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Good Reads  Natural History  Regional Natural History  Natural History of Europe

Anima A Wild Pastoral

Nature Writing Coming Soon
By: Kapka Kassabova(Author)
384 pages
Publisher: Jonathan Cape
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  • Anima ISBN: 9781787333277 Hardback Jul 2024 Available for pre-order
Price: £22.00
About this book Customer reviews Biography Related titles

About this book

For thousands of years, humans and grazing animals moved with the seasons in search of pasture. On the flanks of the Pirin Mountains, the last true pastoralists continue this ancient practice as a way of life. Here, the paths are formed by dogs, shepherds, horses and sheep, moving together. Few people survive a whole summer in the alpine highlands, where human lives are as precarious as the lives of animals they care for – or who care for them.

In Anima, Kapka Kassabova lives with one of these communities, experiencing the intensity, brutality, beauty and isolation of their existence over one summer. She witnesses the epic, orchestrated activity of transhumance – the seasonal movement of vast herds of sheep, along with shepherds and dogs. As she becomes attuned to the sacrifices inherent in this work and the rich histories that shaped this Balkan region, Kassabova finds herself drawn deeper into the tangled relationships at the heart of the small community.

Anima is an extraordinary portrayal of pastoral life, where humans and animals exist in profound interdependence. Kassabova conjures the spirit of this remarkable place with intimacy and empathy, and helps us imagine how we might all begin to heal our broken relationship with the natural world.

Customer Reviews


Kapka Kassabova is a poet and prose writer and, most recently, the author of Elixir (2023), To the Lake (2020) and Border (2017). Border won a British Academy Prize, the Scottish Book of the Year, Stanford–Dolman Travel Book of the Year, the Highland Book Prize and the Prix Nicholas Bouvier. It was also a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award. The French edition of To the Lake won the Prix du Meilleur Livre Etranger (non-fiction). Kassabova grew up in Sofia, Bulgaria, and studied in New Zealand. Today she lives by a river in the Scottish Highlands. Anima is the final book in her Balkan quartet exploring the relationship between humans and their environment, following Border, To the Lake, and Elixir.

Nature Writing Coming Soon
By: Kapka Kassabova(Author)
384 pages
Publisher: Jonathan Cape
Media reviews

"In prose as fierce and beautiful as the landscapes and lifeways it describes, Anima documents the vanishing connection between people, dogs, sheep and wildlife that once tied together much of the ancient world. This book is at once a testament and a mending and a blessing, full of glory and sorrow, and characters both human and animal who you will never forget."
– Sy Montgomery

"At once a dirge and a praise song for pastoralism [...] At turns muscular, tender, and sublime, this book is one of the finest testimonies for saving the earth, and our humanity, that I've ever read. It is unforgettable"
– Imani Perry

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