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The award-winning Bulgarian writer discusses his novel about memory loss, time, and what happens when the past and present collide. In Zurich, a man named Gaustine has opened the first “clinic for the past,” an institution that offers a unique treatment for Alzheimer’s sufferers: each floor reproduces a past decade in minute detail, allowing patients to transport themselves back in time to unlock what is left of their fading memories. Gaustine’s assistant collects items and ephemera from the past – buttons from the 1940s, nostalgic scents – to make each floor more real. But as the charade becomes more convincing, healthy people seek out the clinic to escape their present-day lives, resulting in an unexpected conundrum: the past begins to invade the present. In Time Shelter, Georgi Gospodinov has written an eerily prescient novel, shadowing the tragedies of the last century and teeming with ideas for our current one. Georgi Gospodinov researched and wrote Time Shelter during his 2017–2018 Fellowship at the Library’s Dorothy and Lewis B. Cullman Center for Scholars and Writers. He will discuss the novel with scholar and writer Valentina Izmirlieva.

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