• Lisière

    Kapka Kassabova

    Quand elle retourne dans son pays natal, la Bulgarie, pour la première fois depuis vingt-cinq ans, c'est à la frontière avec la Turquie et la Grèce que Kapka Kassabova se rend. Elle se souvient que, dans les années 1970, alors qu'elle était encore enfant et que la guerre froide battait son plein, c'était la zone la plus poreuse du rideau de fer, une frontière encore plus facile à traverser que le mur de Berlin pour rejoindre le bloc de l'Ouest. Un carrefour qui grouillait de militaires et d'espions, où il ne faisait pas bon s'aventurer. Au gré de son voyage, Kapka découvre les lieux qui furent dominés par des forces successives : l'empire Ottoman, le régime soviétique, et d'autres encore, mythiques et légendaires. Son livre est peuplé de magnifiques portraits de contrebandiers, chasseurs de trésor, botanistes et gardes-frontières, et aussi de migrants. Lisière est à la fois le récit d'une immersion dans les coulisses de l'Histoire, un regard neuf sur la crise migratoire en Europe et une plongée au coeur de géographies intimes.

  • Tangled with darkness like its lush, decaying setting, Villa Pacifica had me gripped to the very end.'Emily Perkins A couple arrive in a dead-end coastal village somewhere in South America. The only place to stay is Villa Pacifica, part hotel and part animal sanctuary run by eccentric ex-pats. Travel guide-writer Ute and her husband Jerry are joined by an assortment of travellers: in-your-face American Max; sporty flight attendants from Australia; musicians Luis and Helga all looking for something out of the ordinary. Ute begins to meet the locals and explore the villa's surrounds. She senses that the place taps into her most intimate fears. Its disturbances may well be beyond the rational mind. Soon, personalities and relationships begin to crack. When a huge storm descends on the coast, travellers and locals are thrown back on their own devices. The hot-house world that prowls below the surface of Villa Pacifica rises to engulf everyone. Madness begins to take hold. An ever-present air of sensuality and danger haunts Kapka Kassabova's new novel. Villa Pacifica is an exotic romp through a place where the primal, spiritual and cerebral collide. This is a visceral, gripping story from one of New Zealand's most talented writers.

  • After years on the outside, Bulgaria has finally made it into the EU club, but beyond the clichés about undrinkable plonk, cheap property, and assassins with poison-tipped umbrellas, the country remains a largely unknown quantity. Born on the muddy outskirts of Sofia, Kapka Kassabova grew up under Communism, got away just as soon as she could, and has loved and hated her homeland in equal measure ever since. In this illuminating and entertaining memoir, Kapka revisits Bulgaria and her own muddled relationship to it, travelling back to the scenes of her childhood, sampling its bizarre tourist sites, uncovering its centuries' old history of bloodshed and blurred borders, and capturing the absurdities and idiosyncrasies of her own and her country's past.
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