful sidekick who travel Spain "curing" every ailment possible with the use of tobacco in a variety of forms—the leaves made into a poultice, the smoke piped into the anus, etc. Behind the hilarious antics is a commentary on the power of money and the evils of charlatanism.
"Ruskov's romp through 16th century Spain is framed as a treatise on the miraculous powers of tobacco to heal all human ills. The narrator of this bizarrely amusing novel is GuimarÃ£es da Silva, apprentice to the gloomy Doctor Monardes. Together, they tour Europe enacting miraculous cures: they raise a man from the dead, save a king's son with a tobacco-smoke enema, and banish evil spirits. On their journeys, they meet literary luminaries of the time, including Cervantes, Ben Johnson, and Lope de Vega. Under the auspices of adventure, Ruskov engages in profound philosophical speculation about Nature and Man's place in the world. Nature is da Silva's enemy, one whose wild and indiscriminate power distorts and destroys without regard to humanity (a mere 'pipe, through which Nature passes'). Their efforts to subvert Nature often succeed, but over time their ignorance, despite good intentions, devolves into charlatanism and greed. Ruskov's novel suggests the flaws of Enlightenment faith in reason at the expense of man's spiritual impulses. Despite such weighty themes, the novel is never boring, and with the help of a splendid translation, Ruskov successfully manages to balance complexity and entertainment. While no Don Quixote, the novel is a marvelous and ambitious work that poses timeless existential questions. (Nov.)" Publishers Weekly Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
A picaresque novel about a sixteenth-century doctor traveling throughout Spain "curing" everyone with the use of tobacco and smoke enemas.
About the Author
Milen Ruskov is a Bulgarian writer and translator. His first novel, Pocket Encyclopaedia of Mysteries, received the Bulgarian Prize for Debut Fiction, and Thrown into Nature won the VIK Novel of the Year. He has translated more than 20 books into Bulgarian.
Angela Rodel earned an M.A. in linguistics from UCLA and received a Fulbright Fellowship to study and learn Bulgarian. In 2010 she won a PEN Translation Fund Grant for Georgi Tenev's short story collection. She is one of the most prolific translators of Bulgarian literature working today.
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