The Shadow Land: A Novel
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Published:
Random House Publishing Group 2017
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Description
From the #1 bestselling author of The Historian comes a mesmerizing novel that spans the past and the present—and unearths the troubled history of a gorgeous but haunted country.A young American woman, Alexandra Boyd, has traveled to Sofia, Bulgaria, hoping that life abroad will salve the wounds left by the loss of her beloved brother. Soon after arriving in this elegant East European city, however, she helps an elderly couple into a taxi—and realizes too late that she has accidentally kept one of their bags. Inside she finds an ornately carved wooden box engraved with a name: Stoyan Lazarov. Raising the hinged lid, she discovers that she is holding an urn filled with human ashes. As Alexandra sets out to locate the family and return this precious item, she will first have to uncover the secrets of a talented musician who was shattered by political oppression—and she will find out all too quickly that this knowledge is fraught with its own danger.Elizabeth Kostova's new novel is a tale of immense scope that delves into the horrors of a century and traverses the culture and landscape of this mysterious country. Suspenseful and beautifully written, it explores the power of stories, the pull of the past, and the hope and meaning that can sometimes be found in the aftermath of loss.Praise for The Shadow Land"A compelling and complex mystery, strong storytelling, and lyrical writing combine for an engrossing read."—Publishers Weekly"In The Shadow Land, Elizabeth Kostova, a master storyteller, brings vividly to life an unfamiliar country—Bulgaria—and a painful history that feels particularly relevant now. You won't want to put down this remarkable book."—Claire Messud, author of The Woman Upstairs "In this brilliant work, what appears at first a minor mystery quickly becomes emblematic of a whole country's hidden history. Lyrical and compelling, The Shadow Land proves a profound meditation on how evil is inflicted, endured, and, through courage and compassion, defeated. Elizabeth Kostova's third novel clearly establishes her as one of America's finest writers."—Ron Rash, author of The Risen
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Format:
Adobe EPUB eBook, Kindle Book, OverDrive Read
Street Date:
04/11/2017
Language:
English
ISBN:
9780345527882
ASIN:
B01JEMNR1I
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Date Added:
Jun 12, 2018 19:50:25
Date Updated:
Oct 20, 2019 15:06:45
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      • bioText: Elizabeth Kostova is the #1 New York Times bestselling author of The Swan Thieves and The Historian. She graduated from Yale and holds an MFA from the University of Michigan, where she won a Hopwood Award for Novel-in-Progress. She is also co-founder of the Elizabeth Kostova Foundation for Creative Writing in Bulgaria.
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title
The Shadow Land
fullDescription
From the #1 bestselling author of The Historian comes a mesmerizing novel that spans the past and the present—and unearths the troubled history of a gorgeous but haunted country.
A young American woman, Alexandra Boyd, has traveled to Sofia, Bulgaria, hoping that life abroad will salve the wounds left by the loss of her beloved brother. Soon after arriving in this elegant East European city, however, she helps an elderly couple into a taxi—and realizes too late that she has accidentally kept one of their bags. Inside she finds an ornately carved wooden box engraved with a name: Stoyan Lazarov. Raising the hinged lid, she discovers that she is holding an urn filled with human ashes.
As Alexandra sets out to locate the family and return this precious item, she will first have to uncover the secrets of a talented musician who was shattered by political oppression—and she will find out all too quickly that this knowledge is fraught with its own danger.
Elizabeth Kostova's new novel is a tale of immense scope that delves into the horrors of a century and traverses the culture and landscape of this mysterious country. Suspenseful and beautifully written, it explores the power of stories, the pull of the past, and the hope and meaning that can sometimes be found in the aftermath of loss.
Praise for The Shadow Land
"A compelling and complex mystery, strong storytelling, and lyrical writing combine for an engrossing read."—Publishers Weekly
"In The Shadow Land, Elizabeth Kostova, a master storyteller, brings vividly to life an unfamiliar country—Bulgaria—and a painful history that feels particularly relevant now. You won't want to put down this remarkable book."—Claire Messud, author of The Woman Upstairs
"In this brilliant work, what appears at first a minor mystery quickly becomes emblematic of a whole country's hidden history. Lyrical and compelling, The Shadow Land proves a profound meditation on how evil is inflicted, endured, and, through courage and compassion, defeated. Elizabeth Kostova's third novel clearly establishes her as one of America's finest writers."—Ron Rash, author of The Risen
reviews
      • premium: True
      • source: Publisher's Weekly
      • content:

        February 27, 2017
        A compelling and complex mystery, strong storytelling, and lyrical writing combine for an engrossing read set in the former Soviet-bloc nation of Bulgaria. Not long after Alexandra Boyd’s 2008 arrival in Sofia to teach English, she ends up with the wrong suitcase, which holds the remains of one Stoyan Lazarov in a carved box. She is determined to return it to the elderly couple traveling with their son, a handsome man who eventually haunts her dreams. Helping her on this quest is Asparuh Iliev, aka Bobby, an inscrutable taxi driver who believes in his nation’s beauty but fears for its future under the possible leadership of a powerful and wealthy politician whose anticorruption campaign is gaining political traction. They learn Lazarov was a talented violinist who faced political oppression. A parallel story line tells of Lazarov’s life. His attempt to become a concertmaster by currying favor with his orchestra’s Communist conductor has tragic consequences, setting up Kostova’s (The Historian) most emotional and harrowing moments.

