Border: A Journey to the Edge of Europe by Kapka Kassabova
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
I am so thankful that My Book Box had this book for a selection. This is quite honesty of the best books I have read all year. I want to read Kassabova’s poetry. I am so happy that I read this. And without My Book Box, I very much doubt that I would have read this.
Border is part travel memoir, part personal memoir, and part social history. It chronicles the area between Bulgaria and Turkey, looking at myth, legend, and survival as the towns and people move from Cold War to democracy. Each chapter is preceded by a small brief discussion of a word and its meaning.
The book is wonderful because of the use of language. Kassabova describes a woman who was criticized for her accent “She never spoke a word of Bulgarian again. For a time, she fell between languages” (146).
There stories that she tells, like the story of the white legged maiden, or Kassabova’s own retracing of a crossover route, used to move, illegally, from East to West. There are bits about gardens, about refugees, about how past funnels into present.
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