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Nonfiction: Autobiography and Travel
Unabridged   11.75 hour(s)
Publication date: 09/05/2017

Baillie Gifford Prize Shortlist
Saltire Literary Awards Shortlist
Kirkus Best of 2017 2018 National Book Critics Circle Awards Finalist


A Journey to the Edge of Europe

Available from major retailers or BUY FROM AMAZON
Audio CD ISBN:9781681687971
Digital Download ISBN:9781681687988


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.

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Product Description

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.


“James's English accent is precise in enunciation, pacing, and expression.”—AudioFile

“Corrie James reads the book in a lilting, wistful tone, carrying the listener along through the nonlinear narrative.” —Library Journal

“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

“Remarkable: a book about borders that makes the reader feel sumptuously free.” —Peter Pomerantsev

"In Kassabova’s study, these tragic borderlands are brought to life with poetic grace, and her interaction with their inhabitants confers a haunting power on her journey." —Colin Thubron

"This book hums with the mystery, superstition, and terrible beauty of a place crushed between man-made borders but also defiantly announcing its sacred otherness. I can’t stop thinking about it." —Frances Stonor Saunders

Author Bio

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.