A Voyage into Alchemy

Kapka Kassabova author


Publisher:Vintage Publishing

Published:8th Feb '24


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Elixir cover

Set in the valley of the Mesta, one of the oldest inhabited river valleys in Europe and a nexus for wild plant gatherers, Elixir is an unforgettable exploration of the deep connections between people, plants and place.

‘Kassabova had me under her spell from page one’

Over several seasons, Kapka Kassabova spends time with the men and women of this magical region. She witnesses their rare knowledge, not only of mountain plants and the ancient practice of herbalism, but also of how to transform collective suffering into healing. Elixir is, at its heart, an urgent, hopeful call to rethink how we live – in relation to one another, and to the world around us.

‘Dark and mysterious and beautiful’

‘Uplifting and beautifully written’


The mark of a good book is that it changes you. Sometimes a little, sometimes a lot. Nan Shepherd, Robin Wall Kimmerer and Jay Griffiths have all wielded that power over me, but I’ve rarely been so aware of an internal change being wrought, word by word, as I have these past days immersed in Kapka Kassabova’s alchemical prose. I fancy she had me under her spell from page one * Guardian, *Book of Day* *
Her ability to bring out the best in her subjects is born of a genuine horror at the unsustainability of the ways we live... But Elixir is not a lecture... Like the forests and fells it inhabits, it is by turns dark and mysterious and beautiful. Ecologically minded writing can often tell too much and show too little, but Kassabova sensibly lets the landscape and locals do the talking. * Financial Times *
Uplifting and beautifully written... Elixir provides a glorious cycle of stories and personal testimonies. * Spectator *
Subtle prose that mingles empathy with perspective. * Economist *
Humanity glitters under her gaze in all its facets. Her prose is spectacularly good and her storytelling is a joy. -- Philip Marsden, author of Rising Ground

ISBN: 9781529920475

Dimensions: 198mm x 129mm x 24mm

Weight: 277g

400 pages