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To The Lake

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  • ISBN-13: 9781783783977

To The Lake

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A BBC Radio 4 Book of the Week

Lake Ohrid and Lake Prespa. Two vast lakes joined by underground rivers. Two lakes that seem to hold both the turbulent memories of the region's past, and the secret of its enduring allure. Two lakes that have played a central role in Kapka Kassabova's maternal family.

As she journeys to her grandmother's place of origin, Kassabova encounters a civilisational crossroads. The Lakes are set within the mountainous borderlands of North Macedonia, Albania and Greece, and crowned by the old Roman road, the via Egnatia. Once a trading and spiritual nexus of the southern Balkans, this lake region remains one of Eurasia's most culturally diverse areas. Meanwhile, with their remote rock churches, changeable currents, and large population of migratory birds, the Lakes live in their own time.

By exploring on water and land the stories of poets, fishermen, and caretakers, misfits, rulers, and inheritors of war and exile, Kassabova uncovers the human history shaped by the Lakes. Setting out to resolve her own ancestral legacy of the Lakes, Kassabova's journey unfolds to a deeper enquiry into how geography and politics imprint themselves upon families and nations, and confronts her with questions about human suffering and the capacity for change.

Author:

Kapka Kassabova

Kapka Kassabova was born and raised in Sofia, Bulgaria in the 1970s and 1980s. Her family emigrated to New Zealand just after the fall of the Berlin Wall, and she spent her late teens and twenties in New Zealand where she studied French Literature, and published two poetry collections and the Commonwealth-Writers Prize-winner for debut fiction in Asia-Pacific, Reconnaissance. 

In 2004, Kapka moved to Scotland and published Street Without a Name (Portobello, 2008). It is a story of the last Communist childhood and a journey across post-communist Bulgaria. It was short-listed for the Dolman Travel Book Award.

The music memoir Twelve Minutes of Love (Portobello 2011), a tale of Argentine tango, obsession and the search for home, was short-listed for the Scottish Mortgage Investment Trust Book Awards.

Villa Pacifica (Alma Books 2011), a novel with an equatorial setting, came out at the same time. 

Border: a journey to the edge of Europe (2017 Granta/ Greywolf) is an exploration of Europe's remotest border region. 

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