cover image Border: A Journey to the Edge of Europe

Border: A Journey to the Edge of Europe

Kapka Kassabova. Graywolf, $16 trade paper (400p) ISBN 978-1-55597-786-3

In this engrossing travelogue, poet and memoirist Kassabova (Twelve Minutes of Love) returns to her native Bulgaria after 25 years to explore its borders with Turkey and Greece, illuminating the area’s often dark history and the lives of the people living in its shadows. Remembering her country as a site of refuge for individuals fleeing Communist East Germany, she interviews a man who was caught, tortured, and imprisoned by the Stasi in 1971. In Strandja she witnesses the ritualistic bathing of religious icons accompanied by bagpipes and fire walkers and chronicles the unbelievable story of a (supposedly) cursed Thracian archaeological site believed to be an “intergalactic portal.” Throughout, Kassabova presents the border as a metaphor for the threshold of human callousness: once the line has been crossed into cruelty, there is no returning to the country of innocence. Wild animals abound, myths mingle with reality, and Kassabova proves to be a penetrating and contemplative guide through rough terrain. [em]Agent: Jacqueline Ko, the Wylie Agency. (Sept.) [/em]