      • premium: True
      • source: Kirkus
      • content:

        February 1, 2017
        Searching for the owners of a mysterious urn that's fallen into her possession, a young American traveler takes a weeklong drive through Bulgaria guided by an enigmatic cabdriver in Kostova's (The Swan Thieves, 2010, etc.) exploration of the price paid for love and art to survive under a brutal political regime.It's 2008. Alexandra Boyd, 26, has just arrived in Bulgaria from the Blue Ridge Mountains to teach English, and her cabdriver has accidentally dropped her off at an expensive hotel instead of the hostel where she's booked. Before finding another taxi for herself, she helps an elderly couple and the handsome middle-aged man accompanying them into their own cab, only to realize minutes later that she's taken one of their satchels. Inside she finds an urn containing the ashes of a man named Stoyan Lazarov, according to the label. Her English-speaking cabdriver, Bobby, reluctantly agrees to take her to the police station, where the officer in charge makes a call, then gives her an address where she might find the dead man's family. Alexandra and Bobby--who gradually reveals that he's gay and has an impressive resume as, among other things, a poet and political activist--set off to track down Lazarov's relatives. As they travel from lead to lead, they learn his history in connected narratives that carry the novel back to World War II and the Cold War era, when Lazarov's career as a violinist was destroyed after he spent time in an inhumane prison camp. A mood of threat takes over when Alexandra and Bobby realize they are being tracked by someone who doesn't want inconvenient truths exposed. While picaresque hero Bobby steals the readers' hearts, the romance Kostova drums up for Alexandra elsewhere and the back story of her guilt over a dead brother feel shoehorned into the novel, pallid in comparison to the drama of Bulgarian politics over the last 70 years. Kostova's passion and tragic sense of history, along with jewellike character studies, almost make up for the overplotting and repetitiveness as she drums her points home.

        COPYRIGHT(2017) Kirkus Reviews, ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

      • premium: True
      • source: Library Journal
      • content:

        November 15, 2016
        This third novel from the author of the New York Times best-selling The Historian finds a young American woman in Sofia, Bulgaria, helping a family into a taxi and realizing too late that she has kept one of their bags. The bag contains an ash-filled urn labeled Stoyan Lazarov, which leads our heroine to a particularly dark moment in Bulgarian history. With an eight-city tour.

        Copyright 2016 Library Journal, LLC Used with permission.

      • premium: True
      • source: School Library Journal
      • content:

        March 1, 2017

        Alexandra, 26, is headed to her new job teaching English in Bulgaria when, exhausted from hours of traveling and confused at having been dropped off at the wrong hotel, she reaches out to help an elderly woman get into a cab. As the car pulls away, Alexandra hails a taxi to take her to her hostel but discovers that she has accidentally picked up the old woman's satchel, which contains a beautiful box labeled with the name Stoyan Lazarov and filled with ashes. This is the story of her hunt to track down Stoyan Lazarov's family and return his remains to them. After checking in with the local police, Alexandra and her cab driver, Bobby, set off to locate the urn's owner. Following a slim trail of clues, they learn that the Communist takeover of Bulgaria came with an iron fist that enslaved thousands of suspected resistors, including the gentle Stoyan Lazarov. The more clues they uncover, the more the past catches up with them, until they, too, become a part of the mystery and find themselves in grave danger. This novel brings a horrific period of history to life, encapsulated in a mystery and stoked by Alexandra's determination to return Stoyan Lazarov to his family regardless of the danger. Interweaving tales juxtapose the past with the present as the mystery unfolds. VERDICT Those who enjoy a deep dive into the complicated lives of people both historical and contemporary will love this book.-Connie Williams, Petaluma High School, CA

        Copyright 2017 School Library Journal, LLC Used with permission.

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shortDescription
From the #1 bestselling author of The Historian comes an engrossing novel that spans the past and the present—and unearths the dark secrets of Bulgaria, a beautiful and haunted country.

A young American woman, Alexandra Boyd, has traveled to Sofia, Bulgaria, hoping that life abroad will salve the wounds left by the loss of her beloved brother. Soon after arriving in this elegant East European city, however, she helps an elderly couple into a taxi—and realizes too late that she has accidentally kept one of their bags. Inside she finds an ornately carved wooden box engraved with a name: Stoyan Lazarov. Raising the hinged lid, she discovers that she is holding an urn filled with human ashes.

As Alexandra sets out to locate the family and return this precious item, she will first have to uncover the secrets of a talented musician who was shattered by oppression—and she will find out all too quickly that this knowledge is fraught...
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