Kapka Kassabova was born and raised in Sofia. In 1990 her family moved to Britain, and later emigrated to New Zealand. Kapka is already an award-winning writer, and has published four books of poetry and two novels - her travel writing has twice won the New Zealand Cathay Pacific travel writer of the year award. This is her first non-fiction book, which she wrote in her current home-town of Edinburgh.
Bulgaria is an alien land to most of us-we might visit it someday, but we wouldn't want to live there. In the 1970s and 1980s when poet Kassabova was growing up, Bulgaria was grimly Communist. Her delightful and insightful book is an elegiac paean to a country she couldn't wait to leave but now can't get out of her head. The wonder is that individuality survived at all during those stifling years of government-enforced mediocrity, but it did, as is abundantly clear in Kassabova's vivid descriptions of family, friends, and teachers. Years later, she went back for a visit. Much had changed, but more had not. Manufactured goods were still scarce or nonexistent; service was given begrudgingly or not at all. Old towns had been bulldozed to erect shoddy townhouses, and the Bulgarians still hated the Turks. Kassabova's readers will learn much about a country they generally don't even think about, sometimes laughing out loud and sometimes simply stopping to reflect. In fact, it's hard to imagine anyone who wouldn't benefit from this lovely book.-David Keymer, Modesto, CA Copyright 2009 Reed Business Information.