6. What does it mean for today's young readers in Bulgaria to read stories from World War II?
It actually fills a substantial gap in their education. This part of history is studied very superficially in schools because our society still lacks a common understanding of this aspect of our past and it seems unlikely that we will resolve this issue in the near future. We live more or less in a multi-historical society, where different groups of people have their own interpretation of the past, defined mostly by their family history and ideological background. I believe literature can bridge to a certain degree the different versions of history by exposing their internal contradictions and the incoherence of human perceptions in general. It could teach us how to survive in a world full of paradoxes and contradicting stories without necessarily killing each other. The inability to accept paradoxes is often linked to a certain limitation in one’s cognitive abilities and could be the result of a psychological disorder. We live in an imperfect world. Improving society to a certain degree has proven to be quite possible; however, history has shown that trying to make society perfect has brought more harm than good. The awareness of totalitarian regimes remains crucial for the civic education in the 21st century and WWII is part of this knowledge. One of the most sinister paradoxes of the war was that half of Europe ended up yet again in a cruel dictatorship. How did the West let this division happen? Did they have a choice?
7. The story of the sisters is not finished yet. What are your plans?
Actually, what you have read is only the first book of a bigger narrative, a trilogy set in a larger time span: the 40's, the 50's and the 60's. The second part is due to come out by the end of 2016 and the third will come hopefully in the next few years. The plot unfolds in the Balkans, the UK and the USA. I am currently working on the second part of the trilogy with the working title: The Palaveevi Sisters: In the Ice of the Cold War. At the end of the first part the sisters’ paths diverge. One of them, Ira, is found by Tito’s partisans and joins the unit of Commanding Officer Panther. I am not going to reveal exactly what happens, but a substantial part of the plot is set in the region of the Prokletie and Kopaonik Mountains. The Cold War finds the twins on the opposing sides of the Iron Curtain … They both live in London, knowing nothing about each other. Each believes the other to be dead. Until March 5th, 1953 – the day of Stalin’s death, when they accidentally run into each other … A joyous reunion or the beginning of a tricky spy affair?
8. Does this book contain a recognizable mentality of the people from the Balkans?
It does, and very much so, in fact. There is a rich gallery of secondary cha
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