December 21, 1963: Having served 20 years for a murder he didn't commit, "Moth" exits Central Sofia Prison anticipating his first night of freedom. Instead he steps into a new and alien worldthe nightmarish totalitarianism of Communist Bulgaria. In his first hours of freedom he traverses the map of a diabolical city, full of decaying neighborhoods, gloomy streets, and a bizarre parade of characters.
A novel of grave wit, Zift unfolds in the course of a single, frenetic night, offering a fast-paced, ghoulish, even grotesquebut also enchantingtour of shadowy, socialist Sofia. To achieve his depiction of totalitarian absurdity, Vladislav Todorov combines the methods of hardboiled American crime fiction and film noir with socialist symbols and communist ideological clichés.