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Elixir

In the Valley at the End of Time

Kapka Kassabova author

Format:Hardback

Publisher:Vintage Publishing

Published:2nd Feb '23

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Elixir cover

*LONGLISTED FOR THE 2023 HIGHLAND BOOK PRIZE*

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

Pre-order Kapka Kassabova’s new book, Anima: A Wild Pastoral, now


'Dark and mysterious and beautiful'
FINANCIAL TIMES

'Alchemical prose... She had me under her spell'
GUARDIAN, *BOOK OF THE DAY*

Over several seasons, Kassabova spends time with the people of this magical region. She meets women and men who work in a long lineage of foragers, healers and mystics. She learns about wild plants and the ancient practice of herbalism, and experiences a symbiotic system where nature and culture have blended for thousands of years. Through her captivating encounters we come to feel the devastating weight of the ecological and cultural disinheritance that the people of this valley have suffered. Yet, in her search for elixir, she also finds reasons for hope. The people of the valley are keepers of a rare knowledge, not only of mountain plants and their properties, but also of how to transform collective suffering into healing.

Immersive and enthralling, at its heart Elixir is a search for a cure to what ails us in the Anthropocene. It is an urgent call to rethink how we live - in relation to one another, to the Earth and to the cosmos.

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
A laudable attempt to record an endangered region and a disappearing way of life. * Times Literary Supplement *
Exceptional. * BBC Wildlife *
This is a book to make you feel. * Scotsman *
In her captivating latest, Kassabova transports us to the Mesta River in her native Bulgaria... Kassabova finds hope that this ancient knowledge still has the power to heal us. * Bookseller, *Editor's Choice* *
Extraordinary... She allows her book to grow and swell, like a symphony, expanding and deepening its themes until the traditional wisdom and life of the mountain envelopes you entirely. Rather like a spell, in fact. * Country Life *

ISBN: 9781787333260

Dimensions: 236mm x 162mm x 42mm

Weight: 600g

400 pages