Today we talk about Masks, a book by Mariela published with our publishing house Europe Books.
Europe Books had the pleasure of interviewing the author Mariela, to get to know her better, what the crucial themes of her book Masks are, as well as if there’s a book she is particularly attached to and that has taught her something.
Below you can find our interview. Take a seat and enjoy your reading!!!
- Is there a particular moment in your life that led you to the writing of your book? What was it?
Dealing imaginatively with our experience as a nation before and during the Bulgarian transition to democracy in the nineties is my way to shed slight light on the dramatic societal changes; the collapse of a value system; the profound challenges relationships faced; suffering as a form of rebirth; the prospects; the hopes and expectations…Behind the so-called iron curtain, the metaphor I fail to accept wholeheartedly, there were windows of opportunity for focusing on individual and nation’s prosperity – something many may object, but some would adhere to. Individual stories may differ, and societal breakdown may be a fact at a certain point. But were those changes for good? Were they to take on more positive trajectories? I’ve been still searching for the answers. The advancement of a nation depends on many factors, and managing the ethnic diversity is one of them, in my view. It’s a complex issue, more complex today than ever, as guaranteeing individual and group rights has been challenged by the process of globalisation, migration, conflicts…
- What are the crucial themes of your book?
The stories are so intimate. Yet, they are set against the background of history. A universal theme is the idea of human dignity. We are free to create our own future, although there are limitations or restrictions. We may fall victim to our own weaknesses, but there is a turning point, sad or happy, of this personal battle. A degrading treatment may provoke violence. Seeking revenge is a recurring theme throughout the history of humanity. It is a human desire to respond to a perceived injustice. The concept has allowed me to reveal the feelings and emotions the protagonists experience when they find ways to pay back. The eternal problem of good and evil, the opposition between them confirm how individuals and a society may or may not flourish under their own sets of beliefs or understanding. So, the moral principles and way of life can be valid only in the society in which they are held, and they cannot be imported and “transplanted”. Factors beyond the individual’s control may contribute to false impressions, to illusions. I would prefer that we should not underestimate the option of failure. Risks are to be valued, so that we can act on slightly more realistic assumptions.
- What is the message you would like to communicate to your readers?
I would rather like to provoke the reader’s thinking on the following eternal questions:
What is morally good and bad? Or morally right and wrong?
What are the standards by which human actions can be judged?
What’s the link between morality and religion?
What constitutes a duty?
What is loyalty and how can culture intervene in this context?
How strongly are emotions involved in moral judgments?
If something is approved in a society, does this make it right for other societies and cultures?
What are the principles of justice?
Is human nature shaped by the community/society in which one lives?
How to feel at home in the universe?
These questions and many others in a similar vein go back a long way. They have been argued, and answers have been aspired, for millennia. There isn’t a single right answer. But reading Masks can bring home own conclusions for each reader as well as their personal insights.
- Is there a book you are particularly attached to and that has taught you something?
I am in a constant search for life’s meaning, and relating past to present provides clues and lessons. The Russian author, Lev Tolstoi, is a master of historical and realistic fiction. War and Peace is a “piece of life”. Forever. Good and evil are symbolically depicted in the archetypal characters of East of Eden by John Steinbeck. He also Travels with Charley: In Search of America. What is she like? Shakespeare’s works (I read in original), translated into Bulgarian by Valeri Petrov, a Nobel Prize nominee, prominent contemporary poet, and activist against the pro-Nazi regime (WWII), transcend time and space. My university love. After the collapse of the Roman Empire, how does western Europe evolve? Kenneth Clark’s personal view in Civilisation. The prominent Bulgarian philosopher, Isaac Passy, opens doors with his works related to ethics and aesthetics. Two of my school loves. Mes Prisons by Paul Verlaine for the intimacy of the French language. Bulgaria, a poem, and The Public Prosecutor, a play, by Georgi Dzhagarov. Morality does not lie with the institutions. C.P. Snow adapted the play, produced at the Hampstead Theatre. The Age of Turbulence by Alan Greenspan, shedding light on the global economic constructs, among other things.
- Are you planning to write more books?
Life is a miracle. I would like to devote some time assembling a collection of short stories, bordering on the miraculous. I truly believe in signs that may indicate things beyond themselves. I would be happy to stir and curious to challenge the reader’s imagination and perceptions which depend so heavily on their social and cultural background. How do the divine and the human interact, or how do reason and faith intersect? A miracle is an extraordinary act and it may surpass our understanding and sense of reasoning; however, it is part of life, of nature. It is this intervention that creates the sense of being here, at this place, at this very moment. Miracles are not subject to scientific observation. They are emotionally and spiritually loaded – and here is exactly where the beauty lies. It invites us to unlock heart and mind for a free ride.
Europe Books thanks the author Mariela once again for taking the time and answering our questions. We are really pleased to have walked alongside her on the editorial path that led to the publication of her book Masks. We wish her the best of luck for her future works.
To you, my dear reader, I wish this book intrigues you, amuses you and it captures you to the point of never wanting to close it and with a great desire to re-open it!
So, my dear reader, all I have to say is to enjoy this very interesting reading!