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Border: Book summary and reviews of Border by Kapka Kassabova

Border

A Journey to the Edge of Europe

by Kapka Kassabova

Border by Kapka Kassabova X
Border by Kapka Kassabova
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  • Published in USA  Sep 2017
    400 pages
    Genre: Travel & Adventure

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Book Summary

Border is a scintillating, immersive travel narrative that is also a shadow history of the Cold War, a sideways look at the migration crisis troubling Europe, and a deep, witchy descent into interior and exterior geographies.

In this extraordinary work of narrative reportage, Kapka Kassabova returns to Bulgaria, from where she emigrated as a girl twenty-five years previously, to explore the border it shares with Turkey and Greece. When she was a child, the border zone was rumored to be an easier crossing point into the West than the Berlin Wall, and it swarmed with soldiers and spies. On holidays in the "Red Riviera" on the Black Sea, she remembers playing on the beach only miles from a bristling electrified fence whose barbs pointed inward toward the enemy: the citizens of the totalitarian regime.

Kassabova discovers a place that has been shaped by successive forces of history: the Soviet and Ottoman empires, and, older still, myth and legend. Her exquisite portraits of fire walkers, smugglers, treasure hunters, botanists, and border guards populate the book. There are also the ragged men and women who have walked across Turkey from Syria and Iraq. But there seem to be nonhuman forces at work here too: This densely forested landscape is rich with curative springs and Thracian tombs, and the tug of the ancient world, of circular time and animism, is never far off.

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Reviews

Media Reviews

"Starred Review. [An] engrossing travelogue... Kassabova proves to be a penetrating and contemplative guide through rough terrain." - Publishers Weekly

"Telling her story, she includes bits of the layered history of the region, not so systematically that an outsider can piece it all into a coherent narrative but nonetheless studded with flashes of insight. A dreamlike account that subtly draws readers into the author's ambivalent experience of a homeland that has changed almost beyond recognition." - Kirkus

"This is an exceptional book, a tale of travelling and listening closely, and it brings something altogether new to the mounting literature on the story of modern migration. ... [At a moment] when asylum-seekers are adrift from one end of the world to the other, Border makes for timely reading." - New Statesman (UK)

"Remarkable: a book about borders that makes the reader feel sumptuously free." - Peter Pomerantsev

The information about Border shown above was first featured in "The BookBrowse Review" - BookBrowse's online-magazine that keeps our members abreast of notable and high-profile books publishing in the coming weeks. In most cases, the reviews are necessarily limited to those that were available to us ahead of publication. If you are the publisher or author of this book and feel that the reviews shown do not properly reflect the range of media opinion now available, please send us a message with the mainstream media reviews that you would like to see added.

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Author Information

Kapka Kassabova

Kapka Kassabova is the author of three poetry collections, the novel Villa Pacifica, and the acclaimed memoirs Street Without a Name: Childhood and Other Misadventures in Bulgaria and Twelve Minutes of Love: A Tango Story. She lives in Scotland.

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