Debut novel of Camellia Kutcher and the long way to home

Photo: private library

13-year-old Francois meets beautiful Algerian Fatima in Marseilles – a multicultural city of contrasts. She will take him along the path of maturity and awareness of meaning of life, in order for the young man to walk back the path home after some time.

After years of travels around the globe, young writer Camellia Kutcher presents herself to the Bulgarian audience with her debut novel Home. Despite the fact that destiny made her wander between Russia, Switzerland, Spain and France, she opted for settling down in Bulgaria, since “home is where you return to take a rest at night”.

The previous time when Bulgaria had turned into her home was upon her return from Russia for the purpose of hard tennis practice, in order to become a professional. The girl used to live in the city of Syktyvkar, Russia, as her mother was Russian. However, at the age of 14, she exchanged the tennis playground for that beautiful Swiss terrace on the Geneva Lake. The romanticism of the French shore ahead inspired her first verses.

Camellia had discovered the magic of words yet in her early childhood, when she learnt to read on her own. English teacher at the Swiss boarding house – Miss Barett supported her and showed faith in her talent in literature. The young writer completed the first few pages of her novel 8 years ago, but put those aside – until that moment when she felt ready to finish the story that turned into a reflection of the personal feeling on the path in life.

“I have lived through the pain of this story, it has been a part of my path in life that has been emerging inside me for a long time – but more like atmosphere and personal feeling on people and the world around,” Camellia Kutcher says. “The action takes place in France, as I have studied in the French part of Switzerland, I have lived in Paris and I speak French – I have sentiment in regard to this country. Then I thought Marseilles was the best place to reflect the subject of multiculturalism. Moreover, my characters Said and Fatima come from Algeria. That is why part of the plot takes place in this port city of multiculturalism.”

The writer interweaves with the fate of Sorbonne Professor Francois with the one of Algerian Fatima and the love of her life – Said. She follows the lines of destiny, drawn by religions across the life of her characters and mostly the sense of duty.

“Personality itself was what I was most interested in, while writing Home,” the writer says. “I believe that no matter where we have grown up, where we live or what our religion is, our basic human principle, qualities and wishes are the same. Even if we get back a millennium or two in time, we will see that the needs of the soul have always been universal – that’s what I wanted to show with this puzzle of interlaced human fates. As far as alienation is concerned, everyone goes through this over a certain period in life – during childhood, as a teenager or even later in life. The readers’ feedback makes me think that they do feel the inner voice of the child, recreated in the book via Francois.”

Thanks to her unusual destiny – segments of life, scattered around the globe, Camellia Kutcher has gained this global view over life – outside the frames of what’s known and familiar. That is why she finds it easy to tell a story developing far away from home. The writer has already been working on her second novel and this time it all takes place in Italy, but she also says that she can see plots in Bulgaria as well. However, she needs ‘a bit more time to grow up’, in her own words.

English version: Zhivko Stanchev 

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