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February 21, 2018



by N@ncy


Borders….where the fabric is thin.


Writing style: Kassabova has succeeded in writing ‘travel literature’.
I felt was reading art instead of social commentary about the Balkan region (Bulgaria, border with Greece and Turkey.)


Strong point: Instead of repeating the politics of the region, Kassabova focused on understanding what happened to the people and their heritage.                                                                                       “Rumour remained the preferred currency.” (pg 53)


Angst an Architecture: Kassabova stops by a gangster-baroque villa. (pg 44). She meets a whisky sipping local pensioner, a man of leisure, ex- state security, trophy wife in bikini, expensive swiss watch and a …very menacing message. “ In the old days we had methods for the likes of you.” Progressives….who go around asking questions.


Green border: 1960-1989
Kassabova takes the reader into the Bulgarian green border of Strandja Forest. Many tried to escape from Warsaw Pact side (Bulgaria) to the …NATO side (Greece or Turkey) because this green border seemed easier to cross than the Berlin Wall. Many…never reached their destination.


Tone:  Book oozes dark, sinister, mysterious stories in hushed tones about what happened in the Balkans.

Voice: Kassabova lets her personality show between the lines. She is playful, cheeky, personal and inspiring and in my opinion very brave to start on this adventure!



  • Sometime I just read a book
  • …but this time I lived in the book….Border.
  • Absolutely wonderful…!


4 Comments Post a comment
  1. Border areas are often so fascinating, and important to history and culture … this is one I had no awareness of, so thank you for this review.


    • Feb 25 2018

      The Edward Stanford Travel Writing Award always has some wonderful non-fiction books!
      Hope you enjoyed the review, thanks for you comments!


  2. May 23 2018

    This sounds fascinating, although it makes me a little nervous that she avoids the politics of the region. I would come into this with little knowledge about the history of the part of the world and I wonder if I’d be able to follow along without some help from the author!


    • May 23 2018

      This book’s strong point is the author’s gift of mingling a very personal story (her family) and not the ‘dry poitics’ but the cosequences the political decisons had on real people. After reading the book a place on the map of the world finally came alive for me.



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