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Thrown into Nature

WINNER OF THE CONTEMPORARY BULGARIAN WRITERS CONTEST

A humorous picaresque set in sixteenth-century Spain, Thrown into Nature tells the story of Dr. Nicolás Monardes, whose medical treatise "Of the Tabaco and His Great Vertues" was partially responsible for introducing tobacco to Europe. His Portuguese assistant, Da Silva, narrates the absurd adventures of the wealthy and influential Dr. Monardes, who steadfastly believed that tobacco—whether the leaves were made into a poultice, the smoke was piped into the anus, or through some other bizarre application—was an infallible cure for every physical, and mental, ailment known to man. He even uses clouds of "cigarella" smoke to chase a poltergeist from a church.

A blackly hilarious novel that hides its pessimistic reflections on the power of money, the evils of charlatanism, and the gullibility of humanity behind the comic observations and adventures of the always striving and forever bumbling Da Silva, Milen Ruskov's Thrown into Nature is a comic tour de force.

Milen Ruskov is a Bulgarian writer and translator. He has written two novels: Pocket Encyclopaedia of Mysteries (2004), which was awarded the Bulgarian Prize for Debut Fiction, and Thrown into Nature (2008), which was awarded the prize for VIK Novel of the Year. He has translated more than twenty books from English, including work by Thomas De Quincey, Martin Amis, and Mary Shelley.

Angela Rodel earned an M.A. in linguistics from UCLA and received a Fulbright Fellowship to study and learn Bulgarian. In 2010 she won a PEN Translation Fund Grant for Georgi Tenev's short story collection. She is one of the most prolific translators of Bulgarian literature working today.

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