Image of The Shadow Land: A Novel


Image of The Shadow Land: A Novel

Fans of Kostova’s award-winning The Historian will see many similarities in structure and premise in this work, where a young woman and her erstwhile companion embark on a journey of historic revelation and self-discovery. While the shifting of narrative perspectives occasionally feels jarring or excessive, particularly early on, it also provides Kostova the chance to showcase her talent for crafting characters and voices, and to unfold a complex history of a place, its people, and of one man, whose life story lingers long after the final page has turned. Though not a fast read, Kostova’s eye for detail and lush use of language create a journey that ultimately proves worth savoring.

Alexandra Boyd arrives in Sofia, Bulgaria, hoping that a new job teaching English will help her heal the wounds of her past. After helping an elderly couple into a taxi, she finds that she’s inadvertently been left holding a piece of their luggage — a case containing human ashes. Determined to return the case, Alexandra sets out on a journey to find the family, and begins to unravel the tale of the man whose remains she carries, and the potential dangers that come with revealing his story. (BALLANTINE, Apr., 496 pp., $28.00)

Reviewed by: 
Bridget Keown