Ivailo Petrov: Хайка за вълци (Wolf Hunt)

The latest addition to my website is Ivailo Petrov‘s Хайка за вълци (Wolf Hunt). This long novel, originally published in 1982, is set in rural Bulgaria. At the beginning of the novel, six men plan to go out in a snowstorm to hunt wolves that are attacking the sheep. Most of the rest of the novel is about these six men, their lives, loves and relationships, with all the stories linking into one another. We follow the story of the village for most of the twentieth century up to 1965. In particular, we see the coming of communism and a cooperative farm in the village, which is particularly contentious and leads to much bitterness and even deaths. The villagers love (not always wisely), fight, produce wine, tend their crops, get invovled in war, leave the area, are happy and sad and, ultimately, struggle on. At times the novel is very funny and at times it is deadly serious. Death, inevitably, triumphs and while some of the deaths are natural some are definitely not. It is a superb novel and had considerable success in Bulgaria and is well overdue in English translation.

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