Street Without a Name
Part memoir, part travelogue, this book provides a unique view of Bulgaria. Having left the country with her family, just after the fall of the Berlin Wall, Kassabova, a poet and writer, returns as an adult. Her remarkable understanding of people, her lively style and wry humour combine to produce a captivating look at a nation and its people moving from communism to capitalism.
Comments from Groups
Fascinating book, wonderful language and images. Certainly not an 'ordinary' travel book; more memories and glimpses of an earlier self in a land known and unknown. We all learned much about Bulgaria. Christchurch 095
People enjoyed this book once they got into it - the comparison of political regimes sparked much discussion - differences in lives of professionals/academics. Dunedin 015
This book provoked a stimulating and vigorous discussion about nationality. Even the quiet members joined in. Auckland 078
General feeling was Kassabova is an exceptional writer and we all enjoyed the first half of the book. The second half, however, contains too much complicated Bulgarian history and not enough information about the author's family. Whangarei 008
Very enjoyable read although we are not likely to put Bulgaria on our itinerary. Auckland 007
An interesting and informative book, well written but tedious in places. Hamilton 024
This book was demanding to read - rather depressing, more like a travelogue. It was well-written, wryly humorous in parts, very perceptive of characters and situations.
Most enjoyed the first part of the book but found the travel section boring as all but one member haven't visited Bulgaria. Some were disappointed that there wasn't more mention of adjusting to life in NZ.
Another fascinating exploration of a country hitherto little known to us, except for one member who'd been on a part walking tour there. She brought her photos, which showed a rather more inviting and interesting place than portrayed by the author. Of course it was essentially more memoir than travel guide, and it gave us a very good picture of Bulgaria's recent history and struggles. What a great writer, with NZ connections too - we would like to read some of her other work - novels and poetry. We enjoyed her ironic humour, and explored the problem of belonging and nationhood.
We all thought the book could have benefited from some editing in the second half. The first half was very interesting but the second half was disjointed and too much history crammed in. But it was interesting to read about a country we knew little about. A very poetic writer.
Mixed reviews - some found the book a bit bleak but the rest of us really liked it. Extremely well-written and interesting about Bulgaria and Communist regimes. Four of us have tickets to hear the author speak at the Auckland Writers' and Readers' festival in May.
First section re 'growing up' in Bulgaria very interesting. The second section re author's revisiting the country was fairly boring. The writing style was enjoyed in the first section.
Pretty hard going, but most found it interesting and worth persevering with!
Great discussion - one of our best!
There was a very mixed view of the style of the writing of this book. It wasn't personal enough to be a memoir, and it was not a very positive travelogue. However we found segments of the book fascinating, such as life under communism and the experience of Chernobyl. The notes were good and the questions provoked a lively discussion.