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Friday, December 1, 2017

The Shadow Land by Elizabeth Kostova

The Shadow Land

Going back in time and then coming back to present times in telling a story is always fascinating. You compare the then and now and there is always a link, a sense of continuity - and it is always very intriguing how small clues lead us from one story to the next going over decades in time and becoming a cohesive whole.

This was part of the mystery of this novel. Alexandra is a young English teacher, recently arrived in Sofia on an assignment. Her main focus is however to get over the heart rending loss of her brother in rather cryptic circumstances. She is disassociated from her parents as well and feels very much alone. She feels a new start in a new place will help. She did not take into account that she will be left with the ashes of a person who has died and without any knowledge of how to get them back to their rightful owners.

Taking convoluted journeys throughout Bulgaria, going from pillar to post to try to track the owners and in the process uncovering a massive story of corruption, fraud and terror during a dark period in Bulgarian history is the major part of the story. It is quite comprehensive history very well detailed and descriptive and though particularly horrifying in its aggression is a matter of fact telling of what actually happened without sugar coating it.

Not an easy history lesson to follow on but history it is and however unpalatable it is part of the story.

Alexandra's coming of age is part of the more pleasant aspects of the story.

Sent to me by Netgalley for an unbiased review, courtesy of 


  1. I loved The Historian, and do want to read this one, but I have heard so many mixed reviews about it.