Wednesday, April 26, 2017

review: the shadow land by elizabeth kostova

Elizabeth Kostova sets up two primary mysteries (one in the past and one that is tied to the past) in The Shadow Land. Years after the disappearance of her brother, Alexandra leaves America for Bulgaria where she plans to teach English. But before she even gets settled in, she inadvertently takes an urn from a family she meets while waiting for taxi. This unexpected turn leads Alexandra and her taxi driver on an adventure through Bulgaria as they attempt to track down the family and learn about the man whose cremains they now possess.

Alexandra's Bulgarian adventure is a bit far-fetched, but it is an interesting one with vivid descriptions. Kostova divides the action by having chapters alternate between the past (initially Alexandra's past, then shifting to the life of the deceased man) and present. The past serves to inform the present day, but there were times when it felt the story of Stoyan Lazarov's life should be more at the forefront. By the time it was all through though, the ending felt quite implausible.
Review copy from Amazon Vine.

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