Distraught over the sudden disappearance of his wife Stella, Zack
tries to drown his grief in Tijuana, where he encounters a violent scene, and
trying to save a stranger’s life, he nearly loses his own. He manages to escape
in his assailants’ van and makes it back to the US, only to find a bag of
marijuana in the back.
Using this as an impetus to change his life, Zack sets off for New
York with the weed and a vintage Nikon. Through the lens of the old camera, he
starts rediscovering himself by photographing an America we rarely see. His
journey unleashes a series of erratic, hilarious, and life-threatening events
interspersed with flashbacks to his relationship with Stella and life in
Eastern Europe at the end of the 1980s.
18% Gray is a suspenseful, darkly funny love story with a solid
literary flavor. It is written in raw, poetic, and short-breathed cinema verite
style. The ending, twisted but inevitably logical, takes the reader back to the
beginning. It won both the Bulgarian Novel of the Year Award and the Helikon
Flower of the Readers Award.
Enter Zachary Karabashliev, the Bulgarian-American author and
narrator/protagonist of the novel 18% Gray, the new gold standard in
transcontinental On the Road permutations…
Malcolm Harris, Los Angeles Review of Books