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Tsitsi Dangarembga appears in court this week, just days after her novel This Mournable Body was shortlisted for the 2020 Booker Prize. Read more about her July protest during a government crackdown in Zimbabwe here

To the Lake

A Balkan Journey of War and Peace
Kapka Kassabova
Lake Ohrid and Lake Prespa. Two ancient 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 historic crossroads. The lakes are set within the mountainous borderlands of North Macedonia, Albania, and Greece, and crowned by the old Via Egnatia, which once connected Rome to Constantinople. A former trading and spiritual nexus of the southern Balkans, this lake region remains one of Eurasia’s most diverse corners. 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 destinies shaped by the lakes. Setting out to resolve her own ancestral legacy, Kassabova locates a deeper inquiry into how geography and politics imprint themselves upon families and nations, one that confronts her with universal questions about human suffering and the capacity for change.

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The celebrated author of Border explores a mysterious, ancient, and little-understood corner of Europe

About the Author

Kapka  Kassabova
Credit: Marti Friedlander
Kapka Kassabova grew up in Sofia, Bulgaria, and now lives in the Scottish Highlands. Her most recent book is Border: A Journey to the Edge of Europe which was a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Awards.
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  • “This heartfelt exploration of the intersections between geography, history, and identity mesmerizes.”Publishers Weekly
  • “In lyrical, radiant prose, [Kapka Kassabova] recounts her journey to the lakes in a quest to understand the historical forces that shaped her family and her sense of self. . . . A haunting, captivating memoir of homecoming.”Kirkus Reviews, starred review
  • “From the deep labyrinths of the Balkan past, Kapka Kassabova has returned with another hoard of extraordinary lives, tales of survival, dark comedy, and horror. Humanity glitters under her gaze in all its facets. Her prose is spectacularly good and her storytelling is a joy.”—Philip Marsden
  • To the Lake is an exquisitely written rallying cry to embrace the notion that the people of the Balkans—and indeed humanity as a whole—have more in common than what divides them, despite generations of strife suggesting otherwise.”– Financial Times (UK)
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