studies in travel writing

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Kassabova, Kapka, Street Without a Name: Childhood and Other Misadventures in Bulgaria (London: Portobello Books, 2008).

An irreverent and revealing personal portrait of a little-known country perched on the eastern edge of Europe – captured by one of its most eloquent and engaging expats. 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 onthe muddy outskirts of Sofia, Kapka Kassabova grew up under Communism in the 1980s, got out just as soon as she could, and has loved and hated her homeland in equal measure ever since.

In this darkly comic and unflinchingly honest 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 trying to understand the absurdities and idiosyncrasies of her own and her country’s past.

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