xviii, 379 pages : map ; 21 cm
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Preface -- border -- Mountain of madness, I -- Part one: Starry Strandja -- via pontica -- Red Riviera -- strandja -- The village in the valley -- agiasma -- Everything begins with a spring -- cheshma -- A man of leisure -- 415 -- Wire in the heart -- klyon (1961-1990) -- The tomb of Bastet -- cold water -- Pilgrims -- atonement -- One hundred and twenty sins -- sozialistishen persönlichkeit -- Riding the Iron Curtain -- zmey -- Ball of fire -- Part two: Thracian corridors -- thrace -- The friend with the pigeons -- memleket -- Girl between languages -- komshulak -- To see a dancing priest -- rosa damascena -- If you are true -- corridors -- Everybody comes to Ali's -- via antica -- Tales from the bridge -- ghosts -- A Kurdish love story -- the spring of the white-legged maiden -- The chicken shack -- Part three: Rhodope Pass -- rhodopaea, rhodopaeum, rhodopensis -- The village where you lived for ever -- the judgement -- On the road to freedom -- tale of two kingdoms -- Drama -- metaxaz line -- Mountain of madness, II -- agonia -- Hotel above the world -- ursus arctos -- Goddess of the forest -- tobacco -- the woman who walked for a week -- Part four: Starry Strandja -- lodos -- To the river -- kaynarca -- The monk of happiness -- eternal return -- The good siren -- muhhabet -- The last shepherd -- uroki -- How to lift a spell.
"In this extraordinary work of narrative reportage, Kapka Kassabova returns to Bulgaria, from where she emigrated as a girl twenty-five years previously, to explore the border it shares with Turkey and Greece. When she was a child, the border zone was rumored to be an easier crossing point into the West than the Berlin Wall, and it swarmed with soldiers and spies. On holidays in the "Red Riviera" on the Black Sea, she remembers playing on the beach only miles from a bristling electrified fence whose barbs pointed inward toward the enemy: the citizens of the totalitarian regime. Kassabova discovers a place that has been shaped by successive forces of history: the Soviet and Ottoman empires, and, older still, myth and legend. Her exquisite portraits of fire walkers, smugglers, treasure hunters, botanists, and border guards populate the book. There are also the ragged men and women who have walked across Turkey from Syria and Iraq. But there seem to be nonhuman forces at work here too: This densely forested landscape is rich with curative springs and Thracian tombs, and the tug of the ancient world, of circular time and animism, is never far off."--Amazon.com.
Includes bibliographical references.