The journey in Theodora Dimov's novel "The Train to Emmaus" (2013) takes place in the spaces of artistic reality and in the mind of the main character - Mina. The stories that are broken through Mina's thoughts arise from each other and go beyond the irreversible length of linear time, beyond the alignment of the plot sequence. Times flow in parallel, spaces gather. The different viewpoints gradually turn and merge.

The narrative blurs the boundaries between the main character's story and all the alien stories that he, the passenger among the passengers, carries within himself, repeatedly passing through the course of the novel, as the train passes through the summer night, through schedules of events, moments, searches , on the road to Emmaus, before salvation in the light of the risen Christ.

In the novel, non-biblical stories are misled, subordinated to the biblical. The narrative intertwining goes into thinking about Christianity, the hope in Jesus, the unfavorable condition of the Bulgarian Orthodox Church, the expulsion of lay people from the temple, the need to attract them back to it, the place of God's abode in modern society, the sacred, for providence. The significance of the Eucharist, the sacrament, the body, and the blood of Christ is explained. They intersect with everyday and miraculous, banal and extraordinary. Questions are raised about meaning, meaninglessness, about chance, fate. Emphasis is placed on the nest as a metaphor for a spotless home built with labor, with power of spirit. Love, death, holiness in indissoluble unity unfold thematically and plot. The recognition of one's life as alien, the role-playing nature of the artistic man, the connection with the other as a neighbor, as a twin, without whom the stranger is stranded, and the dead as a protector, equated with a guardian angel, is retold. The contours are broken. The novel's chronotope is complicated. Against the present stands the past, with opportunities to deal with it.

The versatility of the themes, the motives, their placement in non-systematic dialogic relationships, the diversity of problems, the micro-plots, the attempts to reach a cohesion in which the various components are in harmony, give the work a fragmentary appearance. The ultimate "fragmentation" is avoided by placing the focus on the main character and through the character on the train as a collective. And the beginning and the end point, the departure of the hero and his arrival at Catalina, make the move to Emmaus a brush that draws paintings from the novel world. The train's multi-tone rhythm splits and collects the micro-plots, shifts one story from the center of the narrative and brings another to the fore, calming the tone of exaltation to bring back Mina (whose name refers to St. Mina - considered the patron saint of homeless, wandering) , to the long-distance traveler) - to the thoughts, reflections, reflections of the hero, returns to the memories made with the sobriety of a wise old man, in order to continue to expect salvation, to travel.

The apparent journey takes one night. For one night, Mina will redistribute the knowledge he has accumulated, sink into memories and emerge from them, interpret in conversation and, despite the New Testament, end up in gardens, one of which will be reminiscent of the Gethsemane, the other - of Paradise. etc. Thus, through his image, the idea is projected: To be God's world.

The plots unfolded in the novel, the topics covered, and the problems introduced by Scripture elements, introduced without being further complicated in their conceptual dimensions, are all catalyzed through and through the Mine. The protagonist is charged with carrying all the trace elements, to "assist" them to fit into the novel's macro-frame, built on the idea of ​​the path. The path of one particular person. But also the path of humanity. The path to the attainment of God.

Mina's entire life goes by the wayside, his entire life gathering in the memory of a number of key, significant and meaningful stories that correspond with the Bible text as a primitive. The scenes from the train, scenes with faded colors and distorted faces stand as a counterpoint to what is preserved in the memory of the hero, to the biblical implication, the secondary declarative statement, clarified in the dialogue.

And at first glance, train events do not bind with multifacetedness, they seem sunk beneath the incomparable patina of everyday, far from religious, from faith. Mina watches the other passengers - Gypsies, presumably wandering, perfume salesman, Dimitar, grandmother with the child - passengers with and without tickets, each eager for their Emmaus, in anticipation of the resurrection of their own Savior, devoted or silent or overbearing their talkativeness, or the ecstasy of copulation, the insane alcoholic insomniacs, or the vain disputes with the controller, or the attempt to sell the stolen as a commodity, having taken on sinful things. They are marked, sinful, humble. The exception is the woman and her granddaughter, who in the second part of the novel vaguely recall the Virgin Mary holding the dead Jesus in her arms.

