Kapka Kassabova


Border: A Journey to the Edge of Europe

Granta Books

Border is both a work of reportage and art. Kapka Kassabova returns to the border zone between Bulgaria, Greece and Turkey, an area that once swarmed with soldiers, spies and fugitives and remains deeply scarred by its past. She finds people in this little-known corner of Europe who have been shaped by a history that includes communist occupation and two world wars and can be traced to an ancient legacy of myths and legends. Border is a meditation on the borderlines that exist between countries, cultures and people, and that echo within each of us.

Kapka Kassabova was born in Sofia, Bulgaria, and now lives in the Scottish Highlands. She is the author of several poetry collections, numerous travel essays, the novel Villa Pacifica (2011), and the acclaimed memoirs Street Without a Name: Childhood and Other Misadventures in Bulgaria (2008) and Twelve Minutes of Love: A Tango Story (2011). She has written for the Sunday Times, the Guardian, Vogue, and 1843 magazine.

‘She has achieved something remarkable: a book about borders which makes the reader feel sumptuously free.’

Peter Pomerantsev

‘Border offers the reader a large helping of strange inexplicable occurrences and compelling characters, but its author is engaged in something more personal and more engaging than most of her predecessors. Her origins, after all, lie in this part of the world, and her wanderings in the mountains are more a way for her to ruminate on the meaning of home than they are a source of fantasy. Or perhaps it would be better to say that home and fantasy start to blur, as she arcs across countries and centuries in an effort to free herself from the enchantment of this strangest of regions. In the end she leaves, but the spell remains.’

Mark Mazower, The Guardian