There is austerity and mystery in A Time To Mow, by Zdravka Evtimova, where the pen is the scythe in the reaper’s hand. These modern gothic tales rage over a harsh land like storm winds with passion and desire.
Her warts-and-all characters, vivid imagery and use of metaphors, evoke a world reminiscent of Chaucer’s old England, mixed terribly with Brave New World. In a constrained society where options are few, women are the ones who assess the value of those around them, bring change and create relationships. Evtimova’s women have strong sex drives and rebellious spirits, but most live in rural, poor areas of Bulgaria where young men are either married or trapped by physical or social limitations. The old decaying villages and agricultural life are described in both grim and starkly beautiful detail. Contrasted with this arid land is the wild abandon of youth. This is exemplified by the title story, “A Time To Mow,” and later in several other stories where the author takes the motif to its extreme.
These young women have no role model to guide them in their womanhood, other than the older women whose relationships have often failed. The married women are either abandoned for another woman or widowed. Some of the women are in abusive relationships. How they respond to this leads to several twists in the stories. One of the most effective of these is told from the male point of view.
Although many of the women are fixated on finding a man, they do so with fierce integrity. They continuously evaluate their motivations and behavior with an honesty that is refreshing and allows them to move through life with youthful innocence.
Read more of my review at: http://www.goodreads.com/review/show/632806349