Author: Nataliya Deleva
Translator: Izidora Angel
Publisher: Open Letter (2021)
Giving voice to people living on the periphery in post-communist Bulgaria, Four Minutes centers around Leah, an orphan who suffered daily horrors growing up, and now struggles to integrate into society as a gay woman. She confronts her trauma by trying to volunteer at the orphanage, and to adopt a young girl—a choice that is frustrated over and over by bureaucracy and the pervasive stigma against gay women.
In addition to Leah’s narrative, the novel contains nine other standalone character studies of other frequently ignored voices. These sections are each meant to be read in approximately four minutes, a nod to a social experiment that put forth the hypothesis that it only takes four minutes of looking someone in the eye and listening to them in order to accept and empathize with them.
A meticulously crafted social novel, Four Minutes takes a difficult, uncompromising look at modern life in Eastern Europe.
"A beautiful, intricately woven, and exciting book."
"Four Minutes is a novel about people on the margins of society. Different storylines interlace in order to tell one story: about the invisibility. This is a book that grabs you by the throat, a poignant novel."