Along the way, the hero sees himself, recognizes his past in the child standing, playing, sleeping in the compartment. Mina becomes a child again, picking fruit in her grandfather's garden, and in her grandfather recognizes a miniature god, extends her hands to the moon like a fruit, watered flowers in the churchyard, relives the death of her daughter, as she tells Catalina as she contemplates, ends, untangles the emotional knot of her grief, humbles herself, goes back to her first meeting with Catalina, meets in the rain, a storm compared to the Flood, brings to the meeting Leah's fateful decision to meet them, recalls Catalina's account of the dead Leah, etc. With others e me, Mina repeats his and his stories from which his consciousness cannot be released, connects words through which he realizes himself as an individual, returns again and again to them, changes their order, outlines their message, makes them "biblical ", Experiences them, blurs them into others, complements them.

Throughout the character, the poetic aspects of the novel are also revealed. In Emmaus Train, the characters pay attention to the story, the so-called. the secret of the story. Thus, Catalina "seemed to be silent all her life" and now she suddenly spoke and would not stop until she told the world "(p. 84). The story of the heroine is retold, transformed. In Mina's mind, her story still sounds, echoes.

According to Leah, Catalina, and Mina, the secret of the story, revealed by their secret, lies in the infinity, in the eternally forthcoming unbroken life, equated with the ever-renewing present. We are now in the past, we are now in the future. Everything is going now, the eternal present, but everything is always to come. At the same time. Now Mina is getting on the train, now she's getting off. His life is happening right now, it's coming and it's gone. He'll get up, he'll come down. He has already climbed, he has already come down. In the so-called. (by the heroes) a mystery is implicitly enshrined in another statement, according to which everything and everyone is eternal, times are gathered, and the Bible has always been current, always will be.

The Bible solves all the seemingly unsolvable problems that the characters face. Eg. to the question: "And what is the essence of life, Mina?" The answer is: "Love" (p. 125). The answer is dictated by an earlier point in which it is said that "only childlike love does not fall away, so Jesus teaches us to be like children, so Philip preferred his death to mine, so he died two days after he was born. , said Catalina, and so paradoxically connected the entry of Jesus into Jerusalem with the death of her brother, whom she called Philip ”(p. 90). The characters live through and in the biblical, their lives accompany the Scriptures, so they accept their dead loved ones as self-sacrificing souls, as righteous, while trying to get rid of the feeling that they are living the life of the other, the dead brother, Philip, whose protection he feels the dead girlfriend who reunites Catalina with Mina, the daughter who will look through the eyes of her still-living father. The decision for the future of the Bulgarian church is also biblical.

At the same time, the novel denies death in a Christian way as the final end of human existence, rebels against the unquenchable thirst for life with: "I do not know how other dying people can cope with their death, crushing the fear of death, Mina, and the desire for life, for more and more and more life, this insatiable desire for life, Mina, is as shameful and humiliating as the fear of death ”(p. 128). Beyond the Spirit will continue, will ascend.

In the next moment, the protagonist's "continuous mental dialogue" with Catalina is similar to the conversation of "Emmaus travelers" who travel the day "after death and before the resurrection" (p. 129). The characters travel in a time of shaken faith, uncertainty, unrelenting questions, expectation. Gradually, the parallels, the recounting of Scripture, and the analyzes related to Bulgarian church orders, related to the Bulgarian flock, and the call made through Mina's words for the return of laymen to God's abode take over and seize the novel. It is as if the stories of the main character, of Leah, of Catalina and more. are given by way of example only, as a new page repeating the covenants of Christ. Their lives are turned to the incorruptible light of Jesus.

