Journey to the meeting place between east and west. Where Kassabova blurs the borders between the present and the past; this world and the next. Her clear voice marked the way and I couldn't help but follow. — From Alex
Myth, memoir, history, and poetry deftly blend in this dreamlike, magical journey through one of the most contested landscapes in Europe - from the crossroads of ancient armies, thorugh the shifting borders of the cold war, into the present-day routes of Syrian refugees. Kasabova's descriptions - especially her character sketches - are sharp and unforgettable.— From Sarah
"Remarkable: a book about borders that makes the reader feel sumptuously free." --Peter Pomerantsev
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.
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.