Malaprop’s Bookstore & Café presents New York Times-bestselling author Elizabeth Kostova and the national launch of her new novel, The Shadow Land, on Tuesday, April 11, at 7:00 p.m., at UNCA Humanities Hall. Award-winning author Ron Rash will join Kostova in conversation. Kostova is the author of The Historian, the first debut novel in U.S. publishing history to debut at #1 on the New York Times Bestseller List. To date, that novel has been translated into 40 languages. Kostova’s second novel, The Swan Thieves, also was a New York Times bestseller, and has been translated into 28 languages. Both Kostova and Rash are Western North Carolina residents. This is a ticketed event, with tickets available for purchase at www.brownpapertickets.com. Each ticket ($30.00 plus $2.04 service fee) includes an autographed copy of The Shadow Land that can be picked up at the event.
Suspenseful and beautifully written, The Shadow Land 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. The novel spans the past and the present, and unearths the dark secrets of the beautiful and haunted country of Bulgaria. A young American woman arrives in Sofia, Bulgaria from her home in the Blue Ridge Mountains, hoping to salve the wounds left by the loss of her beloved brother. Soon after arriving, 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. Raising the hinged lid, she discovers that she is holding an urn filled with human ashes. As she sets out to find the family and return this precious item, she first has to uncover the secrets of a talented musician whose life was shattered by oppression. And she discovers that this knowledge is fraught with danger.
“It is the story of [this young woman, Alexandra Boyd] trying to do the right thing, trying to find these total strangers, and learning about a whole life under communism along the way,” says Kostova. “It has a very dark core but it’s also a travel book, an odyssey through the beautiful landscapes I loved from my first visit to Bulgaria. It’s also very much a book about political repression–and suppression–and I’m glad to be bringing it out at this exact political moment.”
Ron Rash, who will share the stage with Kostova, is the author of the New York Timesbestseller and PEN/Faulkner finalist Serena. In addition to four prize-winning novels, including The Cove and Saints at the River, he has published four collections of poems and six collections of stories, among them Burning Bright, which won the Frank O’Connor International Short Story Award. He is a two-time recipient of the O Henry Prize.
Rash says of The Shadow Land: “In this brilliant work, what appears at first a minor mystery quickly becomes emblematic of a whole country’s hidden history. Lyrical and compelling, The Shadow Land proves a profound meditation on how evil is inflicted, endured, and through courage and compassion, defeated. Elizabeth Kostova’s third novel clearly establishes her as one of America’s finest writers.”
“This event is a unique opportunity for our community to view these outstanding writers together in conversation,” said Melanie McNair, Director or Marketing and Author Events at Malaprop’s. “Elizabeth Kostova and Ron Rash are beloved in our region, and it is an honor for us to host them and to help launch Elizabeth’s new novel.”