The novel repeatedly tries to convince us that there is "nothing scary about going beyond the last step, nothing disturbing or disturbing, nothing to make one cry or fear" that there is "no death", but it does not show why in death is nothing to worry about, it does not build on the direct denial of death, responds with faith, repeats the saying, "we are all alive and one," recounts the Bible (p. 58).

The oneness of being is passed on through Catalina, who finds in Mina her missing half, a twin, without whom she would be incomplete, incomplete. It seems that Leah foretells what her friends are meant to do. And, over the course of the novel, Leah and Catalina are becoming more and more like Mina's hypostases, images of him, through which his human incompleteness will be erased.

Both Mina, Leah, and Catalina seek the exceptional, seek the projections of the miracles of Christ, counter the banal. Leah renames Catherine to Catalina. They consider themselves to be one, fused into one another. And Mina states that "we were created with the creation of the world; now is our moment to come to fruition, to pour out in those hours that will be hot, in those meetings that will be extraordinary" (p. 93). The main character is constantly preaching in search of the unusual in the rain during his first encounter with Catalina, on a train in which some situations seal the trivial.

Unusual in meetings is speaking to the limit, confessing in dialogue, confessing to the other as before you, the perceived sensation of the person before you uttered your thought, the anticipation of getting to know you, even before you fully knew your own soul.

Already at the beginning of the Train to Emmaus, the mechanism was derived, the principle of saying the limit, and in off-balance situations: when you learn about the death of a loved one, when a friend dies, when you meet the person you have searched for so far, etc. In the novel, the methods of storytelling are immensely stripped-down, directly publicized, and unmistakably illustrated.

The main thematic core in the "mirror" relation to the characters "trinity" is also revealed and illustrated in one of the meetings - between Leah and Catalina with: always at the same time, just as love and death appear almost always at the same time ”(p. 57). If knowledge and understanding are found in Mina, it should be noted that he also has an afterlife. At the same time, he seems to feel comfortable in the monotony, in the repetition, in the lonely depths of his consciousness.

The novel with the asymmetric gradual nature inherent in the flow of consciousness moves to the experience of contact with the sacral, but hesitates in deviations in other directions, e.g. at the expression of attitude towards Bulgarian church officials who repelled laymen, even at the beginning when commenting on contemporary Bulgarian theater, devoid of the presence of God, full of lack of talent, mannerism, elementality. The aforementioned comments show the emotional impulse, while Mina, Leah, Catalina tremble to be extraordinary, preach the immortality of the soul, show patience to the other, listen to the stranger. Mixing problems of different nature, although stemming from the conversations of the three characters, affects the construction of images, the unfolding of the idea of ​​the mystery of human revelation. The situation is similar in the presentation of Father Heredia from Dimitar-Dimov's novel "Condemned Souls".

The dialogue between D. Dimov and T. Dimov has its initial manifestation in Adriana. A second line is drawn into Emmaus Train, re-turning the daughter to her father's covenants. Heredia is inscribed in the narrative without any further caveats, it is embedded in the dialogue of the characters, it is described as righteous and true believer, protecting the Christians who remained with them. He sacrificed himself for them, according to Emmaus Train, Heredia is not a fanatic. The interpretation serves to correct the read, obliges with its sharpness, the articulated position, but raises questions about the views of the characters, their understandings.

Thus Mina tries to live by the example of Christ, but in his attempt to be a follower of God, he relies not on taking the alien burden upon himself, but on the sermon, the Bible, which cannot be repelled, which stands as a shadow in his words. He acts sacrilegiously in the parameters of the novel, but does not see, does not prophesy.

Mine is puzzled by the "ease with which time, days, years" can be "skipped, cleansed, forgotten" (p. 11) and skips, cleans, recalls days, meetings, memories. By itself, he is not free from the accumulated past, although he teaches Dimitar on the train to free himself, to humble himself. Mine only continues to seemingly and temporarily humble to ruin her life and stroll through the mazes of her mind.

The Train to Emmaus raises important questions, breaks down invariable topics, conceptualizes complex problems, and answers he attempts to turn to faith in Scripture, the Word of God.

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