Book Beginnings on Fridays is a meme hosted by Rose City Reader. A couple of Fridays a month, I will share the first sentence (or so) of the book I am currently reading, along with my initial thoughts about the sentence, impressions of the book, or anything else the opener inspires.
Elizabeth Kostova is an author I fell in love with years ago, when I read The Historian. Beautiful book, btw. When I saw that she was releasing something new, I was so excited. Her new book, The Shadow Land, was published this week! I am still reading it, and really love the setting. The opening scene really sets the tone…
From the #1 bestselling author of The Historian comes an engrossing novel that spans the past and the present—and unearths the dark secrets of Bulgaria, a beautiful and haunted country.
A young American woman, Alexandra Boyd, has traveled to Sofia, Bulgaria, hoping that life abroad will salve the wounds left by the loss of her beloved brother. Soon after arriving in this elegant East European city, however, she helps an elderly couple into a taxi—and realizes too late that she has accidentally kept one of their bags. Inside she finds an ornately carved wooden box engraved with a name: Stoyan Lazarov. Raising the hinged lid, she discovers that she is holding an urn filled with human ashes.
As Alexandra sets out to locate the family and return this precious item, she will first have to uncover the secrets of a talented musician who was shattered by oppression—and she will find out all too quickly that this knowledge is fraught with its own danger.
Kostova’s new novel is a tale of immense scope that delves into the horrors of a century and traverses the culture and landscape of this mysterious country. Suspenseful and beautifully written, it explores the power of stories, the pull of the past, and the hope and meaning that can sometimes be found in the aftermath of loss.
Sofia, the year 2008. The month of May, impeccable spring weather, and the goddess Capitalism sitting on her long-since-tawdry throne. On the top step outside Hotel Forest hovered a young woman, more a girl than a woman, and more a foreigner–which she also was–than anything else. The hotel looked out over NDK, the former communist regime’s palace of culture, a giant concrete blossom now patrolled by teenagers; sunlight falling across the plaza glinted off their spiky heads.
Elizabeth does an amazing job with her descriptive writing that I am feeling transported to Bulgaria. It’s fun when I’m commuting on the train for sure!