Into a remote corner of Bulgaria comes an American student, returning to his native country to track down liis grandfather, who inexplicably cut off all contact with the family three years earlier.
The trail ends in a mountain village on the border with Turkey, a stone’s throw away from Greece - a place of pagan mysteries and ancient feuds, where religious fault lines run deep. Ilere he is led by his grandfather into a maze of half-truths, and falls in love with an unobtainable Muslim girl. Old ghosts come back to life and forgotten conflicts blaze anew before the past finally yields up its secrets.
By the award-winning author of the story collection East of the West, this captivating, slyly brilliant debut novel weaves history, myth and legend into a vibrant tale of heartache and forgiveness.
'An intelligently mapped plot complements the skilful blend of familial relationships with religious commentary ... a historically rich study of borders: those imposed by cartography and those that are self-constructed.’
A dark, dreamlike debut novel steeped in Balkan history and legend ... The characters’ lives are beautifully interwoven with ancient tales and family histories ... beautiful and haunting.’
Chicago Review of Books
‘Wildly ambitious ... thoughtful and thought-provoking, with a passionate faith in the redemptive powers of art.’